Old is new: Miami, Notre Dame renew rivalry with playoff implications on the road


The query, innocuous because it was, stopped Kc McDermott chilly.

Sure, Miami and Notre Dame had performed one another final season, however earlier than that, the 2 applications had spotty historical past over the course of the final 20 years. The Irish hadn’t performed a sport towards the Hurricanes in Miami since 1989 — effectively earlier than he and his Miami teammates had been even born.

So was it actually truthful to contemplate Saturday’s matchup between No. three Notre Dame and No. 7 Miami a rivalry sport? A sport with nationwide championship implications, sure. But a rivalry sport?

“It’s absolutely a rivalry. It’s Miami-Notre Dame, dude, they made a “30 for 30” about this,” McDermott stated, nearly in disbelief. “This is a rivalry – no question about it – and we are going to be ready for it. It’s the same question as if someone said we are going to play Florida this week. It’s still a rivalry, there are no changes.”

Receiver Braxton Berrios didn’t mince phrases both when offered with the identical question. And like McDermott, he referenced ESPN’s documentary, “Catholics vs. Convicts” which chronicled the 1988 matchup between the 2 then-powers. That sport, which Notre Dame gained 31-30, captured America’s consideration, and there’s little doubt this most up-to-date installment within the sequence has the potential to do the identical.

The stage is actually set for it, the day set to start with ESPN broadcasting its venerable “College GameDay” preview present from Miami’s campus for the primary time Saturday morning. Later, the sport itself is ready for an eight p.m. kickoff on ABC from what is anticipated to be a sold-out Hard Rock Stadium.

The buzz each on Miami’s campus and in South Florida as a complete has been laborious to overlook, the Hurricanes say, and they’re relishing the chance to indicate how a lot this system has modified in its two seasons beneath coach Mark Richt.

“There’s a buzz, there’s an excitement around Miami football again that we haven’t seen in a while,” stated Berrios, the Hurricanes main receiver with 36 catches for 474 yards and 7 touchdowns. “It means a ton. Miami might not be exactly where we want it to be yet, but we’re on that path. Especially as seniors who’ve been here and been through a lot of these things. It feels great to start this path, and start this tradition, and lay this foundation for all the generations to come.”

The Hurricanes enter the sport having come off their most spectacular victory of the season, a 28-10 win over Virginia Tech that helped them soar three spots within the College Football Playoff rankings. They’ve gained 13 straight relationship again to final season, their final loss coming final October in South Bend to those very Irish.

And whereas a few of their wins have been nail-biters, their protection has emerged as the most effective within the nation, holding opponents to a median of four.four yards per play. Preseason questions on Malik Rosier have been answered, the quarterback pbading for two,273 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Notre Dame, in the meantime, has rebounded after a Sept. 9 loss to top-ranked Georgia and has gained seven straight. The Irish enter the matchup because the No. three crew within the CFP rankings, they usually’ve dominated in these victories, beating these seven opponents by a median of 25 factors. Running again Josh Adams, who has seven landing runs of at the very least 60 yards this season, has emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate.

And there’s little query the crew that walks off the sector with a win will stay within the hunt for a nationwide championship.

That’s heady stuff for 2 former powers working to regain their type.

“We like it when we’re competing in games like this, late in the year, that are that meaningful,” stated Richt, a former Miami quarterback who as soon as confronted the Irish himself. “It’s what you hope for, it’s what you work towards. It just so happens this Saturday night is going to be very meaningful to both teams.”

Added linebacker Shaquille Quarterman: “We all know that we can’t lose to [Notre Dame]. Last year happened, and we didn’t come out with the results we wanted, but this year we can’t lose to them. It’s just the standard that was set before us.”

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[email protected]; On Twitter @ChristyChirinos.

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