WWW Russell Athletic Bowl preview: No. 16 West Virginia vs. Miami

WWW Russell Athletic Bowl preview: No. 16 West Virginia vs. Miami

All 41 matchups are set.

Let the bowl games begin.

The first bowl game of the 2016 season kicks off Saturday, December 17th with the New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico Lobos vs UTSA Roadrunners. The State of Florida from Jacksonville to Miami will be hosting 10 college football bowl games this season.

One that cannot go overlooked in the city of Orlando is the Russell Athletic Bowl: West Virginia Mountaineers versus the Miami Hurricanes at Camping World Stadium played on Wednesday, December 28th at 5:30 pm. The game was played in Miami Gardens for 11 years however it may still be home-field advantage for the Hurricanes who are playing a very impressive Mountaineers team.

The Mountaineers only lost twice with both losses to teams from the state of Oklahoma. They beat Texas again, extending the Longhorns’ misery and winning for the second time in three trips as a Big 12 member. WVU stopped four Texas drives in the fourth quarter to secure a 24-20 victory.

West Virginia won 10 games for the first time in five years of Big 12 play. It can reach 11 for the first time since 2007 and sixth time overall with a bowl victory. Already, the Mountaineers broke through barriers this season with a third-place league finish. But a bowl win would make it a special one.

Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya better be scouting Mountaineers cornerback Rasul Douglas who epitomized the spirit of West Virginia’s aggressive defense, snagging eight interceptions. The word good is an understatement when it comes to Douglas.

On the opposite sideline are the Hurricanes who come in winning four in a row. Miami was on a four-game losing streak before beating Pitt 51-28. The Hurricanes had their best offensive performance of the season, scoring 51 points and racking up 534 yards of offense — all while holding the best offense in Pitt history to a season-low 28 points. The victory set Miami on a four-game winning streak to end the season; more importantly they found their rhythm offensively, especially with the deep ball.

This may be the last time fans of “The U” see Brad Kaaya in a Hurricanes uniform. Kaaya, a junior, became the school’s career passing leader and the first player in school history to pass for over 3,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. Though there were some rough patches during the season, Kaaya hit his stride late thanks to the emergence of freshman receiver Ahmmon Richards (866 yards, 2 TDs) and tight end David Njoku (654 yards, 7 TDs).

Miami has not won a bowl game in a decade and finally breaking through is high on the list of priorities as is earning coach Mark Richt a win to complete his first season.

 

Photo/MiamiHurricanes/twitter