The Hurricanes came into tonight’s match-up undefeated, and the higher ranked of the two teams.
But UM hadn’t beat FSU since 2009, and hadn’t one at home Vs the Seminoles since 2004.
That awful streak continued tonight as Miami failed in a miserably heart breaking 20-19 loss against Florida State.
This game lacked early rhythm, with the two seems seemingly feeling each other out.
UM’s stifling D was clearly the best unit on the field in the 1st half.
Miami got a huge early stop on 4th down deep in ‘Canes territory when Demetrius Jackson batted down Deondre Francois attempt in the flat, to snuff out a promising Seminoles drive.
But the ‘Canes offense was not sharp to start, and produced three and outs on the their first two series.
But on their third drive, UM finally got something going, and opened the scoring with a 39 yard FG by Michael Badgley for a 3-0 lead.
And that was where things were after 15 minutes. The ‘Canes have still not yielded a point this season in the opening quarter.
A huge hit by Kendrick Norton knocked Francois from the game just before the quarter ended to further punctuate the aggressive nature of UM front.
FSU finally found something, and looked to be ready to equalize things or possibly take the lead following a 54 yard run by Dalvin Cook, but Francois’ back up Sean Maguire promptly tossed the ball right to Jaquan Johnson for a key INT.
UM would capitalize on the following drive, aided by a great play call on a screen to Mark Walton, and a third down and 19 TD pass to Stacy Coley from 21 yards out from Brad Kaaya (after a long review to determine if he got a foot down) for a 10-0 lead.
Following another nice stop by the D, and set up by freshman Ahmmon Richards’ long catch and run, Badgley nailed a 51 yard boot to increase the lead to 13-0.
Francois returned though, and directed a nice 2 minute drive that concluded with a Ricky Aguayo FG to cut the lead to 10 just before the half.
In the opening 2 quarters, the yardage was about even, but Miami made the key plays when they needed to head to the locker room up 13-3.
The second half was a mess though.
UM forced a three and out on FSU’s opening possession, and Seminoles LB Matthew Thomas (remember him) was called for targeting (and ejected) following a huge hit on Kaaya that could have led to another score, except Kaaya made an awful throw in the back of the end zone to Richards that was intercepted by Tavarus McFadden.
Kaaya lost a tooth on the play with Thomas by the way.
But the INT changed momentum in a big way.
On the Seminoles next possession, Cook was wide open off a wheel route for 59 yards later it was 13-10.
UM went three and out again, and the Noles wasted no time taking the lead with a nifty run and catch from Kermit Whitfield (no hold was called even though one was apparent). from 20 yards out.
17 unanswered points by FSU quieted the sell out crowd at Hard Rock Stadium.
Mark Walton answered with a sensational TD run, but a very iffy call on Tyree St. Louis wiped it out.
And after another Aguayo FG it was 20-13 with just 9 minutes to go.
The ‘Canes could not protect Kaaya well enough in the next few drives to even the score, and when they had another chance to stop FSU at the 5 minute mark, a questionable call for targeting against Jamal Carter kept their drive alive.
Miami fans responded by tossing everything they could on the field.
Yeah it was ugly.
UM got the stop though anyway, and a huge return by Braxton Berrios had them set up inside the FSU 20 with just over 3 minutes to go.
They had a shot.
And on 4th and 2 from the FSU 15 Kaaya delivered a strike to Coley in seemingly what was the equalizer.
But in the ultimate ironic twist of irony, the XP was blocked.
And that is just how things have gone for Miami against FSU over the past near decade.
This one will be painful for a while.