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The first-ever South
Independent Rugby Conference league game takes place Saturday, when Florida
State travels to Florida International. The Seminoles then play the
second-ever game on Sunday against Florida Atlantic.
FIU and Florida State met in the fall Florida Cup competition, with the Seminoles winning 47-29. However, the Panthers held a 29-27 halftime advantage.
“We were making mistakes, and FIU was good at capitalizing on that. They’re obviously a really athletic team,” said FSU coach Kirk Swanner. “They’re OK at scoring points, they scored 29, but we pulled away in the second half.”
Florida State did not reach the Florida Cup semifinals, because of a loss to SIRC foe Central Florida.
“We definitely did not end our Florida Cup campaign the way we’d like to, but that’s something you learn form, and luckily we get to play UCF two more times here in the spring,” Swanner said.
Florida State had a promising season cut short by controversy last spring. A self-reported eligibility infraction resulted in forfeits and knocked the ‘Noles out of postseason contention. The team responded with a couple of late season losses to end a disappointing spring.
But, confidence is high heading into a new year and a new competition.
“I’m sure every team is confident. I don’t want to say we’re going to go in there and win the whole thing. We’re just trying to focus on ourselves, one game at a time. I’m really trying to focus the guys inward, so they focus on their own play and they’re reaching their own potential,” said Swanner.
“When we play to our own potential, we’re pretty good…We’ve played really good against good competition, so when we want to play good we can. That’s what we’re trying to strive for.”
The Seminoles will be traveling with depth, allowing Swanner the luxury of potentially changing his lineup from Saturday to Sunday.