There was a time when Florida State-Miami was arguably the biggest rivalry in college football.
Both programs have slipped over the years. The Hurricanes won their fifth and most recent national title in 2001. The Seminoles captured their third and most recent national crown in 2013.
Even so, the game still matters, and Miami — which leads the series 35-30 — has won the past four contests against Florida State.
On Saturday in Tallahassee, the Seminoles (3-6, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) will square off with the Hurricanes (5-4, 3-2).
“If you don’t know (anything), you at least know your record against FSU, and I’m 3-0,” Miami defensive tackle Nesta Silvera said. “(As a senior), I’m going to try to go out with a bang.”
Miami, which still has a shot at winning the ACC East to reach the conference championship game, has won three straight games overall, including two over Top 25 teams.
The Hurricanes are led by quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, running back Jaylan Knighton and wide receiver Charleston Rambo.
Van Dyke, a redshirt freshman with just six career starts, ranks 19th in the nation and fifth in the ACC with an average of 268.1 passing yards per game. Van Dyke, who has tossed 15 TD passes and only four interceptions, is the first Hurricanes QB since Bernie Kosar in 1984 to throw for at least 325 yards in three consecutive games.
Knighton, in five contests since coming off a team-issued, four-game suspension, has 628 scrimmage yards and seven touchdowns. He is averaging 125.6 scrimmage yards per game, and he had a career-high 162 rushing yards last week in Miami’s 33-30 win over Georgia Tech.
Rambo ranks 15th in the nation and fourth in the ACC with 860 receiving yards. He had 210 receiving yards against Georgia Tech, falling just 10 yards short of Eddie Brown’s single-game program record.
Florida State, which has lost two straight games, is just 2-4 at home.
Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis missed last week’s 28-14 loss to North Carolina State due to a flu bug that hit much of the team.
“We’ll see as the week progresses,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said when asked about Travis’ status for the Miami game. “He was in tough shape last week.”
McKenzie Milton, a former UCF star who has come back from a gruesome leg injury, started in place of Travis and completed 22 of 44 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown against the Wolfpack. However, he threw a key interception.
Travis, who has won three of his past four starts, is the better player at the moment, especially as a runner. He has rushed for 340 yards in seven games, which ranks third on Florida State’s team, behind Jashaun Corbin (747 yards, 6.9 average) and Treshaun Ward (444 yards, 6.9 average).
As a passer, Travis has completed 62.9 percent for 812 yards with 11 TDs and five interceptions.
Without Travis against NC State, Florida State was shut out in the first half, getting just three first downs. For the game, the Seminoles rushed 27 times for just 38 yards and went 2-for-16 on third downs.
However, Florida State defensive end Keir Thomas is convinced his squad will be ready for Miami.
“We’ve been losing,” Thomas said, “but our guys don’t flinch.
“To win (against Miami), would mean a lot to me and to this organization. I know we’re going to fight.”
–Field Level Media