The No. 21 University of Miami and FIU have met twice in football.
But, oh, what a history they have.
On Monday, Hurricanes coach Mark Richt spoke briefly about FIU and its coach, former Canes coach Butch Davis, during his weekly radio stint on WQAM with Joe Rose and Zach Krantz. The teams are preparing to meet for the third time at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium.
The game will be televised on ESPN2, no doubt because of the added intrigue of two neighborhood schools with players who have grown up together, not to mention the history of Davis resurrecting the Hurricanes football program (1995-2000) through NCAA sanctions that did not occur under his watch. Davis left to coach the Cleveland Browns in 2001.
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And then there’s that little backyard brawl.
On Oct. 14, 2006, in front of 51,130 fans, “thirteen players were ejected after a massive fight that brought both teams onto the field swinging, kicking, punching and doing just about anything else to inflict pain on the opponent,’’ the Miami Herald wrote in its game story.
Larry Coker was the UM coach.
The Canes won 35-0, then met again in 2007, a peaceful game that UM won 23-9.
FIU (2-1) is coming off a 63-24 victory over UMass.
Miami (2-1) is coming off a 49-24 road victory against Toledo.
“It’s like I told the team, there’s going to be a lot of talk about Coach Davis,’’ Richt said on WQAM. “And I told the guys, ‘This man is a great coach and a great person and they did great things for Miami, the University of Miami football program.’ I said, ‘But we gotta make it about this game and this scheme and this preparation and we gotta treat it like any other game and make sure we’re focused on the right things.’’’
Rose mentioned how the players are all friends and have known each other since youth football. He asked Richt if he’d have to “tone guys down a little bit’’ for the matchup.
“I haven’t given it a lot of thought to be honest with you,’’ Richt said. “I know there’s some history to this game that was not very good. But I think our guys like playing football, like playing it physically and like to get after it like a good team should. But I really don’t think there’s going to be that kind of foolishness.
“But I’m sure it’s worthy of a conversation. I know both teams are being coached the right way. I think we’re going to have a really strong, competitive game.”
The fallout from that game included 31 players — 13 from UM and 18 from FIU— being suspended for one game.
The brawl started in the third quarter when two FIU players slammed UM holder Matt Perrelli into the ground on an extra point.
From there it was bedlam.
▪ Richt said receiver Ahmmon Richards is still “day-to-day’’ and is not practicing yet.
▪ Richt reiterated that safety Jaquan Johnson “tweaked a hamstring. How bad I don’t know. We don’t think it’s like the one Ahmmon had before last year. It wasn’t that bad, but enough to slow him down. He flexed with the team and got off to the side and did a little running. He’s not on crutches or anything like that. He’s moving around.
“We’re hoping it’s not going to be too long.’’