Florida State University

What Florida State players are saying about UM as this weekend’s rivalry game approaches

The Florida State-Miami rivalry has seen its share of classic football games.

It’s a game that had national title implications in the past, and one that’s seen several close games in recent memory. In the past five meetings, the margin of victory was five points or less.

The Hurricanes have won the last two games, including last year’s thrilling, 28-27, comeback victory.

On Tuesday, some FSU players discussed the rivalry with reporters.

Here’s what they said about the Hurricanes:

WR D.J. Matthews

On how much it would mean to beat Miami after a couple close losses to the Canes: “It would mean a lot. Since I’ve been here, we haven’t won a state championship. You always play for state titles when you come to Florida State. It would be big for us, especially my class.”

On last year’s loss after having a 20-point lead: “It was heartbreaking. How did it happen? Because we saw it happen. It’s just something to learn from. Don’t make those same mistakes this year.”

On what is challenging about UM’s defensive backs: “Nothing.”

Is it just beating them one-on-one: “Yeah. They like to play man-to-man coverage. I ain’t really seen nothing too much on film. You know, it’s Miami. It’s what they’re going to do. They’re going to play man-to-man coverage.”

On what the game means for him as a player being a longtime FSU fan: “It means a lot to me just playing for Florida State. It’s a tradition. Then going down and playing Miami, and being that I’m from Jacksonville, just to go down and play against Miami, that just means even more to me. It’s big.”

WR Tamorrion Terry

On what UM defensive backs do to them as receivers: “It’s a lot of one-on-one, lot of palms, quarters and they try to trap sometimes, trap corner. They like do a lot of one-on-ones for the boundary sometimes and palms for upfield. We’re ready for it.”

TE Tre’ McKitty

On how the Miami game is different than other games: “Like everybody says, this is a week where you don’t have to really get up for it. You know the stakes of this game. Since I’ve been here, we haven’t beat them, so I’m looking for a big week this week to come out on top.”

On the Hurricanes’ veteran linebackers: “Really that’s the main thing: They’ve been there a long time. Shaq Quarterman, the middle linebacker, he’s started every single game since he’s been there. He’s a good player. They’re all good athletes. It’s something that we have to watch for sure.”

On having any friends with UM players: “Yeah. I have quite a few friends on the team, but this week it’s no talking to ‘em. It’s all business this week.”

TE Gabe Nabers

On UM’s defense: “They play a lot of man. They are quick upfront. They have got a lot of guys returning back. The linebackers are really, they have got some veterans on defense. So we are going to have to play a complete game this week. This week we have to have a great week of practice. We have to focus on the little things like I always say, but this week in particular, everyone knows that this game is very important to us. So we just have to handle our emotions this week and make sure this week of practice we do a good job of locking in and knowing what we have so when Saturday comes.”

On explaining to the first-year players how to handle the emotions of the rivalry with UM: “To me it doesn’t have to be overstated. People that come to this school know the reputation that this game has behind it and the history and the tradition that it has. Whenever you sign up to put this helmet on, you assume everything that comes with it. So for the young guys, whether that’s scout team, players, first-year contributors on offense or on defense, special teams, everyone just needs to be ready when their number is called because this game right here is important to us.”

On what he knew of the rivalry before arriving at FSU: “I’m from Valdosta, Ga. so an hour and a half away. It’s around you. This game is just like Florida, these two games are a really big deal here. ... It is always kind of different seeing it on TV, just being in the moment, playing football, it all comes down to who wants it more at the end of the day. It is a physical game, it is going to be a physical game. Whoever out hits one another, whoever out runs, whoever out blocks will win.”

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Sports reporter Jason has covered high school, college and pro sports since joining the Bradenton Herald in 2010. He’s won Florida Press Club awards for sports feature and column writing. He currently writes college and pro sports stories for the McClatchy East Region real-time team.