The Miami Hurricanes’ turnover chain got a makeover.
Instead of an orange-and-green bejeweled “U” hanging at the bottom of the five-and-a-half pound, 36-inch “Cuban link” necklace made of 10K gold, the 2018 edition features UM’s mascot Sebastian the Ibis decked out in an equally flashy orange jersey.
The chain made its long-awaited return in No. 22 UM’s 2018 home opener against the Savannah State Tigers on Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium when Trajan Bandy recovered a second-quarter fumble.
“That was pretty cool, and it didn’t happen on accident,” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said of Bandy’s turnover-sealing play. “You see that ball on the ground and then all of a sudden you see this jet flying to the ball and it was Trajan.”
And it was Malek Young, the former Miami safety who suffered a career-ending neck injury in the Orange Bowl, who handed out the chain to Bandy.
The Hurricanes forced three more turnovers in the 77-0 blowout win with interceptions by Sheldrick Redwine and Jhavontae Dean and a fumble recovery by Waynmon Steed. Scott Patchan also received the chain after returning a blocked punt for a 10-yard touchdown.
“I like it,” Richt said. “It’s another bold statement, I would say. I don’t know how closely everybody got to see it on TV — I don’t even know if we were on TV — but I’m sure somebody got a picture of that thing. Hopefully, they blow it up to the detail because there’s some detail on there down to the feather. ... It’s more than just an ibis out of a mold. It’s very beautiful.”
The turnover chain debuted in the 2017 season opener against Bethune-Cookman and quickly became an Internet craze. Fans bought replicas of the chain and the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in May unveiled a limited edition turnover chain-inspired bobblehead depicts UM mascot Sebastian the Ibis in an orange Hurricanes football jersey throwing up “The U” with his hands and wearing the blinged-out turnover chain around his neck.
The chain’s purpose was to provide incentive for the Hurricanes defense to up its game.
It paid off. The Hurricanes recorded 31 turnovers last season, which led Power Five schools and tied for the third-most nationally with Memphis and Central Michigan. Wyoming out of the Mountain West Conference tallied a nation-leading 38 turnovers. The Hurricanes’ 31 forced turnovers were the most since forcing 35 in 2003.
And now, the chain is back although fans had to wait a week to see it after two almost-turnovers in the Hurricanes’ season-opening loss to LSU came up empty.
The first came on LSU’s first offensive possession. With LSU facing a third and 9 from the Miami 35, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow completed a pass to Dee Anderson, who ran up field for 11 yards before Michael Pinckney forced a fumble that LSU recovered. On that play, Bandy was ejected for targeting after leading with his helmet.
The second came one possession later, again on third down. Defensive linemen Gerald Willis, Joe Jackson and Jonathan Garvin combined for a quarterback pressure and forced Burrow to get rid of the ball. It sailed to the right sideline, and with no whistle called, cornerback Michael Jackson scooped up the ball and returned it 28 yards to the end zone for a touchdown. After a review, the play was ruled a forward pass and thus an incompletion.