No, Miami quarterback Stephen Morris said, explaining that the Canes aim to take every play in, move on to the next and execute. We never try to make bulletin board statements. Our focus is, Lets just do everything right. Obviously, Florida State deserves all the credit. Theyre a great team.
UM tight end Asante Cleveland said the first time he went to Tallahassee in 2011 (23-19, FSU), it was real intense. There were a lot of fans, and seeing the guy [Chief Osceola] riding on the horse was different. But this is important to me because its my senior year, my last go-around, and weve never beaten Florida State. Thats always been a goal.
Its what you live for, going into places like that.
Cleveland was asked his impression of the point spread.
Its interesting, he said, acknowledging it was a reflection of what people predict.
People who arent in our meeting rooms, Cleveland said. People who arent in our organization. We have nothing to do with that. Were focusing on Florida State.
The Hurricanes are no slouches, averaging 39.6 points 19th nationally; and allowing 17.7 points per game, 11th-best in the country.
Their pass defense is strong, they rank No. 1 in kickoff returns (with a formidable tandem in freshman Stacy Coley and sophomore Duke Johnson), and Johnson ranks 11th in rushing yards per game (117.6) and third in all-purpose yards (182.9).
But the Canes recent penchant for close games with teams considered pedestrian has tempered national enthusiasm and lost them respect. The past two weeks, theyve won games in the last minute against North Carolina and Wake Forest.
Meanwhile, FSU has rolled over its competition, hammering then-No. 3 Clemson on the road, 51-14, and jumping to a 35-0 lead in the first quarter last week against North Carolina State in an eventual 49-17 victory.
When we start out fast, were pretty hard to beat, Winston said. We just take the breath out of everybody.
In 11 previous meetings between UM and FSU as top-10 opponents, the Canes have won eight. The last time they met as unbeatens in 2003 (each 5-0), Miami won 22-14 in Tallahassee.
Miami and FSU are two of the eight unbeaten teams in college football still standing.
After Saturday, only one will survive.
Its a big week, said Johnson, when asked if it was tough to stay away from the hype. I dont have time for the foolishness.
It doesnt matter whether someone respects us or not. We dont care. Were here to play football and do it the way were being taught.