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Hurricanes to play true road game in Independence Bowl

Miami head coach Manny Diaz looks to an official during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Duke in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019
Miami head coach Manny Diaz looks to an official during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Duke in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019 (Associated Press)

SHREVEPORT, La. – Miami coach Manny Diaz’s message leading up to the Independence Bowl has been simple: Winning streaks and winning traditions start somewhere.

He should know.

He was at Louisiana Tech in 2014 when the Bulldogs beat Illinois in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. No one knew at the time, of course, how that victory would start what has become a five-year stretch of bowl wins for the Bulldogs — a run that ties Wisconsin as the nation’s longest active postseason streak.

And now Diaz finds himself hoping that Miami can start embarking on such a run Thursday, when the Hurricanes (6-6) play what will basically amount to a road game in Shreveport, Louisiana by taking on Louisiana Tech (9-3).

Miami coach Manny Diaz’s message leading up to the Independence Bowl has been simple: Winning streaks and winning traditions start somewhere.

He should know.

He was at Louisiana Tech in 2014 when the Bulldogs beat Illinois in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. No one knew at the time, of course, how that victory would start what has become a five-year stretch of bowl wins for the Bulldogs — a run that ties Wisconsin as the nation’s longest active postseason streak.

And now Diaz finds himself hoping that Miami can start embarking on such a run Thursday, when the Hurricanes (6-6) play what will basically amount to a road game in Shreveport, Louisiana by taking on Louisiana Tech (9-3).

Some other things to know going into this matchup:

THE SERIES

Miami is 4-0 all-time against Louisiana Tech, with the most recent of those meetings being a 48-0 win in 2004.

COMMON OPPONENTS

There is only one common opponent between Miami and Louisiana Tech in 2019 — and it seems to suggest the Bulldogs have the edge. They beat FIU 43-31 in September, while Miami lost 30-24 to FIU last month in one of the more humbling losses in program history.

QB ISSUES

Diaz wouldn’t say who the Hurricanes will start at quarterback in the bowl game. Jarren Williams held the starting job most of the year, N’Kosi Perry had it about half the time in 2018, and Ohio State transfer Tate Martell returned to bowl practice after an excused late-season absence for personal reasons.

NO QB ISSUES

Unlike Miami, Louisiana Tech doesn’t have any mystery at quarterback. Senior J’Mar Smith was picked as Conference USA’s offensive player of the year in 2019. Smith has thrown for 9,360 yards in his career and 50 touchdowns.

STREAKING

Louisiana Tech offensive lineman Ethan Reed is expected to make the 53rd consecutive start of his college career. Miami linebacker Shaquille Quarterman is expected to make his 52nd straight — extending his school record. Quarterman said “being able to finish this chapter of my career as a Miami Hurricane is very important to me.” He decided to play while at least four Hurricanes are opting to skip the game to prepare for the NFL draft, including linebacker Michael Pinckney, defensive linemen Pat Garvin and Trevon Hill, and wide receiver Jeff Thomas.