Florida State-Miami: Last 25 Years Of College Football's Greatest Rivalry
For the last 25 years, no rivalry in college football has put more players in the NFL, featured more matchups between ranked teams, had more national championship implications, saw more missed field goals, or seen so many games end on a final drive.
The Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles meet once a year, and apart from a few rare seasons, their matchup is the most anticipated game in all of college football.
This series has seen it all: wide right, wide left, botched snaps, hospitalized players, upsets, fights, tears, taunting and a whole lot of pregame smack talk. And each year, the winners run the table in the state of Florida's hot bed of recruits.
What's more, I can go to my grave happy, knowing I attended 17 of these colossal games.
Here's a look at each of the last 25 meetings between the two teams; games which have reshaped the face of NCAA football.
1987-88: The Rivalry Becomes Relevant
Michael Irvin runs for a 72-yard TD to seal a win for Miami in '87.
[Michael Irvin runs for a 72-yard TD to seal a win for Miami in '87.]
(3) Miami 26, (4) Florida State 25 October 3, 1987 / Tallahassee, FL
Despite a missed field goal and a missed PAT, the Seminoles led 19-3 late thanks to a dominating running attack (FSU outrushed Miami 225 yards to 52) and a big punt return by Deion Sanders.
Miami would fight back and eventually take the lead on a 72-yard TD catch by Michael Irvin with 2:22 remaining.
The Noles would get a TD with :42 left, but Bowden’s Noles went for two instead of the tie, and QB Danny McManus’ pass was knocked down in the end zone by Bubba McDowell.
(6) Miami 31, (1) Florida State 0 September 3, 1988 / Miami, FL
Miami dominated right from the opening kickoff, outgaining FSU 450 yards to 242 as the Canes defense completely shut down the Noles.
The Seminoles surrendered six turnovers on the day, including five interceptions.
The game marked the sixth straight season that UM had beaten the nation's preseason No. 1 team.
1989-90: The Road to a National Championship Goes Through Florida
Gino Torretta was harassed all day as the Noles pounded on the Canes in '89.
[Gino Torretta was harassed all day as the Noles pounded on the Canes in '89.]
(9) Florida State 24, (2) Miami 10 October 28, 1989 / Tallahassee, FL
The Hurricanes headed to Tallahassee as the No. 2 team in the country, and FSU was a mediocre 2-2.
Florida State would send its interstate rival home with a shocking defeat, opening the game with an interception, then a stunning 63-yard TD run by Dexter Carter.
FSU's win was its first since 1984 against Miami and would be the Canes' only loss in '89.
(9) Miami 31, (2) Florida State 22 October 6, 1990 / Miami, FL
In front of one of the largest crowds in Orange Bowl history, Miami would avenge its 1989 loss.
Miami jumped out to a 24-0 lead and never looked back. Both Steven McGuire and Leonard Conley rushed for 140 yards for the Canes.
1991: Wide Right I
Gerry Thomas walks off the field dejected after his missed FG. He dropped out of FSU at the end of the semester.
[Kicker Gerry Thomas walks off the field dejected after his missed FG. He dropped out of FSU at the end of the semester.]
(2) Miami 17, (1) Florida State 16 November 16, 1991 / Tallahassee, FL
The Hurricanes went into Doak Campbell Stadium and upset the top-ranked Seminoles with a big fourth-quarter surge.
Trailing 16-7 heading into the fourth quarter, Miami scored 10 unanswered points to take the lead.
But Florida State kicker Gerry Thomas—labeled a "key persona" by Keith Jackson for hitting three field goals in the game—missed a 34-yard field goal attempt that went wide to the right with under a minute left to play.
1992: Wide Right II
Marvin Jones introduces himself to a dizzy Miami ball carrier.
[Marvin Jones introduces himself to a dizzy Miami ball carrier.]
(2) Miami 19, (3) Florida State 16 October 3, 1992 / Miami, FL
It was the longest game in UM’s history (3:57).
Florida State opened with a bang when Tamarick Vanover took the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown, but the Noles wouldn’t find the end zone again.
After an illegal forward pass in the end zone late in the final quarter by FSU punt returner Corey Sawyer, Miami was awarded a safety.
FSU then marched 59 yards to set up Mowrey's 39-yard field goal attempt, which broke the hearts of many Seminoles fans as it sailed wide right. Florida State did not lose again, and finished the season ranked second.
1993: A Title Run in Tallahassee
Calm, Cool & Collected: Charlie Ward shows some rare emotion as time expires on the Canes in '93.
[Calm, Cool & Collected: Charlie Ward shows some rare emotion as time expires on the Canes in '93.]
(1) Florida State 28, (3) Miami 10 October 9, 1993 / Tallahassee, FL
Ending a string of Canes' victories over the nation's top teams, Florida State becomes the first No. 1 ranked team in the nation to beat Miami since 1979.
Florida State posted a 69-yard touchdown run, a 72-yard touchdown pass, and a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown to crush Miami. QB Frank Costa and the Hurricanes offense couldn't maintain any substantial drives against a swarming Seminole defense.
The Noles would go on to win their first National Championship that season, ironically enough, at the Orange Bowl in Miami.
