(Friday, December 31st)
Final Score: Notre Dame 33, Miami-Florida 17
El Paso, TX (Sports Network) - Freshman Tommy Rees passed for 201 yards and two touchdowns to Michael Floyd on 15-of-29 completions as Notre Dame rolled to a 33-17 victory over Miami-Florida in the first matchup between these former powerhouses in 20 years, at the Sun Bowl.
Floyd finished with 109 yards on six receptions for the Irish (8-5), who earned their second bowl victory in three seasons and finished the year with four straight victories.
Robert Hughes added 81 yards on 27 carries, Cierre Wood also rushed for 81 yards, including a 34-yard score, and the Notre Dame defense recorded four interceptions during the victory.
Stephen Morris subbed for the ineffective Jacory Harris and went 22-of-33 for 282 yards and two scores for the Hurricanes (7-6), who have not won a bowl game since 2006 and dropped three in a row to end their season.
Harris had a dismal first half, going 4-of-7 for 37 yards and was picked off three times.
"I felt real strong about Jacory, coming in," said interim Miami head coach Jeff Stoutland. "I thought he was going to have a real good game, productive game. I just think he made a couple of mistakes that, as a player at that position, it's costly."
Leonard Hankerson posted 71 yards and a TD reception on six grabs, while Tommy Streeter added a 42-yard touchdown catch in defeat. He was given an unexpected jolt on the game's final play, when he lost traction beyond the back of the end zone and collided with a retaining wall when unable to stop.
Notre Dame went 54 yards on the opening drive of the game and took a 7-0 lead when Rees hit Floyd for a three-yard score.
The Irish turned their second drive into a 14-0 advantage when Rees again connected with Floyd, this time from 34 yards away, to cap a 74-yard march.
On the first play of Miami's next drive, Harris was picked off by Robert Blanton at the Irish 43 but the Hurricanes held their rivals on that series.
Harris was intercepted again early in the second quarter by Harrison Smith and the Irish took a 21-0 lead shortly thereafter as Wood broke loose for a 34- yard touchdown scamper. The drive was helped along by face mask and offside penalties by the Hurricanes' defense.
"We got off to a great start, getting the three scores early on," said Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. "We felt like getting off to a great start was very important to us in the momentum of the game."
Smith once again picked off Harris near the midway point of the second, and ND took over on its own 26. David Ruffer later connected from 40 yards out and it was 24-0 with 4:50 left in the half.
Ruffer hit from 50 yards out with 27 ticks left, but the Hurricanes pulled themselves together long enough to get a 47-yard field goal from Matt Bosher on the final play of the half.
It was 30-3 in favor of Notre Dame with 7:12 left in the third quarter when Ruffer was good from 19 yards out after the 'Canes put up a goal line stand.
Morris found Hankerson in the back of the end zone for a six-yard TD with 10:36 to play and Miami got within 30-10, then he hit Streeter for 42 yards with 4:01 remaining and it was a 30-17 game.
Nick Tausch was good from 34 yards out in the final 90 seconds for a 16-point Notre Dame advantage, then Streeter had a potential TD on the game's final play slip beyond his grasp before his unexpected collision.
The last meeting between these fabled programs happened on October 20, 1990 with Notre Dame winning 29-20, in South Bend...It was also the first time these programs have met in a bowl game...Notre Dame holds a 16-7-1 all-time edge in the series and has won three of the last four games...This marked the first meeting with neither school ranked in the Top 25 since 1979...A junior wideout, Floyd's second scoring grab of the game was his 20th career TD reception, breaking Jeff Samardzija's former school record...Miami-Florida racked up 422 yards of total offense to 397 for Notre Dame.
01/01 01:03:22 ET