Written by Darrell Wilkinson
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – The Miami Hurricanes found a way to win as they stormed back from 20 points down in the third quarter to overtake Florida State 28 to 27. The 20 point comeback is the largest come from behind victory in the history of this rivalry and was the Hurricanes first win against FSU at home since 2004.
Hurricanes Head Coach Mark Richt wouldn’t let his team get down mentally and he knew his team was going to find a way to win if they got some help from the turnover chain. “Florida State created doubt in our minds as the game was going, but nobody gave in.” Said Richt. “It just took a spark and that spark turned into a flame and before you knew it we were back in the lead and found a way to finish on offense too which is nice.”
With eight minutes and 11 seconds left in the third quarter the Seminoles led 27 to 7 after just having returned a punt 74 yards to the house and had all the momentum on their side when the turnover chain made it’s first appearance. Miami safety Sheldrick Redwine came on a blitz that blindsided FSU quarterback Deondre Francois who fumbled the ball and was swept up into the waiting arms of ‘Canes defensive tackle Gerald Willis III at FSU’s 20 yard line.
Now set up to score the ‘Canes got themselves into third and goal in which quarterback N’Kosi Perry attempted to hit wideout Lawrence Cager on a fade route. Cager then dropped the ball forcing fourth down. Waving to the sidelines Cager wanted a shot on fourth down to make a play and Cager got his wish. Same play call but now on fourth down, fade route to Cager, this time touchdown. Momentum swung in Miami’s favor (still 27-14)
On the following Florida State drive the turnover chain once again made an appearance as ‘Canes linebacker Michael Pinckney perfectly read an attempted screen pass that fell into the arms of the junior linebacker. The Pinckney pick set up a 17 yard Jeff Thomas touchdown catch from Perry who wasted no time leading his man to the corner of the endzone on the pass(27-21).
As Miami begun to win the momentum battle the big plays started to come in bunches and the offense, having been set up with great field position on the previous two scores had to make something happen on their own and they made it happen fast. A great catch and run by Jeff Thomas for 32 yards set up on the very next play a Brevin Jordan 41 yard touchdown grab. N’Kosi Perry made an incredible play to look off the safety just enough to give the tight end Jordan a chance to make a play over the top.
With a 28 to 27 lead the Hurricanes defensive front showed off their talents as they pinned their ears back and got after Francois, only further creating chaos for the Noles who just couldn’t seem to respond before finally putting the game away thanks to some hard running from Travis Homer and Trayone Gray.
The ‘Canes finished with 12 tackles for loss to add to their already nation leading tally but also recorded six sacks, two turnovers and held Florida State’s offense to 45 total offensive yards in the second half and only 200 total. While on offense N’Kosi Perry had a forgettable night going 13 of 32 for 204 yards and four touchdowns with Jeff Thomas getting the better of those throws with his 76 yard outing.
The feeling after the game was electric for the ‘Canes who just ended a losing streak that dated back to 2004 and Richt was feeling the relief. “I’d say it’s at least tied for first as far as feeling awesome after a game especially coming back from the dead”
Senior safety Jaquan Johnson had no doubts about where this game finished in his mind. “Definitely number one.” Said Johnson. “Everything was against us, special teams play was bad, offense wasn’t really moving the ball how we should, defense wasn’t getting turnovers at the beginning of the game like we know how. For us just to flip that in the second half and become a totally different team, that’s four quarters of football. That’s why we love football.”
The ‘Canes now carry a five game winning streak into Virginia next Saturday while the ‘Noles look to rebound against Wake Forest in Tallahassee.
- Darrell WIlkinson TheSkyBoat.com
- Twitter: @TheSkyBoat