The Hurricanes wanted to make sure their first game in the Atlantic Coast Conference was memorable. They accomplished that goal, and then some, by winning a 16-10 overtime thriller over Florida State in front of 78,622 fans at the Orange Bowl on Friday.
Frank Gore scored an 18-yard touchdown after the Hurricanes’ defense shut down the Seminoles in overtime to clinch the victory. The ‘Canes (1-0, 1-0) have won six straight games against FSU (0-1, 0-1) and three in the last 11 months.
Quarterback Brock Berlin struggled mightily for the first three-and-half quarters but was able to lead the Hurricanes down the field at the end of regulation to tie the score at 10 on a 30-yard touchdown pass to Sinorice Moss. Berlin completed 20 of 36 passes for 255 yards, an interception and a touchdown.
The ‘Canes were led offensively by Moss and Gore, as the junior wide receiver caught four passes for 112 yards and a touchdown and the junior tailback gained 94 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown. Tight end Kevin Everett added three catches for 42 yards.
The defense had its way with Florida State quarterback Chris Rix, who completed only 12 of 28 passes for 108 yards. Rix threw two interceptions in the loss.
Head Coach Larry Coker said that his defense’s conditioning ultimately decided the game.
“Our defense was phenomenal,” Coker said. “They didn’t seem like a tired football team. They were hungry until the end.”
The game began with little action, as both defenses swarmed Rix and Berlin throughout the first half. A fumbled snap by Berlin led to a 45-yard Xavier Beitia field goal to give the Seminoles an early 3-0 lead.
“This is a game you remember the rest of your life .”
The Hurricanes were driving into Seminole territory early in the second quarter when Roscoe Parrish coughed up the ball on a direct snap play. Florida State’s Antonio Cromartie recovered the fumble and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown to give the ‘Noles a 10-0 lead at the half.
The third quarter was especially uneventful for Hurricane fans, as the offense was unable to take advantage of a pair of scoring opportunities. Baraka Atkins forced a Rix fumble midway through the period, but Jon Peattie missed a 42-yard field goal attempt on the ensuing drive.
The Hurricanes wasted no time in the fourth quarter, however, as Greg Threat intercepted Rix’s pass attempt on the first play of the period and Berlin completed a 63-yard pass to Moss on the next play. The ‘Canes had a first-and-goal opportunity at the FSU two but could not get into the end zone. An 18-yard Peattie field goal made the score 10-3.
“I was disappointed when we kicked the field goal because we didn’t get the touchdown,” Coker said. “Those are things that we are going to get better at; we’re going to get good at.”
Florida State had an opportunity to demoralize Miami with about 4:00 to play, but Beitia’s 34-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Devin Hester. Two plays later, Berlin was picked off by Cromartie and FSU was given another chance to run out the clock.
The Hurricanes stopped the Seminoles on their next possession and Berlin got the ball on the Miami 20-yard line with 1:22 remaining. Berlin connected with Parrish for 24 yards on second down and a personal foul on Eric Moore moved the ball to the Florida State 41. Three plays later, Berlin hooked up with Moss for the tying score.
“When Brock threw it I just made sure I caught it and I knew there were a lot of FSU guys around, but I didn’t want to go down and was able to get into the end zone,” Moss said.
Florida State got the ball first in overtime, but Rix fumbled the ball on third down and Thomas Carroll made the recovery for the Hurricanes. Gore wasted no time after the ‘Canes got the ball back, gaining seven yards on first down before ending the game with an 18-yard dash on second down.
Coker said the victory will go down in history with the many classic Miami/Florida State showdowns.
“This is a game you remember the rest of your life as a coach,” Coker said. “I was proud of the fans, they were phenomenal. They stayed with us. It was a great finish in the closed end of the Orange Bowl.”
Eric Kalis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.