Benefiting from an errant snap on the potential game-tying field goal attempt by Miami, the Seminoles staved off a heroic drive to come away with a 10-7 victory in front of a record crowd Monday night.
The victory snapped a string of six straight losses to the rival Hurricanes.
A 19-play, 87-yard march by Miami in the closing minutes of the contest went for naught when direct snapper John Rochford skipped his feed well short of kicker John Peattie with just over two minutes to play.
Peattie also misfired on a pair of first quarter attempts from 47 and 39 yards out, respectively.
"Now they see what we've been through," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "I know exactly how they feel right now."
Thanks in part to nine sacks for a total loss of 61 yards, the Florida State defense halted three UM drives in FSU territory after halftime.
None was more critical and inspiring than the last.
Backed up at their own 2, the Seminoles stuffed UM tailback Tyrone Moss for no gain on first-and-goal. True freshman Neefy Moffett hogtied Kyle Wright for the game's final sack on second down and Sinorice Moss was dropped for a loss on a screen play on third-and-goal.
"I thought for sure we we're going to punch it in down there," Tyrone Moss said.
Then came the ill-fated kick attempt. When Peattie failed to get his attempt off, the crowd of 84,347 erupted with the realization that the victory was secured.
"This makes up for all of the hard losses we have had in the past," said FSU safety Kyler Hall, a senior. "This one right here truly helps."
Wright, who completed 16-of-32 passes for 232 yards in an efficient debut, found tight end Greg Olsen to convert third downs on four different occasions on the final drive.
Olsen led all receivers with eight catches for 137 yards.
The Hurricanes' offense was also ignited by the running of Moss, who hammered his way to 102 rushing yards.
Mustering just 164 yards of total offense, Florida State (1-0) squeezed just enough points out of an array of Miami mistakes to make an inspired defensive effort stand up.
"Our pressure on their quarterback helped us out," FSU defensive end Kamerion Wimbley said.
The Seminoles cashed in on the game's first break, an interception by Hall that the senior safety returned to the UM 19.
Five plays later, fullback James Coleman's one-yard run provided the first points of the contest. The barreling plunge marked the first time FSU has scored a first-quarter touchdown at Miami's expense since 1999.
Those seven points were all that the FSU offense could generate off of a trio of UM turnovers, a blocked punt and the telling botched field goal.
Most glaring was a shanked 26-yard field goal attempt by Gary Cisemesia after Lawrence Timmons' blocked punt set up the Seminoles deep in Miami territory.
Nothing came of a drive that started on Miami's one yard line – FSU runners Coleman and Washington were stopped for negative yardage before Gary Cisemesia missed a 26-yard chip shot wide left.
Cismesia posted FSU's other score with a 37-yard field goal in the first quarter.
Miami marched 81-yards to its lone score in the second quarter, a Ryan Moore touchdown that narrowed the FSU lead to 10-7.
Moore made an athletic play on an underthrown pass from Wright, backtracking a few yards to make the catch and back into the endzone in front of Hall.
Tailbacks Leon Washington (71 total yards) and Lorenzo Booker (99) provided a hapless FSU offense with its only sparks.
"The defense kept giving up opportunities to win this game and we just couldn't get it done," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "I feel like we had the better team out there tonight.
"It was their time."
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