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Biggest Heartbreakers Throughout The Miami-FSU Series

When the stakes and heat (no pun intended) are high, someone will win and someone will lose— and get their hearts broken.

Xavire Beita #47
Five FSU missed field goal attempts helped send the Canes to victory

Miami and Florida State make up one of the nation’s most exciting and relevant rivalries in the nation. With traditional college football tradition added to a unique Sunshine State swagger— this matchup has given both sides plenty to both celebrate and cringe over.

When games have both postseason ramifications and bragging rights on the line, emotions are sure to ride high. Heartbreak is an emotion that both sides have had to swallow over the course of this series going back decades.

1987: #3 Canes Stop #4 Noles at Goal Line

Miami was just one year removed from their devastating loss to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl. So the Canes had their eyes on redemption in ‘87, but so did Florida State.

The Seminoles took a 19-3 second half lead before the Hurricanes stormed back to go ahead 26-19. FSU came back and scored but had a big decision to make: kick an extra point and settle for the tie (no OT at that time) or go for two and the win. Just as Nebraska did in ‘83-84 and Miami did at Notre Dame in ‘88, the Noles took the aggressive route but saw their gamble fail as Miami returned from Tallahassee with a 26-25 win.

1987 Miami Season: 12-0, National Champions

1987 FSU Season: 11-1, #2 in the country

1989: #9 FSU Spoils #2 Miami’s Unbeaten Season

Craig Erickson was hurt, forcing true freshman Gino Toretta to step up off the bench. Toretta would win a national title and a Heisman as a starter just a few short years later, but road environments for new starters aren’t friendly, and Miami suffered their only loss of their national title season— 24-10.

1989 Miami Season: 11-1, National Champions

1989 FSU Season: 10-2, #2-3 in the country

Wide Right

In 1991, Gerry Thomas had a chance to win the game for his #1 ranked Seminoles over the #2 ranked Hurricanes. He missed the kick wide right and Miami won 17-16. Miami was on it’s way to its 3rd national title.

1991 Miami Season: 12-0, National Champions

1991 FSU Season: 11-2, #4 in the country

Dan Mowrey had a chance to give his #3 team redemption in the Orange Bowl Stadium the very next year, but missed to the right again as the #2 Canes celebrated a 19-16 win. The missed kick possibly costed FSU a national title.

1992 Miami Season: 11-1, #3 in the country

1992 FSU Season: 11-1, #2 in the country

In 2000, FSU was riding high off a 17-game winning streak and was defending a national title. Miami was trying to become elite again after a few rough, scandal-plagued years in the late 90s. The #1 Noles sent out Matt Munyon to send the game with the #7 Canes to OT, but he too missed and Miami wouldn’t lose again for another two-plus years.

2000 Miami Season: 11-1, #2 in the country, Sugar Bowl Champions

2000 FSU Season: 11-2, #4/5 in the country

Looking to end #9 FSU’s bad luck on kicks and send shockwaves throughout college football by knocking off the defending national champions and #1 team in the nation, Xavier Beitia may have overcompensated the natural rightward drift that past critical attempts took and missed left this time.

2002 Miami Season: 12-1, #2 in the country

2002 FSU Season: 9-5, #21/23 in the country, ACC Champions

While Beitia’s miss to the right in the 4th Quarter of the 2003-04 Discover Orange Bowl did not appear to immediately cost the #9 Noles the game against the #10 Canes, the last five minutes of the contest did not see any additional scoring, as Miami would hold on, 16-14, behind a successful fake punt attempt.

2003 Miami Season: 11-2, #5 in the country, Big East and Orange Bowl Champions

2003 FSU Season: 10-3, #10-11 in the country, ACC Champions

The Muff

Florida State was not the only side to suffer from kicking mishaps. In 2005, #9 Miami was looking to extend their winning streak over #14 FSU to seven. With just over two minutes left, the Canes trailed 10-7 at Doak as holder Brian Monroe muffed the hold on a potentially game tying field goal. The Noles ran out the clock to get their first win in the series since 1999, and Miami missed out on a chance to go to the first ACC Championship game.

2005 Miami Season: 9-3, #17-18 in the country

2005 FSU Season: 8-5, #23 in the country, ACC Champions

Golden Opportunities Wasted

Miami v Florida State
Al Golden went 0-5 against FSU
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

From 2011-2015, the Seminoles began to rack up win after win against Miami under Al Golden, where FSU’s win streak in the series went up from one to six. While the fact that many of these games were close showed that UM had the pure talent to belong on the same field as FSU, it only added to the annual pain and agony that called for Golden’s firing even more.

In 2013, both teams met ranked in the top ten (#3 for FSU and #7 for Miami), but in front of a national audience, the Canes fall apart in the second half en route to a 41-14 loss. Afterward, the two programs respective season’s went in polar opposite directions.

2013 Miami Season: 9-4, Unranked

2013 FSU Season: 14-0, ACC and National Champions

The Hurricanes showed heart at home the next season, going up 23-7 early on the #2 ranked Noles. The lead wouldn’t hold, however, with Florida State storming back to win 30-26.

2014 Miami Season: 6-7, Unranked

2014 FSU Season: 13-1, #5-6 in the country, ACC Champions

Back in Leon County the next year, Miami came back from 17-3 down to take a 24-23 lead in the fourth quarter on the #12 Seminoles. But for the sixth consecutive year, it wasn’t enough to win the game. Dalvin Cook ran for 222 yards and the Canes would get their hearts broken again by the Noles.

2015 Miami Season: 8-5, Unranked

2015 FSU Season: 10-3, #14 in the country

And while not under the direction of Al Golden, the 2016 Block at the Rock was the heartbreaker of all heartbreakers in this rivalry’s recent memory. An undefeated start for the Hurricanes quickly evaporated into a four-game losing streak, while FSU closed extremely strong on their way to a major bowl win.

2016 Miami Season: 9-4, #20/23 in the country

2016 FSU Season: 10-3, #8 in the country, Orange Bowl Champions

Rally at Tally

With just twelve seconds left, Coach Mark Richt sent his offense out for one last shot at the end zone before settling for a field goal and overtime. Malik Rosier’s 23-yard pass to Darrell Langham will forever live in Canes immortality as Miami defeated the Florida State Seminoles for the first time since 2009.

This was the last play of the 1:18 drive that went 75 yards as the Hurricanes left the state capital’s home fans in a stunned silence that will be remembered for years to come.