The fabled gameday is upon us.
From Coral Gables to Tallahassee, Hurricane faithfuls will made the eight-hour drive to enemy territory for the annual rivalry matchup between the No. 7 Miami Hurricanes and the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles.
And this year, it actually matters.
Both teams bring undefeated records to the contest- both stand at 7-0 overall. (Miami 3-0, Florida State 5-0 in the ACC).
Florida State is currently third in points for (52.6) and fourth in points against (13.0). Miami enters the matchup ranked 20th in points for (39.6) and 11th in points against (17.7).
The illustrious in-state rivalry began in 1951 and, while FSU holds the longest winning streak (seven years, from1962-1972) and has won the last three matchups, Miami leads the series overall 31-26.
Coming off a pair of last minute victories against North Carolina and Wake Forest, the Cardiac ‘Canes will have their work cut out for them.
Ranked 11th overall in passing yards, the Seminoles’ freshman quarterback Jameis Winston is so far living up to all the hype. Winston has recorded 2177 yards on the season with 23 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
Comparatively, Miami senior quarterback Stephen Morris has thrown for 1463 yards, ten touchdowns and eight interceptions.
On the ground, Miami’s sophomore running back Duke Johnson has recorded 823 rushing yards, averaging 6.7 per carry, and posted 6 touchdowns for the ‘Canes. Florida State’s leading rusher, junior Devonta Freeman, has 561 yards (6.4 per carry) also resulting in 6 touchdowns.
But as tradition stands, Saturday’s 8 p.m. game at Doak Campbell Stadium could come down to the golden foot oft he kicker- Miami’s sophomore Matt Goudis or FSU’s freshman Roberto Aguayo.
Hurricanes complete a pass against the Seminoles in the 2012 rivalry game.
Originating in 1951, the rivalry has showcased a history of game-losing kicks, predominantly on the part of Florida State. The curse of Wide Right began in 1991 when Florida State kicker Gerry Thomas sent a game-winning field goal sailing wide to the right with under a minute remaining in the game. The misfire gave the No. 2 Hurricanes the 17-16 win on the road over the top-ranked Seminoles.
Just one year later, FSU kicker Dan Mowrey followed suit. His directionally-challenged field goal attempt to the right of the goal posts meant a 19-16 nailbiter of a win for the undefeated 1992 Hurricanes.
In 2000, the Hurricanes held on to a 27-24 lead at Miami’s Orange Bowl stadium when Seminole kicker Matt Munyon could not fulfill the last-minute scoring drive with another wide right.
But finally in 2002, the tables had turned for Florida State.
With only minutes remaining in the game, Miami took a 28-27 lead but allowed Florida State to drive into field goal range for a game-winning attempt. Kicker Xavier Beitia broke with tradition, sending an errant field goal attempt wide to the left of the uprights as Miami escaped with the victory.
But as college football is a strong showing of tradition, history returned to its course in 2004. In his chance for redemption, Beitia completed his set of missed field goals with – what else, but a wide right – an error that cost the Seminoles the lead with only a handful of time left in the game.
Miami had it’s own shameful blunder in 2005 when the trailing Hurricanes set up a game-tying field goal with 2:16 left on the clock. The snapped ball was mishandled by holder Brian Monroe and the ball never reached the kickers foot.
The Canes take on the ‘Noles during last season’s rivalry game in Sun Life Stadium.
But the past is just that- in the past. True to his mantra, coach Al Golden is just taking it one game at a time.
“We’re blocking better, let’s be fair, let’s be honest- Randy couldn’t run the way he ran the other day last year, he was twelve pounds lighter. Now he’s dropping his pads and finishing runs. The offensive line is bigger and stronger and better. The tight ends couldn’t block like that a year ago.,” said Golden. “So we’re making progress, but it’s all relative, we’re going to get tested on Saturday. It’s a great challenge for our guys and an even greater opportunity.”
Tonight’s game starts at 8pm and will be broadcast on ABC. Go ‘Canes!