Recap and More: 'Canes Rally Falls Short

EL PASO, Texas (AP)–Freshman Tommy Rees passed for 201 yards and two touchdowns to Michael Floyd as Notre Dame beat Miami 33-17 in the Sun Bowl on Friday, making Brian Kelly the first Fighting Irish coach to win a bowl game in his first season.

Notre Dame (8-5) reached the end zone on three of its first four possessions. Rees tossed TD passes of 3 and 34 yards to Floyd and Cierre Wood broke free on a 34-yard scoring run before David Ruffer added field goals from 40, 50 and 19 yards.

The Irish closed with four victories to cap an up-and-down season under Kelly. After a 1-3 start, they endured the death of the team’s student videographer and the loss of quarterback Dayne Crist to a season-ending injury during a stunning 28-27 loss to Tulsa in South Bend, Ind.

The Irish recovered to beat Utah, Army and USC down the stretch, then handled Miami (7-6) easily for Notre Dame’s second straight postseason victory.

The Hurricanes trailed 30-3 going into the fourth quarter, completing a season in which their coach was fired with an ugly loss.

Notre Dame’s 30th bowl appearance was a New Year’s Eve fiesta in El Paso, a predominantly Roman Catholic city on the Mexican border that embraced the Irish with huge cheers from the first glimpse of a golden helmet coming from the locker rooms.

Rees hardly looked like a freshman, completing 15 of 29 attempts without an interception. His performance marked the first time a first-year starting quarterback at Notre Dame won a bowl game.

Floyd had a big day, too, with six catches for 109 yards receiving, and his numbers would have been even better if he’d brought in what would have been two more TD catches.

The game sold out in 21 hours, the fastest in the Sun Bowl’s 77-year history, and the crowd of 54,021 set a bowl attendance record. Many fans wore Notre Dame jackets to ward off the 34-degree weather as a round of overnight snow dusted the Franklin Mountains.

The warm-weather Hurricanes–many wearing head covers under their helmets– struggled much of the afternoon to get anything going.

Miami scored twice in the fourth quarter when Stephen Morris threw a 6-yard TD pass to Leonard Hankerson and a 42-yard scoring play to Tommy Streeter, but it was too late by then.

The Canes trailed 27-0 late in the first half and the player with the most catches from a Hurricanes quarterback was Irish safety Harrison Smith, who intercepted three passes. Robert Blanton also had an interception during Miami’s turnover binge.

Not everything went perfectly for Notre Dame. Ruffer was wide right a 36-yard try late in the third quarter, his first miss on 24 career attempts.


  1st 2nd 3rd 4th F
Miami 0 3 0 14 17
Notre Dame 14 13 3 3 33

Team Stat Comparison
1st Downs 23 20
Rushing 1st Downs 10 5
Passing 1st Downs 9 15
Net Yards Rushing 196 103
Rushing Attempts 48 24
Avg Per Rush 4.1 4.3
Rushing TDs 1 0
Net Yards Passing 201 319
Cmp-Att-Int 15-29-0 26-40-4
Avg Per Attempt 6.9 8.0
Avg Per Completition 13.4 12.3
Passing TDs 2 2

Individual Stat Leaders
Passing Leaders
  Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Lng
T. Rees 15-29-0 201 2 36
S. Morris 22-33-1 282 2 42

Rushing Leaders
Miami No Yds TD Avg
   D. Berry 9 34 0 3.8
  S. Morris 4 22 0 5.5
   C. Wood 12 81 1 6.8
   R. Hughes 27 81 0 3.0

Receiving Leaders
Miami No Yds TD Lng
   L. Hankerson 6 71 1 24
   L. Byrd 4 47 0 24
   M. Floyd 6 109 2 36
   T. Eifert 4 31 0 13

Still, it was a rough finish to a tough season for the Hurricanes, who saw coach Randy Shannon fired in November. With interim coach Jeff Stoutland working the game for Miami from the sideline, newly hired coach Al Golden watched from a Sun Bowl suite.

Jacory Harris started at quarterback for the Canes after Morris sprained an ankle in practice this week. Harris couldn’t get anything going, completing just 4 of 7 with three interceptions. Morris took over the second quarter and finished.

