X Marks The Spot

Florida State has not beaten the Miami Hurricanes since a 31-21 win in 1999. The last time these teams met to open their respective seasons was 1988, when the Seminoles went to Miami as the nation's top-ranked team and were routed 31-0. The last three meetings in the Orange Bowl, however, have been decided by a total of six points. And FSU fans are well aware how kicking has played a role in the series.

Despite making 76 percent of the 67 field-goal attempts during his career, it's the two big misses against Miami that define Xavier Beitia in the eyes of Florida State fans.

That kind of thinking does not bother the personable Beitia, who has enjoyed a stellar preseason and held of the challenge of freshman Gary Cismeisa.

Beitia, a senior from Tampa Jesuit, also was named the Seminoles' special teams captain by coach Bobby Bowden at the team's recent Kickoff Luncheon.

"I always feel like if I went on the field and I had done all my training and I did everything I possibly could to make the kick and I still missed, well, then I did everything I could," Beitia said.

"I know what I can do. I don't really care what anybody says or thinks. I know what I can do, and that's all that matters.''

In the 2002 UM-FSU game at the Orange Bowl, Beitia missed a 43-yard kick on the game's final play as the Hurricanes won 28-27.

In last season's Orange Bowl Classic, Beitia missed 39-yarder with 5:30 left proved to be the difference in UM's 16-14 victory. That marked the fifth time in 13 seasons the Seminoles lost to UM after failed kicks that could have won games.

Still, FSU -- Bowden included -- remains confident in Beitia, who has put in long hours this preseason with new holder Chris Hall and new snapper Myles Hodish. Beitia, who has a warm hello and handshake for all, says this year he wants his foot to do the talking.

FSU receiver Dominic Robinson believes in the X-man, who ranks fourth in FSU history with 298 points and is on pace to become the program's all-time leading scorer.

"He's totally re-evaluated the way he thinks about kicking and kicking in the Miami game," Robinson said.

"I think before he worried about the hold and the snap and everything, but this year, he's just saying, `I'm just going to kick. Wherever it goes, it goes.' ''

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