Miami QB Stephen Morris was listed as ‘doubtful’ against rival Florida State, however, he was given the nod by head coach Al Golden to suit up. But Morris’ performance wasn’t enough to keep the ‘Noles from running away with the victory.
The weather was perfect; Sun Life Stadium was alive; Some of Florida’s top prospects were in attendance – but as time expired, Florida State proved too much for the young Hurricanes to handle.
The ‘Noles arrived as a 21-point favorite over Miami (4-4, 3-2) and as expected by most, No.12 Florida State (7-1, 3-1) defeated Miami, 33-20. The ‘Canes have now lost to Florida State three consecutive times and six of the last eight meetings.
Fans anxiously waited all week to see who Miami’s gunslinger would be. Backup QB Ryan Williams was expected to get the start, but just before kickoff, Morris was announced as the Miami starter. It was obvious that Morris was not 100%. He appeared sluggish when scrambling and he repeatedly overthrew his receivers. In all, the junior quarterback was responsible for a fumble, an interception and was sacked a total of four times. Morris finished 25-of-43 for 223 yards with one touchdown.
Despite all of Miami’s misfortune, they were able to keep the score close. As halftime came, Florida State led Miami, 13-10. The ‘Noles were flagged nine times for 82 yards in the first half alone.
The Florida State offense settled down and began to inch away in the second half. The ‘Canes surprisingly gritty defense kept them in the game early on, but the Miami offense failed to move the ball against the ‘Noles stout defense. The two teams traded possessions early in the third quarter, but Florida State K Dustin Hopkins hit field goals from 38 and 45 yards, respectively.
‘Noles RB Devonta Freeman added two touchdowns on the ground and finished the night with 10 carries for 70 yards. QB E.J. Manuel went 21-31 for 229 yards.
Miami jumped out to an early 7-0 lead. UM LB Denzel Perryman leveled Florida State TE Nick O’Leary in mid-air, causing a fumble in which Miami LB Jimmy Gaines recovered. The ‘Canes took over on the ‘Noles 22-yard line and in just four plays, RB Mike James barreled into the end zone giving Miami a 7-0 lead.
Following a shanked punt by Florida State K Carson Beatty, Miami again got the ball in ‘Noles territory. The ‘Canes were unable to get into the end zone and settled for a 19-yard field goal, giving them a 10-0 lead.
Florida State would go on to score 13 unanswered points, including two field goals and a 17-yard touchdown run by RB James Wilder Jr.
In a night that was full of injuries, FSU lost star RB Chris Thompson to a knee injury and Miami received a blow when freshman RB Duke Johnson left the game and didn’t return. Johnson has been battling a turf-toe injury and Golden is unaware of Johnson’s status.
Sun Life Stadium boasted a crowd of 73,328, undoubtedly the biggest turn-out of the year. Attendees included Miami Heat players LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. The game even showcased a male fan rushing across the field while pulling his shirt over his head, and eventually losing it altogether. The intruder was tackled by security and escorted off of the field.
Miami has a bye week and will host Virginia Tech on Nov. 1. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 PM ET.