Photo courtesy of Garnet and Great/FSU archivist
Since 1969, Florida State and Miami have played on the gridiron every single season.
Upon Miami joining the ACC in 2004, the teams meeting on Labor Day became somewhat of a tradition. On this day 15 years ago, the teams met on Labor Day for the third straight year. For the second straight season, the Seminoles left with a 3-point victory, 13-10.
Setting the Stage
Florida State had not won at the Orange Bowl since 1998 as it arrived on Sept. 4, 2006. The Seminoles were coming off a 12th ACC championship in 15 years and were ranked No. 11 for the Labor Day opener. FSU had snapped a 6-game losing streak to Miami the year prior with a 10-7 victory in Tallahassee.
Miami was coming off a 9-3 season in its second season in the ACC. The Hurricanes arrived ranked No. 12 and winners of three straight at home over FSU.
Noles Prevail Late
For three quarters, the teams had combined for just one touchdown, but FSU changed that on the first play of the fourth. Down 10-3, quarterback Drew Weatherford had used long completions to De’Cody Fagg and Lorenzo Booker to move the Seminoles from their own 33-yard-line to the Miami 1 as the final quarter began.
As was the case the year before with James Coleman, it was the FSU fullback who would score the team’s lone touchdown of the night. Joe Surratt took the first carry to open the fourth for one yard and the tying touchdown.
With the contest now tied 10-10, the FSU defense forced a 3-and-out to give the offense the ball back in favorable field position. Weatherford methodically completed four of his first five passes on the drive to move the Seminoles inside the 10-yard-line. On 1st-and-goal however, a fumble by Weatherford that was recovered by FSU ultimately forced the Seminoles to settle for a field goal.
Rarely had a late field goal against Miami gone in FSU’s favor, but Gary Cismesia calmly knocked through a 33-yard attempt. With eight minutes remaining, FSU led 13-10; the defense did the rest.
The Hurricanes wouldn’t manage another first down the rest of the way. After back-to-back 3-and-outs, Miami’s final possession began at its own 20-yard-line with 1:05 remaining. Following a second down completion to Lance Leggett, Miami quarterback Kyle Wright’s final pass of the night was deflected and landed in the arms of FSU’s Michael Ray Garvin with 29 seconds remaining.
The teams combined for just three yards rushing, but the only Miami touchdown of the night came on the ground. Cismesia’s 37-yard field goal gave FSU a 3-0 lead after one quarter, but the Hurricanes answered with all 10 of their points in the second quarter.
Charlie Jones scored from four yards out to give Miami a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter. Kicker Jon Peattie would add a 20-yard field goal with less than five minutes to play in the first half.
Weatherford finished with 175 yards passing in the win. Fagg led all receivers with 60 yards, but the story was the defense.
Buster Davis led FSU with 12 tackles, 3.5 for loss and two sacks in the victory. Geno Hayes added 2.5 tackles for loss in the victory. FSU finished with eight tackles for loss and three sacks as a team.
Neither team would have a spectacular 2006 season as both went on to finish 7-6. The FSU victory would begin a string of six straight road wins for FSU against Miami. The 2006 contest however, served as the last meeting between the schools at the Orange Bowl. It came on this day 15 years ago.