Photo courtesy of Florida State athletics
Florida State is celebrating a signature win over rival Miami.
The Seminoles’ last-minute comeback on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium was yet another down-to-the-wire finish in the long history of the rivalry.
This 31-28 victory ends a four-game skid against the Hurricanes. It will also go down as head coach Mike Norvell’s first win against a rival at FSU, and the first victory FSU has had against a rival since a November 2017 win over Florida.
All Gas, No Brakes
The Seminoles dominated on both sides of the ball for the majority of the first half.
The ‘Noles were able to put 14 points up in the first quarter with scores from Jashaun Corbin and Jordan Travis. Meanwhile, the defense forced Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke to throw two interceptions and fumble once.
Miami exited the first quarter averaging only 1.6 yards per play and could not get anything going.
The two teams traded blows in the second quarter. FSU’s miscues forced it to settle for field goals on two red zone trips, while Miami finally found success on offense and scored.
Even then, the Seminoles felt good at the half. Florida State had a commanding 20-7 lead and was going to get the ball back to begin the second half.
A Classic Finish
Miami’s halftime adjustments made for a serious comeback bid. The Hurricane defense switched up their scheme to a lot more man coverages and FSU’s wideouts could not respond.
The Seminole offense sputtered, and Miami offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee had his unit ready to capitalize.
The Hurricanes scored 21 unanswered points to take a 28-20 lead with 11:04 remaining in the game. The ‘Noles were able to respond by marching down the field, but could not capitalize with a touchdown.
Norvell had a decision to make. Try and tie the game or go for a field goal and trust the defense?
Kicker Ryan Fitzgerald’s third field goal was good to close the score to 28-23 and FSU’s defense got a critical stop.
Travis led an incredible drive to respond, beginning with a 59-yard strike to Ja’Khi Douglas to move the Seminoles near the red zone.
A couple of incompletions and a false start led to a 4th-and-14 situation with about a minute remaining. With the game on the line, Travis stepped up in the pocket and hit wide receiver Andrew Parchment for a 24-yard gain to keep the drive alive and move FSU to within inches of the lead. Two quarterback sneaks later and FSU took the lead with 26 seconds to go.
Van Dyke tried valiantly but there was just not enough time on the clock. Now dubbed the “Van Spike”, Van Dyke attempted to spike the ball with two seconds remaining, but the clock ran out.
Offensively, Jordan Travis played perhaps his best game as a Seminole to date. The sophomore signal caller posted a passer rating of 157.8, completing 18 of 26 passes for a career-high 274 yards. He also added 62 yards and two scores on the ground.
Defensively, this contest was the Jermaine Johnson show. No matter what Miami attempted to do to stop him, Johnson was in the backfield. The senior transfer tallied three sacks, five tackles for loss, seven total tackles, and a forced fumble. Johnson continues to shine as a leader for FSU and his performance will go down as an all-time effort in the history of the rivalry.