And much like last year's slugfest between the two in-state rivals – a contest in which the Seminoles were victorious 10-7 – Monday night the Tribe relied on its defense to counteract a lack of running game on the offensive side of the ball.
The Seminoles also won the kicking battle – a trend that has historically been in favor of its opposition but now reversed the last two years.
"It's always a good thing to beat Miami and to come here and do it just puts more emphasis on it," FSU redshirt senior wide receiver Chris Davis said.
That victory was achieved despite a paltry running game. FSU mustered just one rushing yard on 25 attempts. But a menacing defense meant the same was true for the Hurricanes, who also were halted on the ground and finished with just two net rushing yards.
Led by its undisputed leader Buster Davis, who garnered game-highs in tackles (10.5), tackles for loss (3.5) and sacks (2.5), FSU's defense proved to be too strong for a Miami team that was held to 134 offensive yards. Leading by a 13-10 score with less than a minute to play, the unit also proved to be the closer when sophomore cornerback Michael Ray Garvin intercepted Miami signal caller Kyle Wright.
"I just saw the ball coming and I picked it off," Garvin said. "The receiver was running a cross route and I just saw the ball and got in front of him to make the play."
Knotted in a 10-10 tie midway through the final period, FSU junior kicker Gary Cismesia broke the gridlock with a 33-yard field goal with 8:01 remaining in the contest.
It was the Bradenton native's second successful field goal of the night staring down the Miami student section.
"They were big. His field goals were the difference in points and winning the game," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "When you play somebody like Miami all you want to do is get more points than them. I don't care how you get them because you aren't going to get many."
FSU tied the game at 10 points apiece on the first play of the fourth quarter when junior fullback Joe Surratt plunged forward for a one-yard touchdown.
The short-yardage scoring play capped off the 'Noles most successful drive of the evening at that juncture: a 67-yard, eight-play affair that featured completions of 28 and 34 yards to De'Cody Fagg and Lorenzo Booker, respectively.
The first half ended following a 20-yard successful field goal attempt by kicker John Peattie to increase the Miami lead to 10-3, Weatherford was intercepted by safety Brandon Merriweather.
The FSU mishap concluded a nightmarish offensive first half of play highlighted by a lack of production. The 'Noles mustered just 43 total yards on 23 plays as compared to Miami's 117.
"No one ever gave up. Our defense played well and kept us in it," said starting quarterback Drew Weatherford, who finished the game 16-of-31 for 175 yards and 1 INT.
The Hurricanes posted the first touchdown of the game via a seven-play, 51-yard drive that concluded with a four-yard scamper by tailback Charlie Jones midway through the second quarter.
The Tribe registered the only points of the first quarter after it marched 35 yards on eight plays, scoring on a 37-yard field goal by Cismesia.
Next up for the Seminoles is the home opener Saturday against Troy at 6 p.m.
Seminoles outlast Hurricanes, win 13-10
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