Senior wide receiver Leonard Hankerson now has school records for receiving touchdowns in a single season (13) and receiving yards in a single season (1,155) after tallying 70 yards today to pass Eddie Brown’s mark of 1,114 yards set in 1984. Previously, Hankerson broke Michael Irvin’s school record for touchdowns in a season when he recorded his 12th against Virginia Tech on Nov. 20. He extended his school record for single season receiving touchdowns with his 13th coming early in the fourth quarter.

Top 5 Single Season Receiving Yardage Totals in UM History
Rank Yards
1 Leonard Hankerson (2010) 1,155
2 Eddie Brown (1984) 1,114
3 Andre Johnson (2002) 1,092
4 Wesley Carroll (1990) 952
5 Santana Moss (1999) 899

Top 5 Single Season Receiving Touchdown Totals in UM History
Rank Yards
1 Leonard Hankerson (2010) 13
2 Michael Irvin (1986) 11
3 Lamar Thomas (1992) 10
Reggie Wayne (2000) 10
Andre Johnson (2001) 10

Top 5 Career Receiving Touchdown Totals in UM History
Rank Yards
1 Michael Irvin (1985-87) 26
2 Lamar Thomas (1989-92) 23
3 Leonard Hankerson (2007-10) 22
4 Reggie Wayne (1997-00) 20
Andre Johnson (2000-02) 20

Top 5 Career Receiving Yardage Totals in UM History
Rank Yards
1 Santana Moss (1997-00) 2,546
2 Reggie Wayne (1997-00) 2,510
3 Michael Irvin (1985-87) 2,423
4 Lamar Thomas (1989-92) 2,271
5 Leonard Hankerson (2007-10) 2,159

Senior linebacker Colin McCarthy closed out his UM career with his fourth straight double-digit tackle game and his sixth overall this season. McCarthy recorded a game-high 14 tackles today, after recording 15 vs. Georgia Tech (11/13), 14 vs. Virginia Tech (11/20) and 10 vs. USF (11/27) to close out the regular season. McCarthy finished the 2010 season with a team and career high 119 tackles.


Sophomore Tommy Streeter caught his first career touchdown with 4:01 to play in the fourth quarter on a 42-yard pass down the left sideline from quarterback Stephen Morris. The catch was his first of the year and his sixth in his career.

Senior kicker Matt Bosher booted a 47-yard field goal at the end of the regulation to get Miami on the scoreboard. The field goal marked his second longest of the season behind a 51-yarder made at then-No. 2 Ohio State on Sept. 11.

The Hurricanes came into the Sun Bowl averaging a nation’s best 8.58 tackles for a loss per game and increased that mark with 12 today against the Irish. Marcus Forston had a game-high three tackles for loss, while Ramon Buchanan recorded 2.5. It marked the fifth time this season UM recorded double-digit tackles for loss and the third time in the Hurricanes’ final four games this year.

Today’s game marked the final collegiate game in the careers of Allen Bailey, Damien Berry, Matt Bosher, Jared Campbell, Graig Cooper, Orlando Franklin, Richard Gordon, Leonard Hankerson, Patrick Hill, Ryan Hill, Josh Holmes, Colin McCarthy, Cory Nelms, Kylan Robinson and DeMarcus Van Dyke.

Miami’s offensive starters today were: Jacory Harris (QB), Travis Benjamin (WR), Leonard Hankerson (WR), LaRon Byrd (WR), Kendal Thompkins (WR), Orlando Franklin (LT), Harland Gunn (LG), Tyler Horn (C), Brandon Washington (RG), Jermaine Johnson (RT) and Mike James (RB)

Starting for Miami on defense was: Allen Bailey (LDE), Micanor Regis (LT), Marcus Forston (RT), Olivier Vernon (RDE), Sean Spence (WLB), Colin McCarthy (MLB), Brandon Harris (CB), Vaughn Telemaque (FS), JoJo Nicolas (SS), Ryan Hill (CB), DeMarcus Van Dyke (Nickel).

Seniors Allen Bailey, Matt Bosher and Leonard Hankerson served as Miami’s captains today.