The Daily Nole

Blocked PAT Lifts FSU to Seventh Straight Over Miami

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It’s not unusual for contests between Florida State and Miami to come down to a missed kick. On Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium, it was a blocked extra point by FSU’s DeMarcus Walker that allowed the No. 23 Seminoles to preserve a 20-19 victory over 10th-ranked Miami — their seventh straight in the series.

The block came with 1:38 left, one play after Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya had found senior Stacy Coley in the end zone for the second time. The pass came on a 4th-and-5 after Braxton Berrios had set the Hurricanes (4-1, 1-1 ACC) up in the FSU red zone on a 43-yard punt return.

With three time outs, Miami elected to kick it deep, but FSU quarterback Deondre Francois and running back Dalvin Cook each rushed for first downs to ice the victory. It was a 59-yard hook-up between those two for a touchdown midway through the third quarter that seemed to shift momentum in the contest.

The long touchdown pass was set up by FSU cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, who intercepted Miami’s Brad Kaaya in the end zone on the preceding drive to thwart a scoring opportunity, and cut what was once a 13-0 Miami lead to 13-10. The Seminoles took their first lead of the night later in the third quarter when Francois found Kermit Whitfield on a 20-yard touchdown pass with 3:32 to play.

Ricky Aguayo’s second field goal of the night early in the fourth quarter capped a drive that took nearly seven and a half minutes and the scoring for FSU. The 32-yard field goal made it 20-13 with just over nine minutes to play. After going 0-for-3 on field goal attempts last week against North Carolina, Aguayo was 2-for-2 on Saturday night.

Francois finished the night with 234 yards passing and the aforementioned pair of touchdown passes, but was hit constantly throughout the game. Francois was forced to leave for a brief period of time in the first half with an apparent shoulder injury and was replaced by senior Sean Maguire, who went just 1-for-2 passing with a costly interception inside the Miami 25-yard-line. The pick was made by Jaquan Johnson.

In addition to the 59-yard touchdown catch, Cook added 150 yards on the ground, marking the third straight game he eclipsed the 200-yard mark when it came to yards from scrimmage. Whitfield led the Seminoles receiving with seven catches for a game-high 83 yards.

Kaaya had his lowest passing total in three contests against FSU, throwing for 214 yards on 19-for-32 passing. For a second straight year, the Miami ground game was largely a non-factor as the Hurricanes finished with just 62 yards rushing on 28 carries.

The contest between the teams was hardly a thing of beauty as the two teams combined for nearly 200 yards in penalties (Miami 110, FSU 87). Florida State linebacker Matthew Thomas and Miami safety Jamal Carter were each ejected from the game for targeting. The game was briefly delayed after fans threw trash onto the field following Carter’s ejection.

The victory for Florida State (4-2, 1-2 ACC) ties its longest winning streak over Miami. The Seminoles had previously won seven straight against the Hurricanes from 1963-72. FSU has trailed by double-digits in three of its last five victories over the Hurricanes.

The FSU offense tied a season-low with just 20 points, but the defense had probably its most complete effort of the year. The Seminoles came in allowing 42.3 points per game to FBS opponents, but held Miami to just a 4-for-13 conversion rate on third down — one week after watching North Carolina go 9-for-13 at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Seminoles were 9-for-17 on third down themselves and outgained Miami in total offense, 407-276.

FSU will return home next Saturday to take on Wake Forest. The Hurricanes will remain home to take on North Carolina.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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