Canes fall to Seminoles despite sturdy start

FSU crowd shot
The student section gets pumped up during the Student’s Song at the sold-out game against FSU Saturday. Hallee Meltzer // Assistant Photo Editor

With 3:05 remaining in the game, Sun Life Stadium’s sellout crowd of more than 76,000 people waited with baited breath as Brad Kaaya started at the 25 yard line, trying to engineer one glorious touchdown drive down 30-26 to Florida State.

It was not to be; the Hurricanes got out to Florida State’s 43-yard-line on fourth and nine. With 46 seconds left, instead of hearing the Canes faithful screaming with a TD pass for the lead, the FSU contingent went wild on a picked off pass from safety Jalen Ramsey. The Seminoles remain undefeated in their college football playoff push.

Miami started off on a 16-0 run, even though tight end Clive Walford fumbled Kaaya’s first pass of the night. The Seminoles began their offensive performance with three straight three-and-outs, while Kaaya took advantage of FSU’s blunders to throw a 27-yard strike to wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, followed by a one-yard rush by running back Duke Johnson and a 45-yard field goal by kicker Michael Badgley.

Meanwhile FSU quarterback Jameis Winston simply wasn’t himself as he threw passes high and wide, going into the locker room 11/20 with an interception.

The second half was a different story. Miami dialed back their aggressive play calling and committed key blunders themselves; a Standish Dobard 18-yard catch-and-fumble, a late hit penalty on Sunny Odogwu; a facemask on Michael Wyche.

Late in the fourth quarter, Nick O’Leary, the Noles stud at tight end, caught a pass from Winston that he appeared to fumble, but was ruled incomplete. That would ultimately lead to the back-breaker, a 26-yard run by Dalvin Cook, the freshman out of Miami Central High School, that gave FSU the one and only lead they needed.

Kaaya started the game 10 for 17 with two touchdowns at the half, but would finish six for 17 with an interception. Duke Johnson’s 130 rushing yards and 37 receiving yards put him over 5,000 all-purpose yards for his career, the first Hurricane to accomplish that feat.

With the loss, the Canes are mathematically eliminated from the ACC Coastal Division, and slide down to 6-4, and 3-3 in the ACC. They fly to Charlottesville, Virginia, to take on the 4-6 (2-4 ACC) Virginia Cavaliers on Nov. 22.