It had been a long and painful stretch in Coral Gables. Florida State had beaten the Canes five years in a row and came into the 2000 season as the defending national champions. Miami had shown signs of life of a revival in 1998-1999, and it had a team loaded with talent across the field.
But everything stood still with 5 seconds left to play on October 7, 2000 in the Orange Bowl. The scoreboard read Miami 27, Florida State 24. Fans jumped up and down on the orange-painted benches in the Orange Bowl, urging one last big play from its special teams to end the misery.
Lining up from 49 yards out, the ball was snapped, planted down, and FSU kicker Matt Munyon swung his leg.
As the kick sailed wide of the upright, coaches, players, and even a few fans flooded onto the field, celebrating beneath the scoreboard that flashed what the fans had witnessed over the previous 3-plus hours of exasperating play in yet another classic matchup in the Miami-FSU series: Wide Right III.
Joining Dan Mowrey and Gerry Thomas in the directionally-challenged Tallahassee kicking club would be Munyon, who earlier had duck-hooked a chip shot field goal. His effort at the gun had the distance, but again, not the accuracy.
Through the first three-plus quarters, it appeared that Miami wouldn’t need the good fortune of Bobby Bowden’s never-ending misfortune to strike thrice. Miami took a 17-0 lead into the halftime locker room, thanks in large part to a Dan Morgan interception of Chris Weinke at the goalline shortly before the half.
But, with FSU on the comeback trail, Miami opened the door for the Noles. Najeh Davenport, who scored the game’s first touchdown, took a Dorsey pass and burst upfield with less than 2:30 remaining. Cane fans’ hoots and cheers turned into a collective facepalm, as Davenport fumbled the fall away at the Miami 47 yard line.
Moments later, it seemed as though Weinke had done it. 496 yards passing, topped off by a 29-yard completion to Atrews Bell for the game-winning score with merely 1:37 remaining in the game had lifted FSU to a 24-20 lead and a stirring comeback. It appeared the Noles were about to beat the Canes for the 5th straight time and remain undefeated since a loss to Tennessee in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl.
Ken Dorsey had other plans.
With 1:32 on the clock and 68 yards to go, the sophomore signal caller stepped onto the field and got the Canes moving. He found Santana Moss across the field for 13 yards. A Reggie Wayne diving grab put Miami inside the FSU 35 yard line. Moss snared a ball and weaved his way through defenders to put the Canes in first-and-goal. After a false start, Dorsey found Shockey matched up on a linebacker for the game winning score. Miami needed only 46 seconds - half the time on the clock when they started the drive.
The win vaulted Miami back among college football’s elite. They would go undefeated the rest of the season, pounding Michael Vick’s Hokies in the Orange Bowl later in the year 41-21. However, it wouldn’t be enough to put the Canes in the BCS championship game in Miami against undefeated Oklahoma. That honor would go to FSU over Miami and Washington - who handed the Canes their only loss of the season - 34-29 in Seattle in the second week of the season.
While Oklahoma shut down the Noles 13-2 and culminated a perfect season, Miami put away the Gators in the Sugar Bowl 37-20. The Hurricane defense pounded Rex Grossman, who completed only 18 of 41 passes for 252 yards.
UM finished as state champs and ranked second in the final poll, led by seniors Dan Morgan, Damione Lewis, Reggie Wayne, and Santana Moss. Accordingly, the 2000 season, highlighted by wins over rivals FSU, Virginia Tech, and Florida, ranks up with the championship seasons in the minds of many UM fans.