Florida State

FSU Seminoles won’t be taking rivalry with Miami Hurricanes for granted


Miami Herald Writer

FSU is a top-15 team in every major statistical category, and UM is 4-3. Still, the Noles know Saturday’s contest is ‘a big rivalry game.’

Florida State has experienced a rough couple of weeks. After a disappointing loss on the road to North Carolina State two weeks ago, the Seminoles now finds themselves back in the Atlanta Coast Conference pack and well off the pace for a national title.

On Saturday night though, when No. 12 Florida State renews acquaintances with Miami in Sun Life Stadium, all of that will be irrelevant.

“Regardless of what we’ve done in the past or what they’ve done against other teams, they’re going to bring their best against us because it’s a rivalry game,” senior defensive end Toshmon Stevens said.

‘we want this one’

“It’s a big rivalry game and, of course, we want this one, we deserve it,” sophomore defensive tackle Tim Jernigan said. “The key thing is just focusing, not trying to do more than you can do, not trying to be Superman — just [doing] your job and making plays in the scheme — so that’s what we’ve been focusing on.”

For both Florida State (6-1, 3-1 ACC) and Miami (4-3, 3-1), records mean nothing Saturday. All that will matter for 60 minutes at Sun Life Stadium is who wins.

“I think it’s one of the best [rivalries] in the history of the game,” coach Jimbo Fisher said. “This is one of the reasons you come to Florida State to play. They’re No. 1 on their side [of the ACC], we’re second on our side. A lot of implications in the state. To us, it’s one of the major, major games of the year and a huge game for us.”

ACC positioning

It is a huge game or both sides. Much hangs in the balance —from ACC positioning to recruiting battles — and it all depends on what the scoreboard reads at the end of regulation.

“It’s bragging rights when you go back home,” senior wide receiver Rodney Smith said. “Just to be able to say you beat Miami. My mom actually worked down at the University of Miami, so that was one of the teams I always heard about growing up. I know a lot of my family members are going to be looking forward to seeing what I can do against them this week.”

Smith, a Miami native, is one of many South Florida playmakers the Seminoles have pilfered from the Hurricanes’ backyard recently. Standouts such as Smith, Rashad Greene, Xavier Rhodes and Lamarcus Joyner have all played a huge role in Florida State’s success the past few seasons.

“It is a very important game because it does bring justification for a young man to leave Miami and come to Tallahassee and do some of those things,” Fisher said. “It is always good. The people in the state always look at how those games go and always have gone.”

Lately, Florida State has had the upper hand. Since taking over as coach, Fisher is unbeaten against Miami and Florida, and the Seminoles have boasted top recruiting classes each of the past few seasons.

Making their pitch

“There’s two camps of players that look at this game. Some look at [it as] right now Florida State is No. 10 in the [coaches poll], and some look at that and say, ‘I want to a part of that,’ ” UM coach Al Golden said. “And some look at us and say, ‘Well, I want to be part of the resurgence of Miami, and I want to go and make an impact and bring them back to the top.’

“Again, I think ultimately, there’s some guys in the state that are either a Hurricane or a Seminole and there are a whole bunch that you have to recruit.”

On Saturday night, both Miami and Florida State will make their pitch.

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