After scoring 21 unanswered points in the third quarter and into the fourth quarter, it felt like the Miami Hurricanes had the game in control.
But when Miami plays Florida State, nothing is ever certain.
Florida State scored 11 straight points with less than five minutes on the clock to end its four-game losing streak and knock the Hurricanes out of ACC championship contention.
“That was a proper Miami-Florida State game,” Miami head coach Manny Diaz said after the game. “Tough one to swallow here. Proud of the way our team fought. There is a lot of hurt in that locker room right now.”
Down 28-23, Florida State marched 80 yards down the field, fueled by a 59-yard completion to receiver Ja’Khi Douglas, in less than two minutes to take the lead at 31-28 with 26 seconds left on the clock.
The Hurricanes nearly completed the impossible and came roaring back from a 20-7 halftime deficit that was caused by a horrendous first quarter where Miami committed three turnovers – two interceptions and a fumble – and eight penalties.
“We definitely hurt ourselves in the beginning, but I’m really proud of the guys, how we fought,” junior tight end Will Mallory said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way this time.”
The tide changed in Miami’s favor after junior defensive tackle Nesta Jade Silvera recovered a fumble on a botched handoff between FSU quarterback Jordan Travis and running back Jashuan Corbin. A few plays later, Miami freshman receiver Keyshawn Smith deflected Tyler Van Dyke’s pass and the ball landed into the arms of Mike Harley to lessen Florida State’s lead to 20-14.
After a skirmish in between the third and fourth quarter where Miami players allegedly danced on FSU’s logo at midfield, Mallory caught a four-yard touchdown pass to give the Canes a 21-20 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
Jaylan Knighton extended the lead to 28-20 on a 35-yard catch and run with 11 minutes to go.
But the mistakes made earlier in the game caught up to the Hurricanes. A season-high 14 penalties for 105 yards, eight of which came in the first quarter, really hurt Miami’s chances at victory.
“We were very undisciplined,” freshman linebacker Corey Flagg said. “It’s habits that happen in practice. It’s not a shocker that it happened. Too many penalties. We beat ourselves.”
Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke threw two interceptions and fumbled all in the first quarter. The freshman finished with four touchdowns and 316 yards, completing 25 of 47 pass attempts.
“It was tough, he’s been so impressive,” Diaz said. “He hasn’t seen the atmosphere of what he came into today. That’s as rowdy of a crowd as we’ve had to go against. It took us a while to settle down. What’s great about Tyler is he didn’t flinch, he got back in the game. To me, stats are one thing, but it’s about the way he played in the second half…very proud of him.”
The Canes will play their last home game of the season next Saturday, Nov. 20 against Virginia Tech.