EL PASO, Texas (AP) – Notre Dame and Miami have accepted invitations to meet in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31, giving the game a marquee matchup between two teams with plenty of history.

Both teams will take 7-5 records into the 77th annual game.

The game will mark the 24th meeting between the schools, but the first since 1990. It was announced in July that the schools were renewing their spirited and often fierce regular-season series with three games beginning in 2012 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

“After waiting 77 years, the stars have finally lined up for us. I have spent 40 years as a volunteer and I would have never thought I would see the day that Notre Dame and Miami would play in the Sun Bowl,” bowl selection chairman John Folmer said.

Notre Dame leads the series 15-7-1, though the two schools have never met in a bowl.

The series dates back to the 1950s, but it was during the 1980s – when Miami became a national power – that the rivalry got interesting.

In 1985, Miami embarrassed Notre Dame 58-7 in Gerry Faust’s last game as coach of the Fighting Irish. Faust was replaced by Lou Holtz and soon after Notre Dame was a national title contender again, and the Miami-Notre Dame game was routinely one of the biggest of the season.

Miami beat Notre Dame 24-0 two years later on the way to an undefeated national title, then saw a 36-game regular- season winning streak end the next season with a 31-30 loss in South Bend, when the Irish went on to win the national title.

Miami reclaimed the national crown the next season, thanks again in part to a 27-10 win over Notre Dame on Nov. 25, 1989 – a game in which the Irish were ranked No. 1 and closing in on what could have been their second straight title.

And then Notre Dame returned the favor in 1990, beating Miami 29-20.

Tense and at times nasty, the series was dubbed by some as Catholics vs. Convicts. The 1988 game was marked by a pregame shoving match and the next season the teams nearly squared off at midfield before the coin toss.

Now, 20 years later, they’ll face off in Texas.

“If I wasn’t involved in this game, this game, Miami versus Notre Dame, would be a game I would definitely watch,” Stoutland said Sunday.

Stoutland will be serving as Miami’s head coach for the first time, and almost surely the last. He was appointed the interim coach one day after Miami fired Randy Shannon.

Making a bowl game in Brian Kelly’s first season as Notre Dame’s coach didn’t seem likely during a 1-3 start. It will be Notre Dame’s 30th overall bowl and came after the Irish ended the season on a three-game winning streak.

“We internally targeted the Sun Bowl as a great game for us because of the national exposure the game receives and the top-notch opponent we will face in Miami,” Kelly said. “This game will serve as a perfect prelude to the three-game series we’ll experience in the coming years.”

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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