UM will play FIU in football next season after all, UM athletic director Blake James said this week.
The teams originally planned to meet in 2018 in the first of a two-game series. But 14 months ago, that game was moved to 2019 because of a void in UM’s schedule.
But the football game has now been shifted back to 2018 at Hard Rock Stadium, according to James and FIU coach Butch Davis.
Miami and FIU have played only twice, most famously in 2006 when the two teams brawled at the Orange Bowl resulting in 31 suspensions between the teams.
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So UM’s 2018 nonconference schedule will include an opener against LSU in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday night, Sept. 2, a home game against Savannah State (tentatively scheduled for Sept. 8), a game at Toledo on Sept. 15 and the FIU game (date TBD).
UM and FIU will play a second time in the coming years, with the date and site to be determined.
▪ Linebacker Darrion Owens, who returned from major knee surgery to be a contributing backup the past two years, is transferring, UM announced Tuesday.
“Darrion and I talked, and he informed me that he feels his best opportunity to get the most playing time would be at another school,” coach Mark Richt said. “Darrion has been a great representative of our program. We appreciate all the hard work he has put in and we wish him all the best in his future plans.”
Owens said, in a statement released by UM: “I would like to thank Coach Richt, the coaching staff, my teammates and all of the Hurricane fans for their support. I’m proud to have earned my degree from the University of Miami and I look forward to this next chapter in my football career.”
Owens, a redshirt junior from Orange Park, played in all 13 games for the Hurricanes this past season, recording 35 tackles, including 4.5 for loss.
Owens is the third player in the past three days to announce he’s leaving. Linebacker Jamie Gordinier quit football after multiple knee surgeries, and defensive tackle Ryan Fines is leaving the program in search of more playing time elsewhere.
Those additional scholarships could allow UM to sign seven to nine players in early February, on top of the 19 signed in mid-December.
▪ UM is awaiting NFL decisions from junior defensive tackles Richard McIntosh Jr. and Kendrick Norton and cornerback Michael Jackson.
McIntosh and Norton originally were leaning strongly toward turning pro, according to a source. But the source says they’re now on the fence and the decision could go either way. They will meet with coaches to discuss the situation in the next week.
Coaches already have tried to lobby them to return.
An NFL executive and draftnik Tony Pauline said they do not project either going in the first two rounds of the draft. The NFL Draft advisory board told McIntosh he likely wouldn’t be selected in the first two rounds, but he said that won’t be a determining factor in his decision.
Many believe that the roommates and close friends will make the same decision. If one turns pro and the other returns, the concern would be that the one who remains at UM would draw more double teams — something they are aware of.
One scout said he would consider Jackson in the fourth round, but as a safety, not a cornerback.