As if losing his mother days before Christmas wasn't difficult enough, Miami running back Mike James was handed the unenviable task of choosing between her funeral and the Hurricanes' bowl game against Notre Dame when services were scheduled for the exact same time as kickoff.
James will play in the Sun Bowl Friday at 2 p.m., UM announced, because he feels that is what 47-year-old Elgusta James would want him to do.
The sophomore is expected to re-join the team tomorrow in El Paso for the first time since he left practice on Monday, December 20 upon learning his mother had been killed in a car accident in the family's hometown of Haines City. He immediately drove home with an uncle, and has remained there with family.
Tailback Eduardo Clements told Eye on the U that he has sent his teammate messages of support.
Elgusta James was a passenger in her daughter's Ford Explorer when the vehicle was hit by another car at an intersection. James, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected as the car rolled over twice and pronounced dead at the scene; her daughter and 5-year-old grandson sustained injuries but survived.
So far, no charges have been filed in the crash, which remains under investigation.
James has been an integral part of the Hurricanes' rushing offense this season, averaging 5.8 yards on 66 carries with three touchdowns. He has also caught 9 passes for 42 yards and a touchdown.