Photo courtesy of Garnet & Great, FSU archivist
No matter how hard it tried or how close it came, Florida State just couldn’t seem to get past Miami at the turn of the millenium.
On this day 15 years ago, the Seminoles’ luck against the Hurricanes finally changed. On Sept. 5, 2005, a muffed snap late in the contest was the difference as FSU prevailed in a top-15 match-up, 10-7.
Setting the Stage
Entering the Labor Day opener, Florida State had lost six straight to Miami. The Seminoles had led in the fourth quarter in four of those six losses, including the previous two, but could not pull out a win. Three times during that stretch, FSU had missed a late field goal that would have tied the game or given the Seminoles the lead or win.
Miami was in its second season as a member of the ACC and coming off a 9-3 season. It was just four years removed from a national championship. FSU was also coming off a 9-3 campaign. The Seminoles had failed to hold a 10-0 lead in the prior year’s contest before falling in overtime, 16-10, at the Orange Bowl.
Miami entered the game ranked No. 9 in the AP Poll. The Seminoles, with a redshirt freshman making his first career start at quarterback in Drew Weatherford, were ranked 14th.
Neither team had scored since the first half, but Miami looked to change that with a time-consuming drive in the final quarter. As they had so many times before, the Hurricanes were on the verge of breaking the Seminoles’ collective hearts.
With the Seminoles leading 10-7, Miami looked to be in the midst of capping a scoring drive for the ages. Miami had moved from the shadow of its own goal post to the FSU 2-yard-line on an 19-play drive that ate nearly nine minutes off the clock.
The Hurricanes converted four third downs before FSU’s ninth sack of the night helped end the threat of a touchdown. With less than three minutes to play, kicker Jon Peattie walked onto the field to attempt a 28-yard field goal to tie the game and perhaps force overtime.
Unfortunately for Peattie, that kick would never get off the ground. Holder Brian Monroe was unable to handle the snap and the Seminoles took over.
After Leon Washington ran for nine yards on the first play of the ensuing drive, a quarterback sneak for a first down by Weatherford put the game away. The losing streak to Miami was over.
All 10 FSU points in the game came in the first quarter. FSU fullback James Coleman’s 1-yard touchdown run followed safety Kyler Hall’s interception of Kyle Wright. Gary Cismesia added a field goal with less than four minutes to play in the first quarter.
Miami’s lone touchdown of the night came on a 34-yard scoring strike from Wright to Ryan Moore midway through the second quarter. FSU blocked a punt early in the third quarter to start inside the Miami 5-yard-line, but Cismesia missed a short field goal that would have extended the lead.
Offensively for FSU, Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker combined for 120 yards rushing on 25 carries. The two also combined for 47 of FSU’s 74 receiving yards on a night where the Seminoles totaled just 170 yards of offense.
Defensively, Hall finished with a team-high 12 tackles to go with his 25-yard interception return. Linebacker Ernie Sims added 10 tackles and an interception. Kamerion Wimbley totaled two of the nine FSU sacks. Marcello Church and Andre Fluellen each had 1.5 sacks in the victory.
Wright passed for 232 yards in his first start for Miami, but was intercepted twice. Tyrone Moss rushed for 102 yards in the loss. Hurricanes’ tight end Greg Olsen finished with a game-high eight catches for 137 yards. Defensively, Marcus Maxey recorded an interception for Miami.
The loss would loom large for Miami as it would cost the Hurricanes a shot at the ACC Championship. Miami rattled off eight straight wins after the defeat, but a home loss to Georgia Tech would give Virginia Tech the Coastal division crown.
The Seminoles would start 5-0 in 2005 before losing four of their final six regular-season games. FSU however, would rebound to knock off No. 5 Virginia Tech in the inaugural ACC Championship. FSU’s season ended with a 26-23 loss to Penn State in a triple-overtime Orange Bowl thriller.
The win over Miami not only snapped a streak of six straight losses to the Hurricanes, but began a 12-year stretch of domination over FSU’s rivals to the south. From 2005 to 2016, FSU went 10-2 against the Hurricanes. That stretch started on this day 15 years ago.