Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

December 2010 Archives

Ruffer 50-yarder extends streak to 22; Irish lead 27-3

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EL PASO, Texas -- David Ruffer kicked a 50-yard field goal to cap a near-perfect half for Notre Dame as the Irish took a 27-3 halftime lead against Miami in the 77th Sun Bowl.

Ruffer's second field goal of the game was his 17th straight this season and 22nd straight in his Notre Dame career. His streak is the longest current streak in NCAA Division I.

Miami's Matt Bosher kicked a 47-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to break the shutout.

Freshman Tommy Rees has thrown touchdown passes of three and 34 yards to Michael Floyd. But he came up hobbling after an incompletion that preceded Ruffer's 50-yard field goal. His status is unknown.

Cierre Wood scored on a 34-yard run to give Notre Dame a 21-0 lead.

Harrison Smith has three interceptions, tying a 42-year-old Sun Bowl record. Robert Blanton also has an interception.

Ruffer's 21st straight FG gives Notre Dame 24-0 lead

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EL PASO, Texas -- Walk-on senior David Ruffer's 40-yard field goal, his 21st consecutive field goal at Notre Dame, gave the Irish a 24-0 lead over Miami with 4:50 left in the second quarter of the 77th annual Sun Bowl.

Ruffer is 16-of-16 for the season  and 21-of-21 for his career - the longest current streak in NCAA Division I

Harrison Smith ties ND record with third interception

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EL PASO, Texas -- Notre Dame senior safety Harrison Smith tied a Notre Dame record and a 42-year-old Sun Bowl record with his third interception against Miami in the second quarter.

Harrison intercepted Miami freshman quarterback Stephen Morris at the Notre Dame 26-yard line to regain possession for the Irish with a 21-0 lead. Previously Smith had intercepted starter Jacory Harris twice.

Smith's three interceptions tied the Sun Bowl record set by Auburn's Buddy McClinton in a 34-10 victory over Arizona in 1968.

Cierre Wood TD gives Notre Dame 21-0 lead in Sun Bowl

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EL PASO, Texas -- Notre Dame is turning the 77th Sun Bowl into a rout.

Running back Cierre Wood burst through the middle into open field for a 34-yard touchdown that gave the Irish a 21-0 lead over Miami with 13:21 left in the first half.

Wood's touchdown capped a one-play, 34-yard drive that was set up by safety Harrison Smith's interception, which he returned to the Miami 39. Tommy  Rees tried to hit Michael Floyd deep but misfired. But an encroachment penalty on Miami nullified the play.

Previously, Rees threw touchdown passes of 3 and 34 yards to Floyd. Robert Blanton also has an interception and Harrison Smith added a second interception on Miami's possession after Wood's touchdown.

Irish, Rees, Floyd stay red hot at Sun Bowl

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EL PASO, Texas -- Tommy Rees threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd to give Notre Dame a 14-0 lead over Miami (Fla.) with 4:35 left in the first quarter in the Sun Bowl. Floyd beat a Miami defender inside the 10 and easily scored for his 28th career touchdown catch, breaking a tie with Jeff Samardzija for the most career touchdown receptions in Notre Dame history.

Irish, Rees, Floyd off to fast start in Sun Bowl

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This just in -- freshman Tommy Rees threw a three-yard touchdown pass to junior Michael Floyd to give Notre Dame a 7-0 lead over Miami with 11:02 left in the first quarter at the 77th Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

Rees earlier connected with Floyd on a 36-yard pass on third-and-16 on the Irish's opening drive of the game. The touchdown catch was Floyd's 27th of his Notre Dame career, tying him with Jeff Samardzija for No. 1 on the Notre Dame all-time list for touchdown receptions.

Breaking News: Jacory Harris to start in Sun Bowl!!

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Interim Miami (Fla.) head football coach Jeff Stoutland ended the suspense Thursday morning, announcing that Jacory Harris will start at quarterback against Notre Dame on Friday in the Sun Bowl.

''I just feel like he puts us in the best position to win the football game,'' Stoutland said at a press conference at the Williams Convention Center in downtown El Paso.

Irish coordinator Bob Diaco back where it all ended

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EL PASO, Texas -- Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco is making a triumphant return to the Sun Bowl.

Diaco was a second-team all-Big Ten linebacker for Iowa when the Hawkeyes surprised Pac-10 co-champion Washington 38-18 at the 1995 Sun Bowl in El Paso.

He returns as the coordinator of a Notre Dame defense that has redeemed itself since allowing 438 yards in a 35-17 loss to Navy on Oct. 23. Since that game, Notre Dame's defense allowed 35 points and two touchdowns in the final four games against Tulsa, then-No. 15 Utah, Army and USC. And 19 of those points were scored on drives of 24 yards or less.

Brian Kelly adds no details to Kamara's absence

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EL PASO, Texas -- Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly didn't shed any new light on the absence of starting wide receiver Duval Kamara during his Sun Bowl press conference, though he did indicate he's unhappy with the senior who will miss the Sun Bowl for "personal reasons."

Asked if Kamara, who lives in New Jersey, was merely caught in a snow drift and unable to get a flight to El Paso, Kelly said, ''I would run with that one,'' then added, almost under his breath, ''I'd like to stick him in a snow drift in New Jersey.''

Kamara's absence is rumored to be academic-oriented, but nobody's giving any more details than personal reasons, so all there is left to do is speculate on rumors. That's the way they want it, apparently.

Truth be told, it's not that big of a deal with regard to Notre Dame's performance against Miami at the Sun Bowl. Kamara technically is a starter, but he's been a bit player at best for most of the season. And with Notre Dame expected to be at full strength at wide receiver -- with Theo Riddick available after missing four of the last five games with a sprained ankle and freshman T.J. Jones also healthy -- if the Irish miss Duval Kamara in this game, it's their own fault.

WR Kamara out of Sun Bowl for 'personal reasons'

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EL PASO, Texas -- Notre Dame is all here -- except for Duval Kamara.

The startingwide receiver did not make the trip to El Paso and will not participate in the  Sun  Bowl because of ''personal reasons'' a Notre Dame spokesman said.

Kamara, a senior from Jersey City, N.J. who started 19 games in his first three seasons at Notre Dame, was used sparingly for most of this season. But because of injuries was given an opportunity to play against Navy on Oct. 23 and responded with six catches for 56 yards. He did not play the following week against Tulsa, but had two touchdown receptions in the Irish's 27-3 upset of then-No. 15 Utah on Nov. 13.

Junior John Goodman and freshman T.J. Jones back up Kamara on the depth chart. Jones started the first three games and six of the first nine before suffering an injury that kept him out of the Utah game.

He had touchdown catches in his first two collegiate games, against Purdue and Michigan, but his production dropped as Theo Riddick became a bigger factor in the offense.

Jones has 22 receptions for 287 yards and three touchdowns this season.




Notre Dame arrives in El Paso for Sun Bowl

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EL PASO, Texas -- Amid much fanfare in this west Texas city along the Mexican border, Brian Kelly and his Notre Dame football team arrived Sunday night in advance of its Sun Bowl showdown with Miami (Fla.) on Friday at Sun Bowl Stadium.

The Irish players, coaches, athletic department officials and their families were scheduled to visit Indian Cliffs Ranch -- an authentic remnant of the Old West --  in nearby Fabens, Texas in the morning. The football team will practice Monday afternoon in nearby Socorro, Texas.

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