1994-95: Former Champs Eliminate Each Other
Danny Kanell and Warrick Dunn celebrate after routing the Canes in '95.
[Danny Kanell and Warrick Dunn celebrate after routing the Canes in '95.]
(13) Miami 34, (3) Florida State 20 October 8, 1994 / Miami, FL
The Miami defense smothered the Noles as the Canes recaptured state bragging rights with an upset of FSU.
Miami forced five turnovers, including four interceptions, and held the Seminoles to only 47 yards on the ground.
UM's Carlos Jones intercepted Danny Kanell returned it for a touchdown late in the game: an INT Kanell would atone for in 1995.
(1) Florida State 41, Miami 17 October 7, 1995 / Tallahassee, FL
The Seminoles' high-powered offense was too much for the 'Canes as they racked up almost 500 yards as FSU pounded Miami.
Warrick Dunn ran for 184 yards and a TD and Danny Kanell threw three TD's as the Noles exploded in the second quarter for 17 unanswered points to all but put the game away.
1996-97: The UM Probation Years
The '97 shutout was the low point of the Hurricanes' storied football program.
[The '97 shutout was the low point of the Hurricanes' storied football program.]
(3) Florida State 34, (6) Miami 16 October 12, 1996 / Miami, FL
Miami fell to the upstart Seminoles at home for the first time since 1984.
FSU raced to a 17-0 lead on a Warrick Dunn 80-yard touchdown run. Miami would answer with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Clement to Yatil Green.
FSU would pull away in the second half to secure the victory.
(4) Florida State 47, Miami 0 October 4, 1997 / Tallahassee, FL
Buried in mediocrity from a multi-year NCAA sanction, Miami suffered its worst defeat since 1927.
Florida State annihilated the Canes from the start as the Noles piled up 422 yards, and the defense limited UM to 131 yards of total offense and -33 yards rushing.
1998-99: Bowden Preaches Perfection
Chris Weinke, Travis Minor and Tre Thomas closed out the decade with the NCAA's first and only wire-to-wire undefeated championship.
[Chris Weinke, Travis Minor and Tre Thomas closed out the decade with the NCAA's first and only wire-to-wire undefeated championship.]
(9) Florida State 26, Miami 14 October 10, 1998 / Miami, FL
Led by All-American performances by Chris Weinke and Peter Warrick, FSU won its fourth straight game against the Hurricanes and its second in a row in Miami.
Weinke threw for 316 yards and three TD's while Warrick caught seven passes for 190 yards.
Miami tried using two quarterbacks, but neither Kenny Kelly nor Scott Covington could move the chains.
Miami's last gasp would end with a Kelly fumble in the end zone and the Noles being awarded a safety.
(1) Florida State 31, (19) Miami 21 October 9, 1999 / Tallahassee, FL
Chris Weinke and the Noles shredded UM's highly touted secondary despite Peter Warrick and Laveraneus Coles being forced to sit out the game.
11 different players caught passes for FSU and Weinke threw for 332 yards and two TD's.
Santana Moss had given the Hurricanes a 21-14 lead in the second quarter, but in the second half it was all FSU. The Noles went on the win their second national championship.
2000-01: Wide Right III in 3D
Just when Noles fans thought it was safe to bring a tee out on the field, enter Matt Munyon.
[Just when Nole fans thought it was safe to bring a kicking tee out on the field, enter Matt Munyon.]
(7) Miami 27, (1) Florida State 24 October 7, 2000 / Miami, FL
With Miami trailed 24-20 and only 1:37 left in the game, Ken Dorsey led a 73-yard drive that ended with a Jeremy Shockey TD.
Florida State's 2000 Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke (29-of-58 for 496 yards, three TD's and two INT's) moved the Seminoles into field goal range, but Matt Munyon missed a 49-yard attempt as time expired.
The win ended Miami's five-game losing streak against the 'Noles. Three FSU receivers—Atrews Bell (146), Marvin Minnis (145) and Anquan Boldin (108)—surpassed the century mark in receiving yards on the day in the loss.
(1) Miami 49, (13) Florida State 27 October 13, 2001 / Tallahassee, FL
Much-maligned Florida State QB Chris Rix (now only a freshman) got to experience the Miami-Florida State rivalry in 3D.
Rix was sacked six times, threw four INT's, and lost two fumbles as the Seminoles lost their second straight to Miami.
The Hurricanes dominated from start to finish, scoring in all three phases of the game.
Ken Dorsey was stellar on offense, and Ed Reed (blocked punt) and Philip Buchanon (who each picked off two passes) led the defense and special teams.
2002-03: A Wide Left and a 2-For-1
Greg Jones runs over the entire Miami football team--one player at a time--in '02.
[Greg Jones runs over the entire Miami football team--one player at a time--in '02.]
(1) Miami 28, (9) Florida State 27 October 12, 2002 / Miami, FL
Florida State outplayed defending national champion Miami as Greg Jones ran for 189 yards and sent multiple Hurricane players staggering to the sideline for splints and smelling salts, while the Canes as a team rushed for only 113.
