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Miami hopes to snap losing streak in bowls against West Virginia

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Time was, the Miami Hurricanes rang in the New Year.

You didn’t want to mess with the ‘Canes in a bowl game. Ask Florida. Ask Nebraska. Ask Alabama. Miami won five in a row from 1988-1992. They won six of seven from 1996-2004. In those years, Miami was pretty good most of the time, but they seemed to save their best for last.

But not anymore.

As Miami prepares to play against a good West Virginia team in today’s Russell Athletic Bowl, the Canes have lost seven straight games over 10 seasons The last one they won was back in 2006, when tthey triumphed in something called the GMAC Computers Bowl. They beat Nevada…by one point.

“I can’t lose no more bowl games,’’ Chad Thomas, tied for the team lead with 10.5 tackles for loss, told the Miami Herald. “I’ve got to do it for our seniors right now.”

Demetrious Jackson told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel: Ten years without a bowl win, that’s not what ‘The U’ is about. It’s going to turn around, and we’re going to look to turn it around Wednesday. … Everyone is pushing everyone harder so we can end that streak, so we can snap that streak.”

Miami’s most recent defeats were against Washington State last year and Louisville the year before.

“I feel like a win could really reprogram this football program, and I feel like it’ll be good for recruits,” said redshirt senior Rayshawn Jenkins.

The Mountaineers won’t be easy. They’re headed toward their 11th win with the nation’s No. 12-ranked offense. Quarterback Skyler Howard, who has thrown for 3,194 yards and 26 touchdowns while running for another 569 yards and nine scores, drives the offense. Running back Justin Crawford has rushed for 1,168 yards during the regular season.

Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya agreed that the game was big for the ‘Canes.

“It means a lot to me,” Kaaya said. “At this school, to not win a bowl game in 10 years is a huge deal. That should be the focus of everyone right now. It’s the focus of everything that we’re doing and all the other stuff, the distractions, we’ll sort it out later. Right now, we have to win and just really finish strong and finish the way that we should.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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