Fla. State holds on as Miami stumbles

Seminoles' 10-7 win ends six-game skid vs. rival

College Football

September 06, 2005|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - This time, it didn't come down to a missed field-goal attempt by Florida State but a botched field-goal attempt by Miami. This time, it didn't matter how many times the Seminoles seemed to let the Hurricanes off the hook.

"I've never complained or griped about a win. I'd rather win ugly than lose pretty," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said.

It didn't matter to most in the record crowd of 84,347 that crammed into steamy Doak Campbell Stadium last night because Florida State won, 10-7, ending a six-game losing streak to its in-state rival.

It didn't matter to the Seminoles that no points were scored in the second half, or that neither freshman quarterback, Drew Weatherford or Xavier Lee, showed much more than a case of nerves.

"That's all that matters, winning and losing, no matter how it might have looked," said Weatherford, who was 7-for-24 for 67 yards with an interception.

The victory certainly gave 14th-ranked Florida State (1-0) the early edge in the Atlantic Coast Conference, at least over ninth-ranked Miami (0-1). It also gave the Seminoles and their fans a feeling they hadn't had since 1999.

"We've been through it many times. It's the first time that it's happened to them. I know exactly how it feels," Bowden said.

While the offense didn't contribute much, the defense silenced the Hurricanes by sacking sophomore quarterback Kyle Wright nine times - believed to be the most in Miami history.

Trailing 10-7 at the end of the third quarter - the same as at halftime - the Hurricanes mounted their most impressive and most pivotal drive with a little over 12 minutes left in the game.

It began at the Miami 3, started with a 1-yard loss and included a 12-yard sack of Wright, the eighth of the game by the Seminoles. But it included three key third-down conversions, the first of the game after 11 failed tries.

All three came on passes to sophomore tight end Greg Olsen, who after the third conversion landed him at the Florida State 14. After a false start pushed the Hurricanes back to the 19, Wright hit Ryan Moore for a 17-yard gain.

But Wright got sacked again for a 6-yard loss to the 8, and Miami wound up having to settle for a 28-yarder by Jon Peattie. Having missed two earlier field goals, Peattie didn't even get a chance, as holder Brian Monroe fumbled the snap with 2:16 left.

"I thought we had a better team, but you have to play better," Miami coach Larry Coker said.

After watching a few opportunities to pull away in the first half go awry, the Seminoles saw another chance disappear early in the second half. A blocked punt deep in Miami territory gave Florida State possession at the 1-yard line, but three straight running plays resulted in 1-yard losses on each.

To make matters worse, the Seminoles were called for a false start on what was supposed to be a 21-yard field goal attempt by sophomore Gary Cismesia. A 26-yard try by Cismesia was hooked badly to the left, bringing back nightmares of wide lefts and wide rights in past defeats to the Hurricanes.

Neither team could get much going offensively.

Taking advantage of another strong defensive stand deep in Florida State territory and taking possession at the Seminoles' 40, Wright scrambled for a 6-yard gain but then was sacked on successive plays for a combined loss of 13, forcing the Hurricanes to punt.

Wright was sacked two more times on Miami's next possession. So confused was Wright at times that Coker used all three of his team's timeouts in the first 6:15 of the third quarter. Florida State wasn't much better, with Bowden calling two timeouts in the third.

The Seminoles appeared to get the first break of the game when Devin Hester, the Hurricane's dangerous return man, mishandled a bouncing punt and Fred Rouse, a freshman wideout playing in his first college game for the Seminoles, pounced on the ball as it rolled toward the sideline.

After it was initially ruled in favor of Florida State, the replay official took more than three minutes to overturn it, ruling that Rouse didn't have full possession before the ball rolled out of bounds.

It didn't matter, because Wright was then intercepted by Seminoles rover Kyler Hall.

Hall returned the ball 25 yards to the Miami 6, but a penalty against the Seminoles brought it back to the 29. On third-and-six, reserve tailback Lorenzo Booker broke free from a defender and got down to the 1.

Two plays later, 260-pound senior fullback James Coleman plunged in for the first score with 8:38 left in the opening quarter. It was the first time Florida State had scored a touchdown in the first against Miami since 1999.

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