A dark cloud came over the Orange Bowl on Monday night-literally and figuratively. Rain-soaked fans watched the Hurricanes fall to the Seminoles 13-10.
Despite solid defensive plays in the first half, the ‘Canes fell apart in the fourth quarter, allowing Florida State to score 10 points and take the game.
“We have to make big plays,” Tavares Gooden, linebacker, said. “You should go to bed at night thinking about making a big play.”
The offense had an equally inadequate performance with a fumbled hand-off to freshman Sam Shields and the first Kyle Wright interception of the season with 36 seconds left on the clock, ending all chances of hope for the ‘Canes.
“Florida State really didn’t do anything we didn’t expect on defense, we just killed ourselves,” Greg Olsen, tight end, said. “We were really moving the ball well but then things kind of self-destructed. We started missing plays, missing blocks and just really shut ourselves down.”
After a 16-yard return by wide receiver Darnell Jenkins, the ‘Canes were unable to obtain a first down in the opening drive. Brian Monroe made a disastrous punt to the FSU 45 yard line, giving the Seminoles a starting advantage.
Tackles by safety Brandon Meriweather and cornerback Randy Phillips kept the FSU offense at bay, forcing the Noles to attempt a 37-yard field goal. Kicker Gary Cismesia broke the wide right, wide left mold and put the Seminoles on the board 3-0.
The ‘Hurricanes managed a touchdown by Charlie Jones. John Peattie secured the extra point, bringing the score to 7-3 in favor of Miami.
Monroe redeemed himself with a 65-yard kickoff. FSU’s Michael Ray Garvin returned the kick to the 14 yard line. The defense, notably Jon Beason, pushed the Seminoles back on the three play drive causing them to lose seven yards.
The offense got back on the ball and made a 48-yard drive before bringing in Peattie to increase the lead 10-3.
UM’s scoring would stop there.
“I was pleased with our first half,” Head Coach Larry Coker said. “We haven’t gone into the half with the lead many times in this series.”
The FSU defense easily penetrated the offensive line throughout the entire third quarter. Wright was brutally sacked for a loss of 17 yards in the second UM drive of the period.
Quarterback Drew Weatherford struggled to complete passes, but found wide receiver De’Cody Fagg for 28 yards.
Lorenzo Booker, running back, made a 34-yard play that put the Noles within reach of a touchdown at the end of the third.
The last stretch of the game began and ended with FSU fans cheering.
Joe Surratt closed the one yard gap for a touchdown. Cismesia followed up with the extra point, tying the game 10-10.
FSU took advantage of the possession and secured the lead 13-10 with another Cismesia field goal.
“The last four or five times we’ve played it comes down to field goals,” Head Coach Bobby Bowden said. “I was glad to see that we made ours.”
This is the second straight loss for the ‘Canes against the Seminoles.
Despite speculation that the ‘Canes will have a tough time recovering from this poor performance, offensive lineman Anthony Wollschlager, firmly believes that this loss will not affect gameplay the rest of the season.
“This loss does not, and will not define this team.”
Stacey Arnold may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.