CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — The last time North Carolina State and Miami met in football, gas was $1.82 a gallon and George W. Bush was still residing in the White House.
So a little bit has changed since.
It's a quirk of life in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Sometimes, conference rivals are more like strangers, which is the case when it comes to the Hurricanes (3-1, 2-0) and Wolfpack (3-1, 0-0) — whose game on Saturday in Miami will be the first meeting between the programs since November 29, 2008. Miami has played 26 other ACC games over that span, N.C. State has appeared in 24 league games since that date.
Just not against one another.
"It's my first time playing N.C. State," said Miami cornerback Brandon McGee — and he's a senior.
He's hardly alone.
Familiarity simply doesn't exist between the players in this game. There were 66 points scored and 830 yards gained the last time Miami and North Carolina State played, and none of the people responsible for those stats will be on the field at Sun Life Stadium this weekend.
"I don't even know if we've had anybody who's played them," Miami coach Al Golden said. "But I know (N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien), so I have an idea of what we're going to face."
According to the player participation charts the schools posted after their 2008 meeting, only two players who were on the field that day will likely play in Saturday's matchup. Miami receiver Davon Johnson recorded one tackle in that game after the Hurricanes threw an interception; N.C. State linebacker Sterling Lucas was involved in two tackles that day, both of them against former Miami running back Javarris James.
Everyone else? Gone.
Russell Wilson was the Wolfpack quarterback that day; he threw the hotly debated touchdown pass on the final play to give Seattle a win over Green Bay on Monday night. Miami used two quarterbacks in that game, Jacory Harris having now graduated and Robert Marve since transferring to Purdue. Nate Irving led everyone with 11 tackles in the 2008 game; he's now playing for the Denver Broncos.
"It seems kind of funny we only play them every four years, but I'm very excited," N.C. State safety Brandan Bishop said. "When I came on my official visit, we played them right around Thanksgiving when I was a senior (in high school), so I'm definitely excited to get down there and play them."
Continue reading this story on the...