The 'Canes played with tremendous heart, but could not sustain it for four quarters.
Stephen Morris surprised everyone shaking off a bad ankle sprain to get the start. Miami's opening possession ended when Morris came up a few yards short on a scramble, but it showed Morris' ankle was good to go. On FSU's opening play Miami made a huge play when Denzel Perryman nailed TE Nick O'Leary to force a fumble. Miami quickly capitalized when Mike James scampered in from 9 yards out and a 7-0 lead! Miami forced a three and out on Florida State's next possession, and got the ball on the Seminole 34 following a horrendous punt. UM moved the ball inside Florida State's 5 but had to settle for a 19 yard Jake Wieclaw FG and a quick 10-0 lead. FSU then began moving the ball but a mishandled reverse and some good hustle by Anthony Chickillo gave Miami its' second fumble recovery of the quarter. Stephen Morris, unfortunately, gave it right back when Christian Jones picked up a fumble on an ill advised scramble attempt. The Hurricanes defense held tight, and forced a FG by Dustin Hopkins from 33 to cut the lead to 7.
Miami was forced to punt to start the 2nd quarter and a 37 yard completion to Chris Thompson got the Seminoles moving. Thompson was forced to leave the game on the play however with a knee injury. His replacement James Wilder Jr. keyed the drive and took it the distance from 17 yards on a perfectly blocked play to equalize things. Miami responded by moving the ball well featuring short passes to Mike James and Duke Johnson, but Morris was picked by Tyler Hunter inside the 20 to thwart the drive. The 'Canes D did not budge on the next possession, and keyed by a sack on a corner blitz by Brandon McGee, kept it tight. Just before the half FSU tacked on a 46 yard FG by Hopkins. In a hard fought, sometimes sloppy, first half filled with crunching hits,FSU led 13-10 at intermission. The Seminoles committed 9 1st half penalties.
Miami started the second half with on sides kick attempt, but it squirted out of bounds. The defense made the gamble by Coach Al Golden a non factor by forcing a long FG attempt that Hopkins missed. Morris looked gimpy, and Miami did nothing on their first possession of the half. The defense began to bend, but not break. Aided by FSU's third offensive pass interference of the game, UM held FSU to a FG and the lead was extended to 16-10. Miami's defense continued to play well and the teams traded punts. Late in the third quarter, aided by more inexplicable penalties on the Seminoles, Miami finally moved the ball. Miami even broke out the old QB throwback play on a 6 yard completion from Phillip Dorsett to the banged up Morris. The 'Canes did not punch it in but did cut the lead to 3 on a 26 yard kick by Wieclaw.
The 4th quarter started with FSU getting the ball deep in Miami territory on 39 yard completion to Kelvin "PUSH OFF" Benjamin. 3 plays later Devonta Freeman plunged through the worn out defense and FSU took a 23-13 lead. Miami started to appear gassed on both sides of the ball. Morris and the O continued to misfire. The D that had played with so much fire all night ran out of answers. FSU tacked on a FG for a 26-13 lead and the rest was really academic.
Miami hosts Virginia Tech a week from Thursday 11/1 at 7:30 pm at Sun Life Stadium.
The odds-makers had FSU as 17.5 point favorites.
With FSU driving in the 1st quarter and on the verge of converting a 3rd and 3 a fan ran on the field. The refs determined it had no impact on the play.
Freshman (not named Duke Johnson) Notes:
DE Tyriq McCord had a big sack in the 3rd quarter.
LB Gabe Terry made a nice tackle on the kickoff team.
WR Robert Lockhart continued to see snaps on offense.
S Deon Bush had a few huge hits, some nice plays in coverage, and continues to play very well.
In addition to his ankle, Stephen Morris worked through a right hip injury, but remained in the game.
Duke Johnson limped off the field in the 3rd quarter.
Brandon McGee seemed to cramp up in the 4th.