The Hurricanes are set to take on the Washington State Cougars in the Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas on Dec. 26. The Canes last played in the Sun Bowl in 2010, when they lost 33-17 to historic rival Notre Dame.
Despite being selected into what is considered a Tier One bowl game, several Miami players expressed their frustration via Twitter, as they were gunning for the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City. Duke, who Miami beat on Oct. 31, will represent the ACC in the Pinstripe Bowl against Indiana.
@HNYNUT_BERRIOS I got to work on my praying skills 🙄
— Braxton Berrios (@HNYNUT_BERRIOS) December 6, 2015
Although the Canes were disappointed with the selection, they will still play hard in the final game of the season. “Just ’cause we wanted to rock with another bowl don’t mean we folding to any team that stand on that other sideline,” senior linebacker Tyriq McCord tweeted after the bowl decision was released.
The Hurricanes will take any opportunity to win a bowl game though, something they haven’t done since 2006. “It has been a long time. That’s important to us,” Interim Head Coach Larry Scott said. “[The players] know the situation. They know it’s been a little while.”
The Sun Bowl is excited for Miami’s return to El Paso. “Not only are they a good football team this year, but they bring an outstanding history and tradition,” Executive Director of the Sun Bowl Bernie Olivas said in a phone conversation with the Palm Beach Post.
After finishing the regular season with wins over Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh, the Canes (8-4, 5-3) come into the game riding high after an up-and-down season. The Canes should be able to capitalize on the porous Cougar defense that gave up 28.8 points per game this season. The team will play under Scott, despite the recent hiring of former Georgia Bulldogs Head Coach Mark Richt, who is expected to be in attendance. The Canes also played under an interim head coach (Jeff Soufland) in the 2010 Sun Bowl after Randy Shannon was fired following the end of the regular season.
Washington State (8-4, 6-3 Pac-12) leads all of college football in passing offense, making for an interesting opponent as the Canes’ defensive strength is their secondary, led by junior cornerback Artie Burns. Burns has an impressive six interceptions on the year, most in the ACC. Not only will the Canes need strong play from their defensive backs, but they will also need their defensive line to provide pressure on opposing quarterback Luke Falk, who is fourth in the nation in passing yards. The Cougars’ marquee win this season came when they defeated Oregon, now the No. 16-ranked team in college football. Falk threw a season-high 505 yards in the double-overtime win.
“We know it’s going to be a really good game with that wide open offense that Washington State brings to the table,” Scott said. “The whole Hurricanes family is excited about the opportunity to come back to El Paso. We’re excited to come out there and participate in that bowl.”
The Hurricanes face Washington State at 2 p.m. on Dec. 26 in El Paso.