FIU says Miami game on Orange Bowl site will be ‘magic’

MIAMI (AP) — For FIU and Miami, playing on the site of the old Orange Bowl will be nostalgic.

For the Miami Marlins, the game may just be a beginning.

FIU and the Marlins unveiled plans Wednesday for the Nov. 23 game between the Panthers and the Hurricanes at Marlins Park — built on the site where the Orange Bowl, Miami’s former home field, stood before it was demolished more than a decade ago. And FIU coach Butch Davis, the former Miami coach, said he still considers the site to be “magic.”

“Some of the most memorable events that ever happened in the NFL or collegiate football took place on this location,” Davis said.

The Marlins and FIU officials are hoping to draw 40,000 fans, which could be accommodated by adding bleachers to the field. That would make it the highest-attended event in the ballpark’s history, topping the estimated 38,000 for a Beyonce concert in 2016 and a crowd of just over 37,000 for the All-Star Game in 2017.

The field itself will be set up with one end zone by the third-base dugout, and the other stretching to just a few feet shy of the wall in right field.

“We’re very much looking forward to it,” Davis said.

Miami played home games at the Orange Bowl for 70 years, its run ending in 2007 with a 48-0 loss to Virginia. That wasn’t the last college game played at the stadium — FIU, which entered with a 23-game losing streak, defeated North Texas 38-19 three weeks after the Hurricanes’ farewell debacle against the Cavaliers.

The Orange Bowl was also the site of the first, and still notorious, meeting between Miami and FIU in football. On Oct. 14, 2006, dozens of players from both sidelines took part in an on-field brawl during the third quarter — one that led to the ejection of 13 players and the suspension of 31 players.

Demolition of the Orange Bowl started in March 2008, and was done about two months later. Marlins Park opened in 2012. It’ll be the fourth football game inside Marlins Park; the Miami Beach Bowl was played there in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Chip Bowers, the Marlins’ president of business operations, said the team would like to host a bowl game again and would consider other games as well.

“The football season aligns very well with our calendar,” Bowers said.