A game that was nationally televised tonight as part of college football's Labor Day weekend kickoff pitted the Miami Hurricanes and the 18th ranked Florida State Seminoles, two ACC teams that in the past have dramatically decided spots in too many national title games to count, and have also had their share of dramatic finishes in a rivalry that dates back to the 1950's.
The Seminoles were coming off of a 2008 campaign which their record ended with a tally of 9-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACC Atlantic Division. While the Hurricanes were coming off of a solid 2008 campaign which they rebounded from a dismal 2007 campaign with a record of 7-6 overall and 4-4 in the ACC Coastal Division and they were in the running for the division title until some late season stumbles but the young 'Canes knew that the foundation for success in 2009 had been set.
This game was no different then games past. Led by QB Jacory Harris who had showed promise after the transfer of 2008 starter Robert Marve and after calmly evading the withering pressure of Florida State's blitzing defense, went 21/34 for 386 yards with two passing TD's and one rushing TD and also by WR Travis Benjamin who had four receptions for 128 yards, had a huge key 40 yard reception along the left sideline, and with the addition of the Hurricanes' defense stopping Florida State's final desperation drive enabled Miami to end Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden's 14-0 home season opener undefeated streak.
Florida State, led by QB Christian Ponder ,who one year ago threw for 159 yards and ran for an additional 144 against the Hurricanes in FSU's 41-39 win at Dolphin Stadium, went 24-41 for 294 yards with two passing TD's and one rushing TD in a losing effort, almost pulled off a miraculous upset. Ponder effortlessly led the Florida State offense up and down the field with a balanced attack against a usually stingy Hurricanes' defense which yielded 404 yards of offense, which included two long kickoff returns by CB Greg Reid who was responsible for drilling Miami's Jacory Harris which caused an ugly interception in the fourth quarter which was returned for a touchdown.
This game was one of the best in the rivalry. It reminded the nation that the ACC as a conference could actually play decent football after this weekend, which saw Duke and Virginia lose to FCS (Football Championship Series) schools Richmond and William and Mary, and also enabled both Miami and Florida State to start the season with plenty of things to work on, but also alot to be happy about.