Saturday, November 18, 2017
Sports

UM-ND 2016: from taunts to shrugs

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Miami-Notre Dame game today won't be Catholics versus Convicts, as the game was known in its heyday.

The winner of the rivalry game won the national championship each year from 1987-89. There also was bad blood, with Notre Dame upset at Miami coach Jimmy Johnson for running up the score 58-7 in Gerry Faust's last game as coach after Faust announced his resignation in 1985. There was a pregame fight in 1988 and pregame taunting the next year.

With the Hurricanes (4-3) limping in with a three-game losing streak and Notre Dame (2-5) seeking to avoid a four-game home losing streak, there's little chance today's game will have that intensity, especially because the schools have only played twice since Notre Dame officials ended the series in 1990 because it was growing too intense.

That is why Irish coach Brian Kelly hasn't talked much about the rivalry.

"It's really not central to what we're going through right now," he said. "What's central to this football team, in my estimation, is execution and confidence and all of the things that are more germane to this team."

Miami coach Mark Richt, the starting quarterback when the Hurricanes lost to the Irish 16-14 in 1982, planned to talk to his players about the series. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, a Miami native, still thinks the game is important.

"At Miami, you get judged by whether you beat Notre Dame or not. If you don't beat Notre Dame, it's a failure," he said. "It's a big deal. … If we're both 12-0 or 0-12, playing here, there or on the moon, Miami must beat Notre Dame."

Nebraska: Top receiver Jordan Westerkamp was expected to return today for the No. 7-ranked team against No. 11 Wisconsin after missing the past two games with a back injury.

Big 12: The conference will not split into divisions for football and instead will match its first- and second-place teams when its championship game returns next season. Athletic directors decided on the 1 versus 2 format after input from the league's coaches, the conference said.

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