With the Florida State Seminoles arriving safely by plane in Fort Lauderdale on Friday morning, and Hurricane Matthew beyond South Florida as it worked its way up the Southeast Coast, Miami officials were at Hard Rock Stadium on Friday morning preparing for Saturday’s 8:14 p.m. kickoff between No. 10 UM (4-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) and No. 23 FSU (3-2, 0-2).
For those who don’t have tickets, now would be a good time to get the few remaining, as the game is expected to be a sellout.
The stadium’s recent renovations reduced the seating capacity to about 65,000 – and Hurricanesports.com had a smattering remaining, most of them single seats in various locations.
Stubhub.com also had seats available from $124.99 to about $650 on Thursday afternoon.
According to UM’s media guide, of the 38 largest home crowds for Miami football games, 11 of them were for FSU games – including the largest crowd of 81,927 to watch the No. 1 Hurricanes defeat the No. 9 Seminoles 28-27 in the Orange Bowl.
UM drew 75,115 in 2010, 73,328 in 2012 and 76,530 in 2014 for Florida State games to the stadium now known as Hard Rock.
The Hurricanes averaged 47,560 in paid attendance at home games last season, though the real number of seats occupied was far fewer.
This year, UM drew 60,703 fans to the opener against FAMU that marked the start of the Mark Richt era on Sept. 3; and 57,123 to the second game against FAU.
▪ UM put out a press release late Friday afternoon saying that “fans should be aware’’ that the Green and RV tailgating lots will now open at 4 p.m., while the blue, maroon, yellow, purple and orange lots will open at 5 p.m.
“Any individuals who do not have a ticket to the game, or do not have a ticket waiting at will call or on a pass list, will not be permitted to enter the tailgating area at Hard Rock Stadium.’’
UM said the game will begin with a moment of silence for those impacted by Hurricane Matthew throughout the United States and the Caribbean, and that both teams will wear a specially designed helmet sticker with the state of Florida covered by the Red Cross logo. Both schools will present a check for $50,000 prior to the game for hurricane relief. Fans will be encouraged to aid in the relief effort and will be provided opportunities in the stadium to do so.
▪ Also Friday, the state of Florida notified the presidents of both universities that the Florida Highway Patrol “will not provide the traditional escorts for the football game’’ this weekend.
“All state law enforcement will be doing hurricane response and recovery,’’ said Jackie Schutz, Governor Rick Scott’s communications director.
Scott urged people to avoid driving through areas still under evacuation and FSU has issued a warning to students and fans not to travel.
“People need to be careful,’’ Schutz said. “There’s still a major Category 3 storm going up the coast.’’
Miami Herald reporter Mary Ellen Klas contributed to this report.