By Jim Berry

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Miami Hurricanes play Virginia Tech Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami is undefeated but that is not the only thing that has UM fans going crazy. It is also all about the “Turnover Chain”, a piece of hardware taking college football in Miami by storm.

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It has come to symbolize UM football’s renewed swag. When a Hurricane defender forces a turnover, he dons the turnover chain.

“It’s like a knight in shining armor. It’s like a shield, I really earned this and this is my prize for it,” said UM linebacker Shad Quarterman.

There is nothing subtle about the chain but then again, this is Miami.

“I’m from Dade County, that’s our style of chain,” said Canes defensive lineman Chad Thomas. “It’s representing a city, it’s a culture.”

AJ Machado, a Miami Dade jeweler who has made plenty of bling for plenty of sports celebrities, created the turnover chain.

When UM defensive coordinator Manny Diaz first called about the idea, former Canes star Vince Wilfork was in the shop.

Right away, he and Machado knew what was right for the U.

“We thought, we’re Miami, let’s come up with a Cuba link, so we came up with the two and a half kilo Cuba link which is maybe about two of these put together and the charm has 900 stones of sapphires, orange and green stones,” explained Machado.

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The chain has quickly caught on with the UM fan base. They show it off in signs and T-shirts.

“How heavy is that thing, asked Jim Berry to defensive back Jaquan Johnson.

“I’m not sure exactly how heavy it is, it’s pretty heavy, it’s a pretty nice size,” replied Johnson.

The player who earns the chain wears it until he goes back onto the field.  Although football is a team game, no one minds the individual attention brought on by the chain.

“Everybody celebrates around you when you put it on your neck so it’s sort of a like a party, a party on the sideline for the defense when we put the chain on.”

Nobody at the University of Miami will say where the chain is kept, although they do maintain it is under lock and key in a special case.  They also won’t say how much it cost or if it’s real gold or some kind of mix thereof.

It is all part of the mystery surrounding this motivational piece of jewelry.

Right now, there is no counterpart for the UM offense. The team’s offensive coordinator is not sold on the chain idea anyway.

“I’m not a big motivation guy,” said offensive coordinator Thomas Brown.

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So far, the Canes have caused 15 turnovers this season. A few more well timed ones and maybe they will get championship rings to go along with that turnover chain.

Jim Berry