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Clinic Talk: Breaking down 5 major plays in FSU/Miami history

The X’s and O’s of a rivalry filled with hall of fame and pro bowl players

Miami Legendary QB, Ken Dorsey

In the history of the Miami Hurricanes vs Florida State Seminoles football rivalry, the ‘Canes lead 31-29 overall on the backs of some amazing, if not seemingly impossible, circumstances. Three wide right kicks, a wide left kick, a blocked punt, a batted down two point conversion, and some memorable offensive plays from future Miami, NCAA, and NFL Hall of Fame legends.

Dorsey to Shockey (2000)

I don’t think anyone that reads SOTU gets tired of this play. Dorsey to Shockey marked “the comeback” of Miami into being a national title contender again after years of playing remember when. A 13 yard touchdown pass with :46 seconds left on the clock made these two ‘Canes household names. Shockey was described as a JUCO transfer back-up that kept demanding the ball. Dorsey the ever-calm Clark Kent of the brash Hurricanes.

The play is a nice 3 verts call that spread the FSU defense while Santana Moss ran another underneath route across the field. With Moss coming alive in the 4th quarter, he drew double-team attention allowing Shockey to run free up the seam against a dropping linebacker.

Michael Barrow TKO’s Tamarick Vanover (1992)

The story was Vanover snubbed Miami at the last minute to sign with the ‘Noles and Mike Barrow didn’t appreciate that very much. Barrow finished 3-0 vs FSU as a full time starter and 3-1 overall (1989’s games without Erickson at QB and a freshman Gino Torretta in a little over his head). Tone setting hits can change the course of a game and Miami won this won on Wide Right II 19-16. So what was the play? Barrow at one point said he had seen that middle screen so many times on film that he just knew it was coming. It’s an easy play to defend when you can feel it but if you can’t screens can go for big yardage (see: Moss, Sinorice in 2004 FSU/Miami). His form on the tackle is pretty stellar as well, he hits him square, throws double uppercuts, and throws his hips.

Ed Reed is “Hurt Dawg” (2001)

There isn’t much scheme to this and Don Soldinger will even tell you Miami’s kicking game was pretty basic back in this era- use the talent to make things happen. Miami sends the left side and the greatest Hurricane that ever lived, Ed Reed, blocks the punt and Fitzgerald scores putting the ‘Canes up early. Reed’s technique is picture perfect you come in like an airplane and block the kick 4 yards in front with hands in a triangle and your body parallel to the line of scrimmage. The Hurricanes had a 21-13 lead at the half and then the speech happened. Reed demanded the team dominate and they did on the way to a 49-27 victory.

Bubba McDowell saves the day (1987)

One of my all-time favorite ‘Canes and Oilers Bubba McDowell uses perfect Defensive Back technique here to bat down the 2 point conversion attempt. Bobby Bowden was never short on guts as Header of the ‘Noles. Bowden would go for two and the win only to come up short against Miami, something he did so often in the 80’s and early 90’s era of this heated rivalry. McDowell flips his hips and pulls the ball down at its peak, textbook DB play.

Horace Copeland and ESPN Classic (1991)

I think my brother and I watched this game on ESPN Classic in the late 90’s once a week until Miami upset FSU in 2000 and that became our newest re-watch obsession. It’s 4th and 6 in the biggest rivalry with the most national title implication of the era. Just think- from 1985-1994 this game either determined who became the national champ or featured the team that played for the title or damn close (1988 and 1990 being the outliers). What does Dennis Erickson dial up? What looks like three deep curls with nice spacing and a max protect from the TE and RB to give Gino time.

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