TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In a high stakes game with the loser likely eliminated from ACC Championship game contention, No. 12 Florida State heads to Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens to face rival Miami.
It marks the 57th meeting between the in-state rivals and the 30th consecutive time FSU and Miami have squared off in a nationally televised game. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. Saturday with an ABC split-national audience looking in.
Third-year Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is gunning for his third consecutive victory over the Hurricances as the Seminoles begin their three-peat attempt at the unofficial state championship. Maintaining any sustained streaks in this series is difficult, at best.
“They’ve got good players,” Fisher said. “They’ve got good coaches. It’s the oldest rivalry our school has. It means a lot. That’s why they’re rivalries. … There are always a few plays here and there that seem to tweak it and turn it, it seems, even like when we start to run away with it.”
History would support Fisher’s assertion as 11 of the last 13 games have been decided by eight points or fewer. Miami leads the all-time series 31-25, but Florida State has a 17-16 edge on the Hurricanes’ home field.
Fisher walked off from Thursday’s practice confident that his team is prepared to meet yet another challenge.
“It was a really good Thursday,” he said. “Everything came together, all of the things we were doing and the new things we were putting in. I liked the attitude. We’re starting to get that energy level. They sense it’s a Miami (gam), it’s an important game, it’s a rivalry game, it’s an ACC game.
“I really liked the execution today. That’s what I was really proud of. The other day we had some good effort. The execution has been good, but today it was really, really, really good. I was happy and proud of the way they went at today and practiced.”
Florida State’s EJ Manuel will try and become just the third Seminole quarterback to author back-to-back wins over the Hurricanes. Manuel led the ‘Noles to a 23-19 win last season in Tallahassee.
The Seminoles (6-1, 3-1 ACC) need the win to stay in the hunt for the ACC’s Atlantic Division title. FSU trails Maryland in the division stands and also has a loss to Atlantic rival NC State. The Terrapins and Wolfpack meet earlier Saturday in College Park, Md.
Miami (4-3, 3-1) sits atop the Coastal Division, but is one of four teams with a league loss, which came at the hands of North Carolina last week. The Hurricanes will try and keep pace with fellow, one-loss division rivals Duke and Virginia Tech, which face off against North Carolina and Clemson, respectively.