Football

A game of bragging rights

FILE PHOTO by Steve Root // Hurricane Staff

This rivalry is more than words; it’s about pride and gaining national respect. Everything will be left on the field at Dolphin Stadium.

There will be no love lost when the Miami Hurricanes host archenemy Florida State on Saturday, as one of the fiercest rivalries in college football takes the field.

The Canes will enter the contest at 2-2 overall, while the Seminoles come in at 3-1. Both teams, though, are 0-1 in the ACC, and they will be looking to capture their first ACC win of the season against a hated foe.

Dating back to 1983, Miami and Florida State have combined for more national titles than any other rivalry in the country. Fortunately for the Canes, they have crushed Florida State’s national championship aspirations five times since 1987 and hold the all-time series record at 30-22.

“It’s a state rivalry,” head coach Randy Shannon said. “Coming into this game we have to be focused. It’s going to be a great atmosphere, a great time. It will be brutal.”

Last season the Hurricanes traveled to Tallahassee, Fla. and defeated the Seminoles 37-29.

In an epic final series for Miami, the Canes drove down the field and took a one-point lead when Kirby Freeman hooked up with Dedrick Epps.

Linebacker Colin McCarthy sealed the game 11 seconds later with a 27-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown.

“It was a big win, a huge win for the program and the school,” Shannon said. “It was at Florida State, and we had a lot of fans there from Miami. That was the one unique thing that never happens.”

Since Florida State’s head coach Bobby Bowden took over the coaching reigns 32 years ago, the Hurricanes are the only team to manage to shut out the Seminoles. Miami has blanked them twice, 47-0 in 1976 and 31-0 in 1988.

The last time Miami and Florida State met at Dolphin Stadium, the 2003 Orange Bowl, the Hurricanes defeated the Seminoles 16-14.

But the Hurricanes understand they still have a tough task ahead of them this weekend.

“There is a lot of tradition in it,” said freshman wide receiver Travis Benjamin. “It’s a rival game and it’s exciting. I look forward to showing what I’ve got.”

The Hurricanes are coming off a heartbreaker against North Carolina in their ACC opener, falling 28-24. Robert Marve threw three touchdowns and Graig Cooper had 110 yards on the ground in that game.

The players haven’t forgotten how tough the loss against the Tar Heels was and will look to direct their attention to their nemesis.

“It’s Florida State versus Miami,” Marve said. “It’s going to be a hard-hitting, fast game. People talk about the ‘it’ factor. This has the ‘it’ factor. It’s going to be crazy fans. I’m going to be ready to play football.”

Said quarterback Jacory Harris, “This is always going to be a marquee game. We have to go out there and make something happen.”

Last week Florida State bounced back from a loss against Wake Forest and defeated Colorado, 39-21. Antone Smith rushed for 154 yards and scored three times.

However, it will be tough to rack up that kind of rushing yardage against the Hurricanes. Miami ranks seventh nationally in rush defense. On the other hand, Florida State is always stingy on the defense side ranking third nationally in total defense.

It doesn’t take much for the Hurricanes to get hyped to play their rival, but they know they must respect them.

“They’re a good team and our rival,” freshman cornerback Brandon Harris said. “It’s going to be a great game.”

October 1, 2008

Reporters

Lelan LeDoux

Senior Sports Writer


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