Miami was hopeful Hurricane Matthew would allow it to play a game against Florida State on Saturday.
About 28 hours before the scheduled kickoff, Athletics Director Blake James confirmed publicly:
Hard Rock Stadium passed its post-Matthew inspection Friday morning, and UM secured the proper amount of police to staff the game, which is slated for an 8 p.m. kickoff.
“The decision to move forward with the game came after numerous conversations between Florida State, the ACC, Hard Rock Stadium, the University of Miami and through consultation with Miami-Dade County,” UM said in a press release.
Florida State flew to South Florida on Friday morning. Miami, which stayed at its team hotel Thursday evening and held a walk-through there, returned to practice Friday morning.
UM said the game will open with a moment of silence “in recognition of all those impacted by Hurricane Matthew throughout the United States and the Caribbean,” and both teams will wear a helmet sticker with an image of the state of Florida and the Red Cross logo.
UM said both schools will present a check for $50,000 prior to the game for hurricane relief. Fans will be provided opportunities to donate at the game.
The 10th-ranked Hurricanes (4-0, 1-0 ACC) are looking for their first win in six years over the rival Seminoles (3-2, 0-2), who are ranked 23rd.
They will honor the 25th anniversary of their 1991 championship team and debut their throwback uniforms, which are reminiscent of those from that era.
The game is expected to be a sellout, though UM won’t draw as many fans as previous FSU games. Stadium capacity was reduced to 65,285 this year, about 10,000 fewer seats than the former Sun Life Stadium held. The Hurricanes drew 76,530 (2014), 73,328 (2012) and 75,115 (2010) in its last three home games against the Seminoles.
Three of UM’s top five home attendances have come with FSU in town.
UM said the Green and RV tailgating lots will open at 4 p.m. Saturday, while the Blue, Maroon, Yellow, Purple and Orange lots will open at 5. Those who do not have a ticket in hand or at will call, or are on a pass list, will not be permitted to enter the lots.
Lots typically open two hours earlier. Hard Rock Stadium explained the time change by saying preparation for the storm and a Dolphins game the next day created “unique logistical challenges.”