No. 23 Florida State's DeMarcus Walker blocked an extra point in the game's final minutes to preserve a 20-19 Seminoles victory over No. 10 Miami on Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium. It was the seventh straight time Florida State has defeated Miami.
Miami looked destined to tie the game after quarterback Brad Kaaya hit wide receiver Stacy Coley for a second touchdown connection to bring the Hurricanes within one before kicker Michael Badgley, who had hit 72 straight extra points, saw his last attempt redirected wide left.
The Hurricanes' Twitter account couldn't believe it:
Fox Sports' Dieter Kurtenbach was in denial:
Freshman quarterback Deondre Francois showed supreme toughness, leaving the game twice due to injury, but he managed to come back and record 255 total yards and a pair of passing touchdowns.
On the ground, Dalvin Cook, who torched Miami for 222 yards in their last meeting, put up 150 yards on 27 carries.
Heading into Saturday night, though, it looked like there was a shift in power in this rivalry.
Even though Florida State had won the last six meetings, a 3-2 Seminoles team had allowed 45 points per game in its last three while slumping down to the No. 23 ranking.
Miami, on the other hand, was looking for its best start since 2013 after beginning 4-0 and rising to the No. 10 spot in the nation.
For such a fierce rivalry, the teams didn't wait too long to start chirping at each other, per Corey Clark of the Tallahassee Democrat:
SportsRants.com's Anthony DiMoro was expecting war:
It was defense that stood out at first. After Florida State forced a Miami three-and-out, the Hurricanes quelled a Seminoles drive that worked its way down to the Miami 34-yard-line. Instead of attempting a field goal, Florida State went for it and failed when Francois' pass was batted down at the line by Demetrius Jackson.
Dave George of the Palm Beach Post tried to figure out why Florida State went for it:
Miami's offense wasn't proving much better with a second straight three-and-out, much to the chagrin of Politico.com's Marc Caputo:
Caputo's wish was granted when the Hurricanes upped the tempo on their next drive, but after eight plays and 39 yards, things stalled, resulting in a Badgley 37-yard field goal with 1:16 left to give Miami the lead.
But it didn't panic former 'Nole and Tampa Bay Buccaneer Derrick Brooks, who took time to throw shade at former Hurricane and Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis:
FSU, though, had to turn to backup quarterback Sean Maguire after Francois was thrown down to the ground hard at the end of the first quarter, forcing him to leave the game with a shoulder issue. Maguire, though, wouldn't keep Brooks' promise as the Seminoles came up empty.
College GameDay's Chris Fallica was enjoying what he saw from Miami's defense:
Cook, who was held to 21 yards on six carries in the first quarter, finally ignited in the second quarter, reeling off a 54-yard run to put the Seminoles deep into Hurricanes territory, which was a welcome sight for Tim Linafelt of Seminoles.com:
Two plays later, though, Cook's No. 4 counterpart, Jaquan Johnson, picked off Maguire at the 13-yard line as Miami's defense came up huge once again, per CBS Miami's J.T. Wilcox:
Finally, Miami took advantage and put the game's first touchdown on the board. On a 3rd-and-19 from FSU's 21, Kaaya hit Coley with a back-shoulder fade to help put the Hurricanes up 10-0.
The play was originally ruled incomplete, but Coley caught the ball while his left foot was down in the end zone before going out of bounds.
ESPN College Football couldn't believe he got one foot in with 5:40 left in the half:
Francois returned after getting his shoulder evaluated, but his deficit became 13-0 when Badgley thumped a 51-yard field goal with 1:16 left.
Under the two-minute offense, Florida State went 62 yards to set up a successful Ricky Aguayo field goal from 31 yards out.
Ira Schoffel of Warchant.com was trying to find the positives despite heading into the locker room at halftime down 10:
Miami had an opportunity to put the game away early in the third, though. After a Florida State punt, the Hurricanes drove down to the Seminoles 18-yard-line, but Tarvarus McFadden picked off Kaaya in the end zone.
It was his fourth pick of the season and Florida State's seventh of the year. It had eight all of last season.
The Seminoles made the most of the turnover when Francois hit Cook for a 59-yard score with 8:06 left in the third. Rolling to his right, Francois pulled up and threw across the field to the wide-open running back 20 yards away. However, Francois was hit hard and stayed down momentarily before leaving the field and going back to the medical tent once again.
Black Sports Online had trouble coming to terms with how Miami could leave Florida State's most dangerous playmaker so open:
After forcing another Miami punt, Florida State took a 17-13 with 3:32 left in the third when Francois hit Kermit Whitfield for a 20-yard score.
Antwan V. Staley of Athlon Sports took a moment to remind fans that Florida State is still a big-time program:
As the pressure began to ramp up, it reminded former Atlanta Braves superstar Chipper Jones of simpler times:
A 32-yard field goal from Aguayo put Florida State up 10 with 9:02 left in the fourth quarter to increase its run to 20-0, much to the delight of Kevin McGuire of NBC Sports:
Florida State would force a third consecutive punt from Miami with 5:55 left in the game by sacking Kaaya twice. Brian London of 790 The Ticket made it a point to note that Kaaya wasn't getting any help:
Miami looked like it forced a quick three-and-out after giving Florida State the ball back. But on an incomplete pass on a 3rd-and-10, Jamal Carter was flagged for targeting on Whitfield, giving FSU a new set of downs.
Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee did not agree with the call:
Neither did CBS' Matthew Coca:
Miami fans didn't react well as they threw debris onto the field, causing a delay that could have taken the Hurricanes defense out of their groove.
A multitude of personalities shared the same thought process:
ESPN's Andrea Adelson snapped a photo of what the field looked like as the clean-up commenced:
After the delay, Miami's defense came up large once again though, stuffing Florida State and forcing it to punt with 3:32 left.
The Seminoles made a mistake in punting it to Braxton Berrios, who returned it 43 yards to the FSU 16-yard line.
It came down to a 4th-and-5 from FSU's 11-yard line, where Kaaya dropped a dime right into the arms of Coley to bring Miami within one with 1:38 left in the game, setting up Walker's heroics for Florida State.
Miami lost its opportunity to move into first place in the ACC Coastal Division with a win.
It will next face a North Carolina team that was dominated by No. 25 Virginia Tech, 34-3, despite beating Florida State two weeks ago.
The Seminoles keep their slim playoff hopes alive with the big win and will next meet Wake Forest with a chance to build some momentum for an Oct. 29 matchup against No. 3 Clemson.
The win wasn't the only thing Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher was celebrating after Saturday night's game, per Safid Deen of the Orlando Sentinel:
Even though he got the win, Fisher made sure to point out that he's not content, per Adelson: "We're a work in progress, but the heart and soul is there."
However, Fisher's defense performed much better than it had compared to its prior three games. Still he wasn't willing that all of their problems were solved, per Deen:
His demeanor was obviously far more upbeat compared to that of Miami's head coach Mark Richt, who wanted to get to overtime, per Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post:
He also confirmed he had the same reaction to many Hurricanes supporters when it came to Carter's penalty, per Christy Chirinos of the Sun Sentinel:
Yet he still managed to find some positives after a heartbreaking loss, per 7 Sports Xtra:
Moral victories won't go that far if Miami can't beat North Carolina next week. Another loss will strike a huge blow to its divisional hopes and would all but eliminate any thoughts of making the playoff.