Oct 14, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety Xavier Watts (0) scores a touchdown in front of USC Trojans wide receiver Mario Williams (4) after a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame won 48-20. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame All-American S Xavier Watts returning for 2024 season

Notre Dame unanimous All-American safety Xavier Watts has elected to return to the Fighting Irish for the 2024 season.

Watts simply said “run it back” on his various social media sites while pitching the video of his announcement. The video was filmed in a Western outdoor setting in El Paso, site of the Sun Bowl, and Watts dug up a gold bar out of the ground that said, “XAVIER WATTS returns in 2024.”

Notre Dame finished its season with a 40-8 shellacking of Oregon State at the Sun Bowl in El Paso on Friday.

Watts won the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defensive player among a slew of honors.

Watts led the nation with seven interceptions. He added 52 tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He scored a touchdown on the fumble return during a 48-20 win over Southern California on Oct. 14.

Watts was a receiver when he arrived at Notre Dame and he played in two games in 2020 and redshirted. He moved to defense during the 2021 season when the Fighting Irish were dealing with injuries in the secondary and he has been a fixture at safety the past two seasons.

–Field Level Media

UTEP head football coach Dana Dimel at a game against Liberty on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, at the Sun Bowl Stadium.

Reports: UTEP fires football coach Dana Dimel

UTEP fired head football coach Dana Dimel on Sunday after six seasons and a 20-49 overall record, multiple outlets reported.

The Miners finished their season on Saturday with a 42-28 loss to No. 25 Liberty to end 3-9 (2-6 Conference USA).

Dimel took over before the 2018 season, and the Miners were 1-11 in each of his first two seasons. They had their only winning season under Dimel in 2021, when they finished 7-6 after a loss to Fresno State in the Liberty Bowl.

Dimel began his coaching career in 1987 at Kansas State, his alma mater, and was on staff there until Wyoming (1997-99) named him its head coach. He also was the head coach at Houston (2000-02) and returned to Kansas State before being hired to lead UTEP.

He has a career record of 50-88.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Mike Harley (3) celebrates during the second half of the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Wallace Wade Stadium. at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

Miami pushes back Sun Bowl arrival due to COVID-19 issues

Due to issues with COVID-19, Miami won’t arrive in El Paso for the Sun Bowl until one day prior to the Dec. 31 game against Washington State, bowl officials said Thursday.

Miami acknowledged earlier this week that the team was in COVID-19 protocols. According to reports, multiple players tested positive and that affected multiple position groups.

The Hurricanes (7-5) are hoping a later arrival will help their situation. Washington State (7-5) is slated to arrive on Sunday.

Sun Bowl executive director Bernie Olivas doesn’t feel Miami will pull out of the game.

“Miami is doing everything they can to make sure they get here for the game, but COVID is dictating what can happen,” Olivas told ESPN. “We are not absolutely positive they are going to come, but they have told us, and I believe them, they are doing everything they can to play.

“I think they really want to be at the game, the way I understand it their results are headed in the right direction. We’re all optimistic they’re going to be here.”

Olivas said there have been no changes per schedule of events involving Washington State.

“As far as our plans, they’re continuing because we do have another team coming in, and we’re going to show them our hospitality that we’re famous for in El Paso,” Olivas said.

Miami wouldn’t be the first school to pull out of a bowl game due to COVID-19 issues. Texas A&M pulled out of the Gator Bowl, with Rutgers named as the replacement to play Wake Forest in the Dec. 31 game.

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2019; El Paso, Texas, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Herm Edwards is doused by Frosted Flakes by his players moments after defeating the Florida State Seminoles 20-14 in the Sun Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Sun Bowl canceled amid COVID-19 concerns

For the first time in 86 years, the Sun Bowl is going dark.

Sun Bowl officials confirmed Monday the game will not take place this December because of COVID-19 concerns. The cancellation was first reported by Stadium.

With the Orange and Sugar bowls, the Sun Bowl is tied for second-longest running bowl game — behind only the Rose Bowl. The game in El Paso, Texas, had been played for the past 85 years dating back to 1935, and this year was scheduled to feature teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference and Pac-12.

