Not long after the Miami Hurricane rumbled down the field for a 35-yard fumble return in a key victory over Virginia Tech, RJ McIntosh walked off the field at Hard Rock Stadium and reached for his cell phone.
Not unexpectedly, there were a series of text messages from his brothers, Deon and Kenny, two running backs who had plenty to say about their older brother – a mountain of a 6-foot-4, 293-pound defensive tackle – being unable to score Miami's first defensive touchdown of the year.
Since Saturday's game, the frequency of those messages has intensified. Deon – a running back at Notre Dame – has been flooding his older brother's phone with good-natured taunting about the game their two teams will play as a nation of college football fans watches on Saturday night.
"He tries to get in my head," RJ McIntosh smiled. "But it's going to be fun."
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To most, the game between No. 7 Miami and No. 3 Notre Dame is the renewal of a rivalry that helped define college football in the 1980s. Others see it as a matchup between two surging modern-day programs looking to keep their national championship hopes alive.
But for the McIntosh family of Fort Lauderdale, it's all of that and more.
For them, the game is something personal, something to celebrate. Saturday will mark the first time RJ and Deon, just a year apart, will line up against each other after years of playing together at the youth-league level, then later at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale.
What it won't be, even with the brotherly teasing and with dad Richard admitting he is a life-long Hurricanes fan, is anything that will divide the big, close-knit family that has spent years cheering for both RJ and Deon.
"At the end of the day, we're a home that is not divided," said Kyria McIntosh, RJ and Deon's mother. "We're going to love each other and love on each other. I'd say let the best man win, but they're two great programs and two great kids. I'm going to be bawling, tears running down my face."
For Miami, it will be the second consecutive year a Hurricane will face his brother on the field. Last year, when the Hurricanes hosted Florida Atlantic, Miami running back Travis Homer saw his brother, Tevin on the other side.
And like the Homers, the McIntoshes are expecting plenty of family and friends to join them in the stands. There will be a huge pre-game tailgate, where Kyria McIntosh plans to decorate one table with Miami's orange and green and another with Notre Dame's blue and gold. The family has even ordered custom-made T-shirts that will bear both schools' colors and both brothers' names, Kyria McIntosh laughs they won't be the most fashionably attired family at Hard Rock Stadium, considering the unlikely color combinations everyone will be wearing.
"It's going to be exciting," said RJ McIntosh, who also played basketball at Gibbons and sometimes struggled to stay on the football field as a youth-league player because he was so much bigger than other children his age. "Everybody's going to be happy, no matter who wins. They're all just rooting for us to have great games and I'm looking forward to that."
Added Richard McIntosh, the boys' father, "It's six siblings and all of them are excited and happy for them. Me and my wife are excited. We're so grateful God has opened doors for both of them, to go out there and do something like this and to play in this game. They're living their dreams."
The McIntosh family won't be the only loud group cheering for the two boys in the stands. At Cardinal Gibbons, where both brothers often come to visit during their offseasons, administrators, teachers and former coaches are planning to be at Hard Rock Stadium as well. And with some of the Gibbons contingent graduating from Notre Dame and others from Miami, athletic director Mike Morrill said there's been plenty of back-and-forth on campus this week, too.
And at both the McIntosh home and Cardinal Gibbons, there is a question that looms large.
Will RJ, widely regarded as one of the most talented defensive linemen in the Atlantic Coast Conference and a potential NFL draft pick, be forced to tackle Deon, a speedy running back that has emerged for the Irish this season?
It's possible, considering RJ is among Miami's leading defenders with 32 tackles, and Deon is Notre Dame's third-leading rusher with 367 yards and five touchdowns.
The brothers understand they each have a job to do and doing those well will help their respective teams earn a much-needed win. But that hasn't stopped Kyria from jokingly urging the bigger RJ not to hurt his brother.
"That's the drama," Richard McIntosh said.
Added RJ: "If I have to take him down, I'll take him down. Even knowing it's my blood brother on the other side, if the time comes, well, the time comes. I may help him up. I don't know. But I'm definitely going to tackle him."