Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher has yet to lose to Miami in seven games, but no one has to remind him that the last three contests in the series have been decided by a combined 10 points.

Those close encounters are what Fisher says he’ll focus on as he talks about the instate football rivalry with his players heading into Saturday afternoon’s game. Last year FSU prevailed 20-19, blocking a UM extra point with a little over a minute remaining.

“You talk about past games and experiences we’ve had with them and how hard-fought all those games were and the things that we’ve had, but at the same time you’ve got to go out and play this game here,” said Fisher on the ACC teleconference this week. “I wish it could help. I wish we could carry all that over, but sometimes that’s a lot harder to do. We’re going to have to go play.”

Miami coach Mark Richt, a former FSU offensive coordinator under Bobby Bowden, believes every year is a chance to reset a rivalry. That said, he wants Saturday to be the day the Hurricanes (3-0, 1-0 ACC) get back on top in the series, which Miami leads 31-30.

“We obviously had not beaten Florida State in a long, long time,” said Richt. “I’ve been here a year of it, and our players have been here, one, two, or three years of it, so it’s time to make this a true rivalry again.”

It’s been an unusual season for both programs with Hurricane season resulting in a two-week break for both, including postposing this matchup for three weeks. Miami and FSU (1-2, 1-1 ACC) were originally each scheduled to be off Saturday.

Another unusual aspect of this season’s game is that both Miami and FSU will be starting first-year quarterbacks.

UM’s Malik Rosier has passed for nearly 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns with three interceptions. The redshirt junior leads the ACC in passing efficiency.

Meanwhile, FSU freshman James Blackman has had his struggles with six touchdown passes and seven interceptions while passing for 399 yards.

With FSU finally getting its first win of the season last Saturday at Wake Forest, Fisher would rather have his players focusing on the positives. In his opinion, that won’t happen if they spend too much time on Twitter.

“I don’t read social media. It’s poison. It’s toxic,” said Fisher. “I just tell the guys to ignore (the criticism). Because when we’re great, we’re the greatest thing in the world. Truth always lies somewhere in between.”

It’s why Fisher has had a social media ban for his players since the 2013 national championship season, although he knows it’s tough to monitor it.

Richt has similar feelings about the knee-jerk reactions that social media spreads. But win or lose Saturday, he feels good about the direction his program is headed.

“There’s a lot of great things that are happening, brand new indoor facilities coming and we’re playing in one of the most beautiful stadiums in America and we’re in a tremendously fertile of recruiting area,” said Richt. “I’ve got great staff and great kids here. We’re fired up and we’re excited about what’s going to happen here.”

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

All times Central

N.C. State 39, Louisville 25, Thursday night

Wake Forest at Clemson, Saturday 11 a.m. CT,  ESPN2

Duke at Virginia, Saturday 11:20 p.m., ACC Network

Pittsburgh at Syracuse, Saturday 11:30 p.m., ACC Network

Miami at Florida State, Saturday 2:30 p.m., ESPN

Notre Dame at North Carolina, Saturday 2:30 p.m., ABC

Virginia Tech at Boston College, Saturday 6:15 p.m., ESPN2

FAB FIVE

  1. Clemson (5-0, 3-0):Last Week – W, at Virginia Tech, 31-17. The Impact – No. 2-ranked Tigers have now beaten three Top 25 teams in first five games of season. Kelly Bryant passed for 186 yards and rushed for 94 more against Hokies.
  2. Miami (3-0, 1-0):Last Week – W, at Duke, 31-6. The Impact – Running back Mark Walton, who is averaging 113.5 yards per game, has been nursing a gimpy ankle which limited him to 51 yards on 17 carries against Duke. Showdown with FSU has finally arrived after storm delays.
  3. Louisville (4-2, 1-2):Last Week – W, Murray State, 55-10. This Week – L, N.C. State, 39-25. The Impact –. After Thursday’s loss to N.C. State, Cardinals are now 0-7 in road games when both teams are ranked. Heisman winner Lamar Jackson threw a Pick-6 in final three minutes to help Wolfpack seal the win over Louisville.
  4. Virginia Tech (4-1, 0-1): Last Week – L, Clemson, 31-17. The Impact –It took Greg Stroman’s 43-yard punt return to the 2 to finally get Hokies within range of end zone after falling behind 24-3. It obviously was too little too late.
  5. N.C. State (4-1, 2-0):Last Week – W, Syracuse, 33-24. This Week – W, Louisville, 39-25. The Impact – Wolfpack have bounced back from season-opening loss to South Carolina by winning five in a row, including knocking off Florida State and now Louisville, for the program’s best ACC start in more than a decade.

THE PACK

6. Georgia Tech (3-1, 2-0):Last Week – W, North Carolina, 33-7. The Impact – Ball-hogging Yellow Jackets had near perfect game against UNC, controlling ball for 38 minutes, producing 17- and 18-play scoring drives and rushing for 403 yards. They now have extra week to prepare for tough closing stretch.

7. Florida State (1-2, 1-1):Last Week – W, at Wake Forest, 26-19. The Impact – Freshman QB James Blackman pulled off late-game heroics with TD pass in final minute, which should boost his confidence entering Saturday’s showdown with rival Miami.

8. Wake Forest (4-1, 1-1):Last Week – L, Florida State, 26-19. The Impact – Demon Deacons squandered chance to improve to 5-0 and now appear doomed to two-game losing skid with trip to Clemson this week.

9. Duke (4-1, 1-1):Last Week – L, Miami, 31-6. The Impact: Duke had nearly 350 yards of offense, but failed to convert on 14 of 19 third-down conversions at home against Miami. Not a good sign heading to Charlottesville, where Cavs are even stingier on third down.

10. Virginia (3-1, 0-0):Last Week – Idle. The Impact: Cavaliers are off to their best start since 2007, but Saturday will begin eight straight weeks of conference games. Free safety Quin Bradley leads all FBS players with 401 career tackles and is fourth all-time in Cavs’ history.

11. Syracuse (2-3, 0-1):Last Week – L, at N.C. State, 33-25. The Impact – QB Eric Dungey had 429 yards of total offense, but for second straight week Syracuse lost a game when teams combined for at least 58 points.

THE UNPROVEN

12. Pittsburgh (2-3, 0-1): Last Week – W, Rice, 42-10. The Impact – Max Browne celebrated his return as starting QB with four touchdown passes, including 48 and 55 yarders  in opening nine minutes.

13. Boston College (2-3, 0-2): Last Week – W, Central Michigan, 28-8. The Impact – Eagles got a brief reprieve with win over Central Michigan to end three-game skid. But Steve Addazio’s seat is only going to get hotter with BC entering the next five games as an underdog.

14. North Carolina (1-4, 0-3):Last Week – L, at Georgia Tech, 33-7. The Impact – Banged up Tar Heels already have lost 13 players to season-ending injuries, including receivers Austin Proehl and Rontavius Groves, tight end Carl Tucker and defensive tackle Tyler Powell.

BEARD’S PICKS

N.C. STATE 39, Louisville 25

Wake Forest at CLEMSON

Duke at VIRGINIA

Pittsburgh at SYRACUSE

MIAMI at Florida State

NOTRE DAME at North Carolina

VIRGINIA TECH at Boston College

Last Week: 8-0

Overall: 45-7

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