The Hurricanes traveled to Tallahassee looking to defeat the Florida State Seminoles for the third consecutive time for the first time since their six-game winning streak between 2000-2004.
The mission was accomplished behind a 313 yard, three touchdown passing performance by redshirt freshman quarterback Jarren Williams, who made his first start since the Virginia Tech game nearly a month ago. The defense also contributed with nine sacks, 16 tackles for loss and two interceptions in a 27-10 win.
Here’s how it happened:
The Hurricanes got off to another slow start. After quarterback Jarren Williams hit redshirt senior wide receiver K.J. Osborn for a first down on the first play of the game, the Miami offense got nowhere. The Hurricanes defense, with the help of an offensive holding call, reciprocated the Seminoles initial defensive stop.
On 3rd and 15, Florida State quarterback Alex Hornibrook nearly threw an interception to sophomore safety Gurvan Hall Jr. which forced a punt on their first drive.
When the Hurricanes got the ball back, it looked like the woes would continue. They were in another 3rd and 7, where they have ranked last in the country through eight weeks. Offensive coordinator Dan Enos called a screen to the running back Deejay Dallas, a play that has been so successful for the Hurricanes and it led to a 42-yard gain.
Two plays after, Williams hit Jeff Thomas, who missed the last two games due to suspension, for a 39-yard touchdown to give the Hurricanes an early 7-0 lead.
On the next drive, the Hurricanes pash rush came alive with sacks from Jonathan Garvin and Greg Rousseau from the interior defensive line which halted Florida States drive.
But the next time the Seminoles got the job, they chopped away at the field. Florida State offensive coordinator called a lot of pitch and catch plays, mixed in with a little improvisation by Hornibrook which resulted in a 17 play drive that Amari Carter put to an end with a sack on third down in the red zone, forcing Florida State to settle for a field goal to bring the score to 7-3 with just over ten minutes left in the second quarter.
But the offense couldn't seem to get it going. They fell to 1-4 on third down due to a drop by Osborn, who has dropped passes in two straight games, and a nearly detrimental decision by Williams that almost resulted in an interception by former Palm Beach Central star Akeem Dent, a one time Miami Hurricane commit.
After forcing a three and out, Osborn was hit early on the punt return which added 15-yards to the Hurricanes drive and they took over on their own 40.
But, again, third down was not kind to Miami. Williams fumbled the ball on the down and gave the Seminoles the ball back with good field position, but the Hurricanes defense responded with a big stop on 4th down that turned the ball over on downs.
Then, finally, the Miami offense got going with a 34-yard reception to Mike Harley, which put the Hurricanes at the 6-yard line. On the very next play Deejay Dallas punched it in for a score giving the Hurricanes a 14-3 lead with 3:58 left in the second quarter.
After another huge defensive stop, Miami got the ball back after a bad punt by Florida State that gave them solid field position. Williams hit Osborn for 19-yards and tight end Brevin Jordan for 13 on 4th and 10 to put the Hurricanes in the red zone. Williams missed an wide open Dee Wiggins on 2nd and 10 that would have put Miami inside the 5-yard line.
Instead, Williams forced a bad throw in Jeff Thomas’ direction, forcing him to commit an offensive pass interference to avoid FSU corner Asante Samuel Jr. from intercepting it. A 15-yard pass to Jordan on 3rd and 25 set up a 29-yard field goal by Camden Price to give Miami a 17-3 lead as time expired in the half.
The Hurricanes held the Seminoles to -5 rushing yards in the first half, despite Seminoles running back Cam Akers having over 900 yards on the year and averaging over five yards per carry coming into the game.
Miami also out-gained FSU 206-88 and held them to just three third down conversions and gathered four sacks and seven tackles for loss. Redshirt freshman had two of those sacks alone, bringing his sack total to 10 on season.
When Florida State came out with the ball after the half, Bubba Bolden quickly changed the game with an interception. Unfortunately, Gurvan Hall Jr. jumped up with Bolden after the play, causing Bolden to hurt his right ankle on the fall. He would be out for the remaineder of the game.
It was Bolden’s second straight game with a turnover.
On offense, there was a controversial play on fourth down that resulted in a turnover on downs for the Hurricanes. The referees allowed the Seminoles to substitute despite Miami not rotating any of their players and Williams count convert on the rush attempt.
Florida State responded with a 6 play 62-yard drive that was capped off with an 18-yard reception by Cam Akers that went for a touchdown.
The decision to go for it rather than forcing FSU to drive down the field with the way the defense was playing through a half of football proved costly for Manny Diaz and his team, who quickly found themselves in a 17-10 game with 10:31 left in the third.
Despite the clear momentum swing that the decision caused, Rousseau was single-handedly able to halt it with this third sack of the game, which was followed by an 11-yard punt giving the Hurricanes the ball on the 50.
Despite converting on a 3rd and 4, an unnecessary hold by RT DJ Scaife brought the ‘Canes back and the drive was done there.
Lou Hedley followed with his best punt of the day. The 54-yarder pinned the Florida State offense at their own 1 and the Hurricanes defense forced a quick three and out.
And if that wasn't enough, Osborn returned the punt 23-yards to the 28-yard line.
But the Hurricanes were faced with a 4th and 1 decision for the second time in the half, but this time it was on Florida State’s 20-yard line. The Hurricanes elected to try a 37-yard field goal attempt with Camden Price, who missed right.
An indescribable kicking situation for the Hurricanes makes yet another seemingly crucial mistake for the Hurricanes.
Despite stopping the Seminoles on 3rd and 8 on the following drive, a personal foul on Gurvan Hall Jr. while hitting the quarterback gave Florida State a first down. A very unfortunate play for the Miami defense that absolutely shut down the Seminoles on the drive.
But, the Miami defense didn't flinch. They responded with another quick stop and forced the Seminoles to punt, which Osborn returned 20-yards. It was nearly called back due to a flag that wound up being picked up by the officials.
And on the first play of the following drive, Williams found sophomore Dee Wiggins for a 56-yard touchdown that gave Miami a two touchdown lead as the fourth quarter got underway. It was the first touchdown of Wiggins’ college career.
Then Miami just turned it on. Nesta “Jade” Silvera sacked Hornibrook on the first play of the next drive and Greg Rousseau earned his fourth sack of the game on third down to force yet another punt by Florida State.
A 16-yard run by Deejay Dallas on 3rd and 12 led to a huge 26-yard reception by Jeff Thomas to put the Hurricanes deep in Florida State territory and eventually led to a 32-yard field goal by Camden Price to make it a three score game with 6:27 left in the fourth.
A Trevon Hill sack forced a 4th and 2 that which thrown up for grabs after senior Michael Pinckney delivered a blow to quarterback James Blackmon, who entered for Hornibrook late in the fourth, and the pass was intercepted by Gurvan Hall Jr. who returned it 26-yards. It virtually sealed the game for the Hurricanes.
Miami got the ball back and ended the game with a 4th and 1 conversion to Dallas.
The Miami defense allowed just one touchdown in the game and sacked Florida State nine times and collected 16 tackles for loss in a huge road victory. It was the largest margin of victory for the Hurricanes over the Seminoles since defeating them 49-27 during the ‘Canes 2001 National Championship year.