The Noles squandered a late 27-14 lead, though, and with a chance to win with :01 on the clock, FSU fans worldwide could feel it coming: kicker Xavier Beitia (2-for-2 on the day) lines up for the winning FG and pushes his kick wide...left?!
(2) Miami 22, (5) Florida State 14 October 11, 2003 / Tallahassee, FL
A torrential downpour—remnants of tropical storm Henri—made the game impossible to play, officiate, or watch... literally. The rains came down so hard that much of the game simply couldn’t be viewed on TV.
Most notable was a 15-minute delay while paramedics attended to Miami wide out Roscoe Parrish, who suffered college football’s hardest hit ever, and was rushed to the hospital with a punctured lung.
Chris Rix’s many early turnovers—a common Rix theme—helped Miami build a lead and maintain it.
(9) Miami 16, (8) Florida State 14 January 1, 2004 / 2004 Orange Bowl Game, Miami, FL
A rematch of the regular season game (won by Miami) took place in the 2004 Orange Bowl and was aptly named "Wide Right IV" even though there was no last-second FG attempted.
In this contest, Xavier Beitia missed a field goal—wide right—that could have given the Seminoles the lead with about 5 minutes remaining in the game.
It was the first and only bowl meeting between the rivals, and FSU got the unique opportunity to lose to the same team twice in one season.
2004-05: A Gorgeous Denouement
TheFSU Cowgirls singlehandedly brought FSU's football program back to life (in my opinion, anyway) in '05.
[The FSU Cowgirls singlehandedly brought FSU's football program back to life (in my opinion, anyway) in '05.]
(6) Miami 16, (5) Florida State 10 [OT] September 6, 2004 / Miami, FL
The game date was moved due to storm warnings in South Florida, and the Noles had to feel like even nature was out to get them. Leading nearly the whole game, the Noles would tire and surrender to the Canes.
Miami tied the game late in the fourth quarter, sending it into overtime—the first and only time this rivalry has seen extra time.
But it wouldn't last long. Chris Rix turned the ball over on FSU's first try, and Miami would score on first down leaving FSU wondering "WTF?!"
(14) Florida State 10, (9) Miami 7 September 5, 2005 / Tallahassee, FL
This Monday night Labor Day game launched the FSU Cowgirls into infamy.
FSU, having lost 6 straight to Miami, finally got revenge by registering nearly as many sacks (9) as they would points (10).
Miami would miss two field goals, then as time was running out, the Canes botched a late field goal trying to tie the game. The Florida State Seminoles finally gained some redemption for the past Wide Right heartbreaks, and ended their longest losing streak to Miami in the series' history.
Preston Parker wiggles away from UM defenders but not law enforcement in '07.
[Preston Parker wiggles away from UM defenders but not law enforcement in '07.]
(11) Florida State 13, (12) Miami 10 September 4, 2006 / Miami, FL
Scheduled as the last of the Labor Day matchups, the game featured a TD catch by FSU's De'Cody Fagg, and an electric performance by the Noles defense.
The big surprise? The sparse TV ratings. The FSU-Miami rivalry was starting to lose its luster. The Noles' first win in Miami against the Canes in eight years didn't resonate beyond the FSU faithful.
Miami 37, Florida State 29 October 20, 2007 / Tallahassee, FL
For the first time in nearly 40 years, The rivalry featured two unranked teams in 2007.
The teams lit up the scoreboard, though, especially Miami. FSU QB Xavier Lee had 4 turnovers as the Canes cruised.
FSU kicker Gary Cismesia went 5-for-5, but it wouldn’t matter.
2008: We Don't Need No Stinking Defense
The '08 matchup was like watching a pinball game as the ball moved up and down the field all day.
[The '08 matchup was like watching a pinball game as the ball moved up and down the field all day.]
Florida State 41, Miami 39 October 4, 2008 / Miami, FL
FSU jumped out to a 24-3 halftime lead, but the second half leaned heavily toward Miami, who scored 36 points in the final thirty minutes, due in large part to FSU's many miscues.
The Noles doubled the Canes in yardage (500 to 250) getting most of it on the ground (300+), but turnovers led to 29 Miami points, keeping the game close on the scoreboard.
The 2008 game brought the rivalry back to prime time with his high score, odd plays, and long TD's.
"This game comes down to blocking and tackling," two things Bowden's Noles couldn't do.
["This game comes down to blocking and tackling," two things Bowden's Noles couldn't do.]
Miami 38, (18) Florida State 34 September 7, 2009 / Tallahassee, FL
Another Labor Day showdown, the 2009 edition of the FSU-Miami rivalry didn't disappoint.
Trailing 34-31 late in a back and forth tug-o-war, Miami took a 38-34 lead after a 40-yard pass from Jacory Harris to Travis Benjamin and a TD run by Graig Cooper.
Florida State answered, driving down to the Miami 2-yard line, where the Hurricane defense made a tremendous goal-line stand for the ages.
The game ended when Christian Ponder's third-down pass fell short of Jarmon Fortson in the end zone with no time remaining.
Harris finished with 386 yards passing, setting a record for the most passing yards by a Miami quarterback against Florida State.