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How Sweet it is ! No. 2 Hurricanes Face Florida in the Nokia Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2

Dec. 3, 2000

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (www.hurricanesports.com) – –

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The Hurricanes will play for college football’s national championship at New Orleans in their first meeting with the Gators since 1987.

The University of Miami Hurricanes will take on the Gators of the University of Florida with a national championship on the line in the Nokia Sugar Bowl at New Orleans on January 2, 2001. The game will be televised by ABC and is scheduled for an 8 p.m. (ET) kickoff.

“It’s a pleasure to be selected and invited to the Nokia Sugar Bowl,” said Miami athletic director Paul Dee. “I know the coaches and players are looking forward to this challenge. We look forward to playing the Florida Gators and competing for the national championship.”

“We’re delighted to receive the invitation to the Nokia Sugar Bowl and I know our players, coaches and fans are greatly anticipating the chance to play for the national title,” said Miami head coach Butch Davis. “Playing the Florida Gators presents a tremendous challenge to our football team. The Gators are playing about as well as anyone in the nation right now. I know our players and our coaching staff relish such a challenge to take on one of college football’s finest programs.”

Miami’s appearance in the Nokia Sugar Bowl marks the Hurricanes’ fourth Sugar Bowl appearance. The Hurricanes are 1-2 in previous Sugar Bowl outings, with a victory over Alabama (33-25) on Jan. 1, 1990, sandwiched by losses to Tennessee (7-35) on Jan. 1, 1986, and Alabama (13-34) on Jan. 1, 1993. Each time Miami has played in the Sugar Bowl game the Hurricanes have entered with a chance to win the national championship and this season is no different.

The 10-1 Hurricanes enter the game ranked second in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today college football rankings.

“It’s a real honor to be picked to play in the Sugar Bowl and the chance to play a team like Florida also is a real honor for us,” said quarterback Ken Dorsey. “Florida’s a program we have a lot of respect for and we know it will be a real tough task against them. They always have one of the nation’s best teams and we will have our hands full against them.”

“The Florida-Miami series always has been a great one and I’m glad I get a chance to be a part of a UM-UF game before I leave,” said junior offensive tackle Joaquin Gonzalez. “This will be a very intense game for us and our fans. It will be a chance for us to show the nation what we are made of against a team that is always one of the best in the country. We’re excited about this game and we look forward to the challenge.”

Miami, 14-12 in 26 previous bowl appearances, enters the game with a three-game winning streak in bowl games following wins in the 1996 Carquest Bowl (31-21 over Virginia), the 1998 Micron PC Bowl (46-23 over North Carolina State) and the 2000 Gator Bowl (28-13 over Georgia Tech).

The Hurricanes have played in Jan. 2 bowl games on three previous occasions, owning a 2-1 record. Miami defeated Virginia Tech, 20-10, in the Peach Bowl on Jan. 2, 1981, then gained its first national championship with a 31-30 win over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, 1984. Miami’s only Jan. 2 loss was a setback to Penn State, 10-14, in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2, 1987.

The matchup between the Hurricanes and the Gators marks the renewal of one of college football’s fiercest rivalries, but is the first meeting on the gridiron between the two schools since September 5, 1987. Miami won that contest, 31-4, at the Orange Bowl. This will be the 50th meeting between Miami and Florida with the Gators maintaining a 25-24 lead in the series that dates back to 1938.

7Miami won that inaugural meeting with the Gators, scoring a 19-7 upset at Gainesville. The teams met annually after that, with the exception of the 1943 season when Florida did not field a football team, through 1987. Regular season meetings between UM and UF are slated to begin anew with the 2002 season.

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