Miami loses early lead, game to No. 12 FSU 33-20

Up by 10 points, against a heavily favored rival, the biggest

home crowd of the season squealing with delight.

The first few minutes couldn’t have gone much better for Miami.

And the rest of the game served as a reminder that the Hurricanes

still have plenty of work to do.

EJ Manuel threw for 229 yards, Devonta Freeman ran for a pair of

fourth-quarter touchdowns and No. 12 Florida State overcame a shaky

start to beat Miami 33-20 on Saturday night, the Seminoles’ third

straight win in the series.

”Give Florida State a lot of credit,” Miami coach Al Golden

said. ”They’re a very good team. They’re a very good team right

now and they’re deep and that’s OK. That’s OK. We know what we need

to do. They’re ahead of us right now. We need to buckle down and

get better, develop our current team and need to add to it.”

The Hurricanes were up 10-0 midway through the first quarter –

before Florida State scored 33 of the next 36 points. The Seminoles

outgained Miami 447-258 and held the Hurricanes to 29 yards rushing

on 21 attempts (and no rushing first downs). Duke Johnson, who left

in the second half with an undisclosed injury that Golden said

needed X-rays, had 27 yards on nine carries, and Mike James had 25

yards on seven attempts.

James also had a 9-yard touchdown run for Miami, which got a

late score when Stephen Morris connected with Rashawn Scott from 8

yards out.

”How we came out today, we’ve got to keep bringing that every

single week from now on,” Miami defensive lineman Tyriq McCord

said. ”We’re a championship team and we’ve got to play at a

championship level.”

The Hurricanes (4-4, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) aren’t a

championship team yet – but still could be this season. They’re off

until hosting Virginia Tech on Nov. 1 and can capture the Coastal

Division by winning out in league play.

The win put the Seminoles a half-game ahead of Clemson in the

ACC’s Atlantic Division, which has four teams with one loss in

league play.

”We understand that we’re still in the fight for the Coastal,”

Morris said. ”Sometime down the road, we’ll see FSU again.”

Morris, playing a week after spraining his left ankle, started

and threw for 223 yards and a late touchdown for Miami, which has

lost three straight.

”I was ready on Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday, Saturday,

Sunday,” Morris said. ”It meant everything to me.”

Manuel completed 21 of 31 passes for Florida State (7-1, 4-1

ACC), which won despite 12 penalties and five fumbles, two of them

lost. Dustin Hopkins kicked four field goals and James Wilder added

a touchdown run.

”Anytime you can come to Miami and beat Miami, that’s a good

day,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. ”I don’t care what

you say.”

The first half had a little of everything: Nine Florida State

penalties, four Seminoles fumbles, two departures by the entire

Miami roster for halftime before time actually expired, two coaches

livid with officiating decisions made in the final 9 seconds alone,

and one fan running onto the field during a play.

It all added up to Florida State 13, Miami 10 at the break.

Florida State tight end Nick O’Leary fumbled the ball away on

the Seminoles’ first play from scrimmage, losing control as he

leapfrogged Brandon McGee and landed on the helmet of Miami

linebacker Denzel Perryman, who knocked the ball away. James ran in

from 9 yards out four plays later, and Miami struck first.

After Florida State shanked a punt 17 yards on its next

possession, Jake Wieclaw connected on a chip shot and the

Hurricanes had a 10-0 edge.

The Seminoles clawed back, taking a 13-10 lead at the break

despite two offensive pass-interference calls – there was a third

in the second half – and even after losing top rusher Chris

Thompson to a left knee injury. Wilder’s 17-yard touchdown run tied

the game at 10, and Hopkins hit a 46-yard field goal to end an

eventful flurry in the final seconds of the half.

Originally, after a Florida State penalty, officials ruled the

half over because the 10-second runoff would have erased the

remaining time, so Miami left the field. But Fisher used his last

timeout to nullify the runoff, giving Hopkins a chance to kick –

which counted, even though replays showed Golden clearly signaling

timeout to a linesman, who apparently didn’t notice. So the

Hurricanes left again, unaware 3 seconds remained.

”We got it straightened out. It’s amazing,” Fisher told ABC in

a televised halftime interview.

His team had the lead at the break despite nine penalties,

including two on kickoff returns and an offensive interference call

against Rodney Smith that nullified a 50-yard gain and left Fisher


”That interference on the offense on that big play right there,

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one like that for a guy not

extending his arms,” Fisher said. ”But that’s ball. We played a

sloppy half.”

And of course, there was a wide left – almost obligatory in a

Florida State-Miami game, though hardly as dramatic as miskicks

that doomed the Seminoles so many times before in this series.

Hopkins missed from 44 yards with 12:31 left in the third, as Miami

got away with giving Florida State a short field after an

unsuccessful onside kick opened the half.

Hopkins and Wieclaw traded field goals late in the third

quarter, after which FSU led 16-13. It didn’t stay close much