Going head-to-head with an in-state rival

There will be drama.

This will be a heavyweight fight.

One team will be walking off the field with bragging rights come Saturday night.

There will be no sweet love for the No. 13 Miami Hurricanes (3-1, 1-0) nor the No. 23 Florida State Seminoles (4-1, 2-0) as this is one of the fiercest and greatest rivalries in all of college football.

The teams will square off for their 55th meeting at 8 p.m. at Sun Life Stadium.

“You throw everything out the window,” said Shannon, who is 2-1 against the Seminoles as a head coach. “It’s a respect factor. We respect them, they respect us, and we play that way.”

Dating back to 1983, Miami and Florida State combined have more national titles than any other rivalry in the country. There is no love lost between these two teams as Miami has crushed Florida State’s national championship aspiration five times since 1987 and holds the all-time series record at 31-23.

Last year’s game was an instant ESPN classic as the Hurricanes topped the Seminoles, 38-34. The game received a 5.9 Nielsen rating, which made it the second-most watched regular season college football game in the history of ESPN, trailing the 2006 Miami and Florida State battle.

It was junior quarterback Jacory Harris’ true coming out party. Harris completed 21-of-34 passes for two touchdowns and his 386 passing yards are the most all-time by a Miami player against Florida State.

Harris lead the Canes to 21 fourth-quarter points including the game-winning drive with 1:53 remaining. The Hurricanes’ defense had to stop the Noles five consecutive times within their own five-yard line. Miami was a Florida State dropped end zone pass away from losing the game.

“As a defense, we held up,” said senior linebacker Colin McCarthy, referring to last year’s goal line stand. “The Miami and Florida State rivalry has always been full of great games. Ever since I have been here, it has come down to the last drive. It is always fun and it’s always physical.”

The last time the Seminoles played down at Sun Life Stadium, Florida State held off Miami, 41-39, in a rain-soaked game.

Legendary head coach Bobby Bowden was on the sideline then, now he’ll be watching from his couch as he enjoys retirement. Bowden is the face of Florida State and coached there for 34 years and has the second-most wins in Division 1-A of all-time. Jimbo Fisher is now the head coach.

The Hurricanes are eager to line up and hit the garnet and gold no matter who their coach is.

“It’s a rivalry. You see these guys every year,” senior tackle Orlando Franklin said. “It’s a lot of trashing talking going on so everybody is pretty excited to get out there.”

The Hurricanes defense created havoc last week against Clemson producing six turnovers. The Canes want to be prepared for Florida State as well.

“We are not sleeping on this Florida State offense at all,” junior cornerback Brandon Harris said. “Every time I have played them they have given our defense trouble. It’s one of those games we are focused on and we know the tradition of the game.”

On the offensive end, redshirt freshman Lamar Miller has a shoulder injury so look for sophomore Mike James and true freshman Storm Johnson to get some carries.

Besides senior captain Leonard Hankerson making plays for Harris, the Hurricanes need another weapon receiving wise. Despite struggling this season, junior wide receiver Travis Benjamin, who has been dubbed the Seminole killer by his teams, has 414 all-purpose yards in two games against the Noles.

“Everybody around here, that’s just one game we have to win, Florida State,”  Benjamin said. “Everyone is hyped up. Anytime you go against a rival you just have to come out with a win, find a way to win.”

Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at lledoux@themiamihurricane.com.