TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Jimbo Fisher likes coaching in the big games. And he’s been at his best as a play-caller against Miami.
Fisher is 3-0 as Florida State’s head coach against Miami. Two of the three were double-digit wins, and the Seminoles have outscored the Hurricanes 101-56.
The showdown between No. 3 Florida State and No. 6 Miami on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Tallahassee will feature quarterback Jameis Winston and the Seminoles’ No. 3 scoring offense (52.6 points) against the Hurricanes’ No. 11 scoring defense (17.7 points).
“They are an extremely talented team led by an excellent quarterback,” Miami coach Al Golden said. “They are not beating themselves. They are explosive and they will make you pay for any mistake.”
While both teams have had close calls, neither has made a mistake yet. Florida State and Miami are 7-0 and it’s just the 12th time that two ACC teams have faced off when both were ranked in the top 10. Florida State, of course, routed Clemson 51-14 on Oct. 19 in a top-5 showdown.
This is the first time that Florida State and Miami are facing off as top-10 teams since meeting in the 2004 season opener and 13th time overall, including seven straight games from 1987-1993.
Both teams are a long way from restoring their programs to their dynasty levels. But Florida State vs. Miami has some serious juice again.
“Both teams being in the top 10, it’s like the old days,” Fisher said.
Fisher has fared very well against Miami, too. He has beaten the Hurricanes both on the ground and in the air the last three years.
In 2010, Fisher’s first game against Miami as head coach, Florida State ran for 298 yards and had four rushing touchdowns on 41 carries. Quarterback Christian Ponder threw for just 173 yards but had two touchdowns passing in a 45-17 win.
In 2011, EJ Manuel had 196 passing yards and a touchdown and led four other drives that ended in field goals. The Seminoles led 23-7 before holding off a late Miami charge to win 23-19.
Last season, Florida State ran for 218 yards and three touchdowns on 41 carries and Manuel threw for 229 yards as the Seminoles rebounded from a rocky start that saw them fall behind 10-0 to take a 33-20 win.
And while Florida State lost two games from 2007-09 while Fisher was the offensive coordinator, his teams scored 29, 41 and 34 points in those games. Over his six games against the Hurricanes, Fisher’s offenses have averaged 34.1 points, 192.8 rushing yards and 209.8 passing yards per game.
Winston gets his first taste of the rivalry as a player when the teams face off Saturday night in Tallahassee. Winston, who has thrown for 2,177 yards and 23 touchdowns in seven games, is looking forward to the challenge.
“We’re going to prepare the same and do everything the same,” Winston said. “But it’s a big rivalry game so they’re going to come with it and we’ve got to come with it, too.”