No. 12 Florida St. 33, Miami 20
For a half, Florida State did just about everything wrong and
still held the lead.
And when the Seminoles finally got clicking, they simply pulled
away from rival Miami.
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 over their archrival.
Manuel completed 21 of 31 passes for Florida State (7-1, 4-1
Atlantic Coast Conference), which won despite 12 penalties and five
fumbles, two of them lost. Dustin Hopkins kicked four field goals
for the Seminoles and James Wilder added a touchdown run for
Florida State, which scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth to
break open a three-point game.
”I didn’t think it would be decided in the last few minutes,
but it was an important game,” Manuel said. ”It’s always a huge
rivalry game, whether both of us are 1-9, it doesn’t matter.
Whenever you have Florida State and Miami squaring up against each
other it’s going to be a great game.”
Stephen Morris, playing a week after spraining his left ankle,
started and threw for 223 yards and a late touchdown for Miami
(4-4, 3-2), which has lost three straight but controls its Coastal
Mike James had a touchdown run for the Hurricanes, who lost
freshman Duke Johnson in the second half with an undisclosed
Miami finished with 29 yards rushing on 21 attempts.
”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.”
Freeman’s 3-yard run with 11:53 left helped seal the win for
Florida State, which was outgained 71-67 in the first quarter – but
finished with a 447-258 edge in yards.
Freeman’s touchdown runs were 3 and 5 yards, making the
homecoming sweet for the Miami native.
”It felt great, man,” Freeman said. ”There’s no feeling like
it – especially with a `W.”’
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
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.
By halftime, a slew of pregame activity seemed forgotten, such
as Miami announcing just before kickoff that Morris – listed as
doubtful on the final injury report – was starting at quarterback,
and Miami Heat stars Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Udonis Haslem and
Mario Chalmers hanging out on the sideline.
All that got overshadowed quickly, as the
three-touchdown-underdog Hurricanes ran out to a two-score
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. Mike James
ran in from 9 yards out four plays later, and Miami struck
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 Seminoles coach Jimbo
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
”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
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, sending the game into the final 15 minutes with the
Seminoles up 16-13.
It didn’t stay close much longer.
”Anytime you can come to Miami and beat Miami, that’s a good
day,” Fisher said. ”I don’t care what you say.”