Miami to face Louisville in Russell Athletic Bowl

The Miami Hurricanes will face No. 18 Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl at 6:45 p.m. on Dec. 28 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

Miami (9-3) looks to achieve its first double-digit win season in a decade and its first bowl win since 2006, when UM beat Nevada 21-20 in the MPC Computers Bowl.

The Hurricanes will play in a bowl for the first time in three seasons after two years of self-imposed bans while the NCAA investigated improper benefits from a booster. Miami holds a 19-17 bowl record.

“Orlando makes sense for us in so many ways,” UM Director of Athletics Blake James said on Monday. “It gives our fans a great chance to see the program.” 

Head coach Al Golden, who was on the road recruiting Sunday night when the news was announced, played in the Blockbuster Bowl (a previous name for this bowl) in 1990 as a member of Penn State’s team. 

On Saturday following the team’s first of five open practices, Golden said game planning for the bowl would begin Monday.  
“The energy from those practices — we haven’t had that,” Golden said. “These guys are excited about playing an excellent Louisville team. (It) makes the practices more focused, more intense. Those guys were competing and really got after it. It speaks for itself.”

Formerly known by various names, the Hurricanes are 2-1 in this bowl: a 20-14 loss to Wisconsin in the 2009 Champs Sports, a 46-23 win over NC State in the 1998 Micron PC and a 31-21 victory over Virginia in the 1996 Carquest.

Louisville (11-1), which represents the American Athletic Conference and will join the ACC next season, trails the all-time series 9-1-1 but won the last meeting 31-7 in 2006.

The Cardinals, led by Miami native and senior quarter Teddy Bridgewater, ride a five-game win streak after losing 38-35 to Central Florida. Bridgwater was once committed to UM. The Hurricanes have won two in a row following a three-game skid.

This year’s matchup will be televised nationally on ESPN. Miami will be the visiting team.

“It would be a great game,” Miami senior quarterback Stephen Morris said on Saturday. “Obviously Louisville’s a great program, Teddy’s a great quarterback as well, so I think it would be a great opportunity for two Miami kids to shine on a big stage.”

You can follow Christina De Nicola on Twitter @CDeNicola13 or email her at cdenicola13@gmail.com.