Wasted Chances

The Florida State Seminoles seemed to be in control, leading the Miami Hurricanes 14-3 in Thursday night's Orange Bowl. Of course -- behind or ahead -- the Seminoles can't seem to shake the UM hex. The Hurricanes rallied for a 16-14 victory, leaving dismayed FSU searching for answers this offseason. Making matters worse, the Seminoles and Hurricanes go at it again in the season opener in Miami on Sept. 6.

"We just can't seem to play a complete game against these guys to show them what we're made of," FSU center David Castillo said.

"First half, offense was producing, and (FSU) defense was giving up some big plays. Second half, offense couldn't get anything going, and defense was playing lights out. This season, past seasons, really since the 2000 season, we have not played many complete games."

Castillo's absolutely correct.

FSU led 14-3 early in the second quarter, only to see the lead vanish. The Seminoles' play-calling was suspect, especially when had solid field position opportunities in the second half. After a slow start, FSU's defense played well enough to win.

Of course, history always seems to repeat itself against UM: Xavier Beitia's 39-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide right with 5:30 remaining.

Five losses to Miami since 1991 as result of a failed field goal.

"What can I say? I missed it," Beitia said following the game. "It's the way my career has gone. I've got to get better."

The Seminoles' offense proved the biggest mystery -- again.

After getting touchdowns on consecutive possessions in the second quarter, the Seminoles registered only three first downs after taking a 14-3 lead with 8:41 left in the second quarter.

They had seven consecutive possessions end in four plays or less.

"You had two great defenses out there," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said.

"It was kinda who makes the fewest mistakes is going to win. Any time we had that football, and we backed up, which was a lot, we tried not to do anything stupid.

"Yeah, our offense didn't do much, but when you play Miami, it's hard to do much. It's not like they beat the heck out of us. I was thinking the game could be 6-3 before we kicked it off. That's how I felt about both teams' defenses."


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