Miami-Florida State 2017: Hurricanes hoping to ‘kick their behinds’ in Tallahassee

Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman RJ McIntosh (80), defensive lineman Joe Jackson (99) and linebacker Zach McCloud (53) celebrate a sack of Toledo Rockets quarterback Logan Woodside (11) at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on September 23, 2017. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

[Commentary: Miami culture is one for fun]

[UM has a storied, spotty history in Tallahassee]

[Miami fast forgetting Rosier is a first-year starting QB]

[Miami-Florida State week is here: ‘It’s overdue’]

[UM ranked 13th, FSU unranked | UM 3-pt. favorite]

Offensive linemen are large men who essentially fight other large men for a living, so it’s hardly a surprise Kc McDermott has a bit of an edge to him. The 6-foot-7, 300-pound left tackle is typically friendly.  But that edge showed a bit Tuesday.

It is Florida State week, after all.

“My brother was here for five years and didn’t win,” he said, cracking his knuckles and offering one explanation of why this week matters a little bit more.

Forget all the platitudes teams shower on that week’s opponent. Every offseason, the Hurricanes think most about one team.They hear most about one team. Once the schedule comes out, they look for one game first. That game, moved to this week because of Hurricane Irma, is 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Tallahassee (ESPN).

“This is probably the best rivalry in college football,” said McDermott, a senior left tackle. “The tradition behind it, the history with it, the countless All-Americans and first-round draft picks — this is a huge game. You always want to be one of the guys who’s playing in it.”

He has known only losses, as goes for every Hurricane who joined the team after 2009.

Miami is always confident — regardless of the state of its program — entering FSU week. This year, ranked 13th with a 3-0 record (1-0 ACC) and playing well, the Hurricanes have good reason to expect success. And with a true freshman [James Blackman] playing quarterback for the first time since 1985, and an offensive line that surrendered 17 tackles for loss and five sacks last week at Wake Forest, the Seminoles may appear ripe for the picking.

Those who have lived this rivalry up close won’t say that.

“FSU is never a down team,” said McDermott, a Wellington native whose brother, Shane, played at UM from 2010-14. “They may have a bad game here and there. They may have some unfortunate issues that arise. But they’re always going to come out, especially against us, and play tough and give us their very best.”

McDermott was complimentary of the locals up north. “They have a special stadium up there, a special fanbase,” he said.  “They’re going to do what they do. They’ll be loud and rowdy. It’s eye-opening when you first see it. Once you get used to it and focus on the game, you’ll be fine.”

Receiver Lawrence Cager, who played in the 2015 game as a freshman, recalled an “amazing atmosphere” at Doak Campbell Stadium.

“Feels like whenever they make a play, the ground’s like, shaking,” said Cager, a redshirt sophomore from Baltimore. “They told me there would be a lot of chops but I didn’t know there was going to be that many.”

Defensive end Joe Jackson, a sophomore from Homestead making his first trip to Tallahassee as a player, expects to see about 80,000 arms chopping as 80,000 voices perform that droning war chant. He expects to not “be able to hear anything.”

He also expects to win.

“We don’t underestimate any opponent,” he said.  “It’s still FSU to us. It’s still a game we haven’t won in [seven] years. Our mentality is to kick their behinds.”

Jackson said he’s heard about FSU “from day one, once you get here,” and from “everybody.”

“We’re trying to stop that streak,” he said. “That victory’s going to be so much better when we stop that streak.”

Reader Comments 0

0 comments