CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The history between Miami and Notre Dame might be a little foggy to current players on both teams because none of them were alive during the rivalry's heyday.
But it is completely clear what is at stake when the two teams play on Saturday night, their first meeting in Miami since 1989.
"We all know that we can't lose to them," Miami linebacker Shaq Quarterman said after practice Tuesday. "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."
Miami and Notre Dame did resume their rivalry last season in South Bend, Indiana, when the Irish won 30-27. But it did not have the same vibe as the matchup this year, because neither team was nationally relevant. At the time they played, Miami was 4-3 and Notre Dame was 2-5.
Miami (8-0) has not lost a game since then and goes into Saturday's game with the nation's longest winning streak at 13 games. No. 3 Notre Dame, meanwhile, has only one loss on the season. Both teams need a win to keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive.
Miami coach Mark Richt played against Notre Dame when he was a quarterback at Miami in the early 1980s -- the start of what would grow into a heated rivalry that turned nasty at times.
Asked whether college football was better when Miami and Notre Dame were elite competitors, Richt said with a laugh, "It is for us. We like it when we're competing in games like this, late in the year, that are that meaningful. It's what you hope for, it's what you work toward. It just so happens this Saturday night is going to be very meaningful to both teams."
Miami is expecting a raucous crowd on Saturday night -- even louder than last week's near-sellout against Virginia Tech. The game is sold out, except for club level seats, and the cheapest tickets are going for over $200 on the resale market.
"It's going to be unbelievable," offensive lineman KC McDermott said. "The way the fans showed up this past week, we are very excited about that. That's something that, I don't think people understand, that gets us juiced. I have chills right now, just thinking about that crowd last Saturday. I can't wait to see what it's going to be like this Saturday. You know, when we drive over that overpass to come to Hurricane Walk and see how many cars are there, we were rocking the bus on the overpass. We need our fans there. That's something that gets us juiced and ready to go."