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UNC-Miami to play early due to Orange Bowl damage

MIAMI -- Hurricane Wilma damaged the Orange Bowl's lighting system, prompting the starting time for Saturday's game between North Carolina and sixth-ranked Miami to be moved up to noon, the Atlantic Coast Conference said on Tuesday.

"We wanted to play in the Orange Bowl, since it's our home,'"
Miami coach Larry Coker said. "I think it's an opportunity to give
something back to the community a little bit. We're a tough,
resilient community and we look forward to playing in front of our
fans."

The Carolina-Miami game was originally scheduled to be played at
3:30 p.m., which means it would end in darkness -- and potentially
create a dangerous situation for both fans and players. An
overwhelming majority of Miami-Dade County remained without power
Tuesday, and a nighttime countywide curfew is starting daily at 8
p.m. until further notice.

Miami's campus is closed until Sunday. The Orange Bowl has
been deemed structurally safe; a few sections of the building will be inaccessible to fans for this weekend's game.

"It has been determined that it is in the best interests of our
community to get back to a normal flow of activities as soon as
possible," Miami athletic director Paul Dee said. "We are aware
of the difficulties. ... But we hope in some small way that playing
this game will be positive for the community."

Moving into the 3:30 p.m. slot is Clemson's visit to Georgia
Tech, a game that was scheduled to start at noon. Wilma's looming
arrival forced the postponement last weekend of Georgia Tech's
visit to Miami, a game that will now be played on Nov. 19 in South
Florida.

"We're focused," Miami quarterback Kyle Wright said. "We're
disappointed we didn't get to play last weekend, and we're all
excited to get back out there and play."

Also, Florida International's scheduled home game Saturday
against Middle Tennessee has been postponed because of damage
caused by Wilma. The game will be rescheduled, with the schools
looking at a date in early December.