University of Miami defensive end Anthony Chickillo’s 44-game streak as a starter was in jeopardy after he injured his knee in the third quarter Saturday against Florida State.
But more important to the Hurricanes (6-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) than preserving the streak is that Chickillo returned to practice Wednesday and should be able to start Saturday night at Virginia (4-6, 2-4).
Miami coach Al Golden said Chickillo was “full go.”
Starting safety Deon Bush, however, was held out of practice again and is still “day-to-day,” Golden said, casting doubt on whether Bush will be able to play.
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“I thought we’d have a chance,” Golden said of Chickillo. “He was in [first-team] black, fully integrated, so that was good.”
How “impressive and improbable” is it to make 44 consecutive starts in college football?
“That’s a great task and obviously a tribute to him and his ability to get in the training room, take care of his body, make sacrifices,” Golden said. “He’s good to go. He didn’t show any signs of anything [Wednesday].”
This season, Chickillo has 30 tackles (3.5 for loss), two sacks, a team-leading five quarterback hurries, three pass breakups, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
Backup defensive end Chad Thomas, a 6-5, 255-pound freshman out of Miami Booker T. Washington, said he watches Chickillo’s “every move” on the field. “He sets a great example of how I’m supposed to go when I get in.”
FREAK PLAY MEMORIES
Junior Tyriq McCord, the other starting defensive end, was on the unfortunate side of the third-and-goal play from the UM 11-yard line late in the third quarter against FSU.
McCord made what seemed to be a perfect play, batting Jameis Winston’s pass into the air. Inexplicably, the ball landed right in the arms of FSU running back Karlos Williams, in stride, who took it in for a touchdown to narrow the score to 23-17.
“It’s just part of the game,” McCord said, pointing to the Cincinnati game in which “a receiver tried to catch the ball and it ended up bouncing my way and I intercepted it and took it for a touchdown. I did my job. He was just in the right spot at the right time.”
A TRIP TO THE PLAYOFFS
UM won’t be going to the national title game this season, but perhaps a Hurricanes fan can make the trip.
College football sponsor Allstate is hosting the “It’s Good Sweepstakes,” featuring a prize package of $100,000 and a trip for the winner and three friends to watch the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship at Arlington, Texas.
To sweeten the grand prize, Allstate has included a trip for the winner and three friends to attend the Allstate Sugar Bowl semifinal.
“It’s probably the greatest sweepstakes giveaway I’ve ever heard of as far as college football is concerned,” said ESPN/ABC analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who will meet the winners at the championship game.
Fans can enter the sweepstakes at AllstateCFB.com.
▪ Golden said UM will give out the full allotment of scholarships (25) for its next signing class in February.