The 2001 Hurricanes had played teams like Rutgers, Troy, and other programs through the first four weeks of the season that hadn’t really challenged them. In week five, that challenge finally came, a road matchup in Tallahassee against their most bitter rivals, the Florida State Seminoles.
Coached by the legendary Bobby Bowden, FSU welcomed the visiting Hurricanes to Doak Campbell Stadium, where they had gone unbeaten in 54 straight games. The Seminoles entered the afternoon ranked #13 in the country, as they were blown out by the Tar Heels two games prior. Now, they were going up against the top-ranked Canes, and they’d also be without star receiver Anquan Boldin.
Still, it was a rivalry, anything could happen. It was the game of the day in college football, and Brad Nessler along with the crew at ABC were there to call it, along with the second-largest crowd ever at Doak Campbell Stadium.
FSU started with the football to begin the game, led by freshman quarterback Chris Rix. With quick feet, Rix had been known as someone who could scramble, and he did on the first drive for a first down, but that’s all the Seminoles got before punting it away.
After a Hurricanes punt pinned FSU inside their own 10-yard line, Rix and his offense could do little against the fast Miami defense. When the Noles went to punt again, All-American safety Ed Reed came through and blocked it, which then Miami defensive back Markese Fitzgerald scooped it up for the touchdown.
Rix would go on to make several mistakes this game, but the first came on the next drive for FSU. Rix tried to make something out of a broken play, but wound up being sacked by William Joseph and coughing up the ball, which UM linebacker Chris Campbell recovered.
The very next play, as Miami’s offense set up shop, Ken Dorsey went for the home run and hit Andre Johnson in stride in the back of the end zone for the touchdown.
First play after the fumble, Dorsey with a perfect touchdown pass to Andre Johnson. Miami up 14-0 in Tally pic.twitter.com/jSPn3zGffO— Mamba Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) April 3, 2020
Just like that, in a matter of minutes, Miami was up 14-0. The first quarter moved along, and Rix continued to struggle. Early in the second quarter, Rix was picked off by Reed, who was just getting started on the day.
Ed Reed picks off Chris Rix early in the 2nd Q. Reed’s 3rd pick of the 2001 season pic.twitter.com/e633y1cwtj— Mamba Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) April 3, 2020
Beginning their own drive, Miami went for the home run again on the next play, as Dorsey and Johnson connected all the way down to the one-yard line. Three failed attempts for the Canes made it 4th-and-goal, but Dorsey was able to find a wide open Jeremy Shockey for the touchdown, and Miami was 21-0.
Though, FSU was down, but not out. Somehow, someway, Rix and the Seminoles drove downfield, which included a big pick up on 3rd down to receiver Javon Walker. Greg Jones got FSU on the scoreboard with a touchdown run, and all of a sudden it was 21-6.
The Noles defense stuffed Miami’s ground game, and got the ball back late in the second quarter. Talman Gardner hauled in a pass from Rix, and several Canes penalties helped put FSU in scoring range again. With less than ten seconds to go before half, William McCray dove over the top and in for a Seminoles touchdown.
It was 21-13 at halftime. Miami could’ve blown this team out, but found themselves now in a dogfight. That’s when Ed Reed made his iconic speech in the locker room.
It was at this point, where Ed Reed talks to his team at halftime. IM HURT DAWG pic.twitter.com/vklwwkQhqS— Mamba Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) April 3, 2020
Fired up by Reed’s speech, Ken Dorsey and the Hurricanes offense drove down the field on the first possession of the second half. Dorsey was masterful for Miami on this day, and especially this drive, and finished it off by connecting once again with Andre Johnson for a touchdown, this one from 18 yards out. Miami was up now 28-13.
Looking to answer the Canes, Chris Rix and the Seminoles went to work. Like they did so many times in 2001, the Miami defense came up with a big play. Jonathan Vilma scooped up a fumble after Rix was sacked, and returned it all the way for a touchdown.
Desperately trying to stay in the game, the Noles came up with a big play of their own. Talman Gardner took in a pass from Rix, and outran the Miami secondary on his way for a 57-yard touchdown. Up 35-20, the Hurricanes needed a score to quiet the now raucous Tallahassee crowd.
Dorsey was cool and collective against the Seminoles defense, finding Daryl Jones on a 3rd-and-6, and also got some help by Ethenic Sands, who made an incredible catch in double coverage.
Ethenic Sands pulls down a great catch in double coverage. An underrated part of the 2001 Miami team pic.twitter.com/Sa3Nvpy60M— Mamba Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) April 3, 2020
Looking to add on three points by a Todd Sievers field goal, holder and punter Freddie Capshaw had other plans. A bad snap and incoming FSU players, Capshaw decided to pick up the ball himself, and he did so, running it for the unlikely touchdown. Miami now led 42-20, and looked for the knockout punch.
Field goal is almost blocked, but Freddie Capshaw pulls it up and scores the touchdown for the Hurricanes! One of the wild plays from 2001 pic.twitter.com/Vtxwvp9xPM— Mamba Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) April 3, 2020
That knockout punch came just moments after Capshaw’s score. Phillip Buchanon intercepted Rix on the first play for FSU on the next drive, and was then followed by a rushing touchdown from Willis McGahee.
Perhaps their most impressive quarter of the season, Miami had scored four touchdowns in those 15 minutes, and had taken a once close game, and turned it into a laugher.
Buchanon and Reed both added one more interception each, and FSU had no shot at a comeback. Miami ran off the clock and came away with a 49-27 win.
In their first real test of the 2001 season, the Hurricanes had proven a point. Ken Dorsey threw for 249 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions, Andre Johnson had 5 receptions for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Clinton Portis rushed for 122 yards. Also, Miami’s defense had forced 6 turnovers.
This game however, would be remember mostly due to the performance by Ed Reed. Playing with a separated shoulder, Reed turned in an amazing afternoon, with two interceptions, a blocked punt and four pass-breakups.
Up next: home against West Virginia