The Rose Bowl has been played every year since 1916, and this season is scheduled to host a CFB national semifinal, as is the Sugar Bowl, with the National Championship Game in Miami.

The decision makes the Sun Bowl the ninth bowl game to be canceled this season. Others that have been scrapped include the Pinstripe Bowl, Fenway Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Bahamas Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, Redbox Bowl, Quick Lane Bowl and Celebration Bowl.

Last season, Arizona State rallied for a 20-14 win over Florida State in the Sun Bowl. The Sun Devils had six takeaways in the victory.

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2019; El Paso, Texas, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Herm Edwards is doused by Frosted Flakes by his players moments after defeating the Florida State Seminoles 20-14 in the Sun Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Sun Bowl canceled amid COVID-19 concerns

For the first time in 86 years, the Sun Bowl is going dark.

Sun Bowl officials confirmed Monday the game will not take place this December because of COVID-19 concerns. The cancellation was first reported by Stadium.

With the Orange and Sugar bowls, the Sun Bowl is tied for second-longest running bowl game — behind only the Rose Bowl. The game in El Paso, Texas, had been played for the past 85 years dating back to 1935, and this year was scheduled to feature teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference and Pac-12.

The Rose Bowl has been played every year since 1916, and this season is scheduled to host a CFB national semifinal, as is the Sugar Bowl, with the National Championship Game in Miami.

The decision makes the Sun Bowl the ninth bowl game to be canceled this season. Others that have been scrapped include the Pinstripe Bowl, Fenway Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Bahamas Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, Redbox Bowl, Quick Lane Bowl and Celebration Bowl.

Last season, Arizona State rallied for a 20-14 win over Florida State in the Sun Bowl. The Sun Devils had six takeaways in the victory.

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2019; El Paso, Texas, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Herm Edwards is doused by Frosted Flakes by his players moments after defeating the Florida State Seminoles 20-14 in the Sun Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Sun Bowl canceled amid COVID-19 concerns

For the first time in 86 years, the Sun Bowl is going dark.

Sun Bowl officials confirmed Monday the game will not take place this December because of COVID-19 concerns. The cancellation was first reported by Stadium.

With the Orange and Sugar bowls, the Sun Bowl is tied for second-longest running bowl game — behind only the Rose Bowl. The game in El Paso, Texas, had been played for the past 85 years dating back to 1935, and this year was scheduled to feature teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference and Pac-12.

The Rose Bowl has been played every year since 1916, and this season is scheduled to host a CFB national semifinal, as is the Sugar Bowl, with the National Championship Game in Miami.

The decision makes the Sun Bowl the ninth bowl game to be canceled this season. Others that have been scrapped include the Pinstripe Bowl, Fenway Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Bahamas Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, Redbox Bowl, Quick Lane Bowl and Celebration Bowl.

Last season, Arizona State rallied for a 20-14 win over Florida State in the Sun Bowl. The Sun Devils had six takeaways in the victory.

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2019; El Paso, Texas, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Herm Edwards is doused by Frosted Flakes by his players moments after defeating the Florida State Seminoles 20-14 in the Sun Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Sun Bowl canceled amid COVID-19 concerns

For the first time in 86 years, the Sun Bowl is going dark.

Sun Bowl officials confirmed Monday the game will not take place this December because of COVID-19 concerns. The cancellation was first reported by Stadium.

With the Orange and Sugar bowls, the Sun Bowl is tied for second-longest running bowl game — behind only the Rose Bowl. The game in El Paso, Texas, had been played for the past 85 years dating back to 1935, and this year was scheduled to feature teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference and Pac-12.

The Rose Bowl has been played every year since 1916, and this season is scheduled to host a CFB national semifinal, as is the Sugar Bowl, with the National Championship Game in Miami.

The decision makes the Sun Bowl the ninth bowl game to be canceled this season. Others that have been scrapped include the Pinstripe Bowl, Fenway Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Bahamas Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, Redbox Bowl, Quick Lane Bowl and Celebration Bowl.

Last season, Arizona State rallied for a 20-14 win over Florida State in the Sun Bowl. The Sun Devils had six takeaways in the victory.

–Field Level Media