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Offensive observations from FSU football’s loss versus Miami

The offense starts off strong, but a pair of critical turnovers in the second half seals Florida State’s fate.

NCAA Football: Florida State at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State’s offense started off strong, scoring 20 points in the first half, but ultimately fell apart in the second half in a 28-27 loss against Miami.

The Seminoles drove down the field on its first possession of the game, capping off an 8-play, 58-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown grab by Keith Gavin. FSU would then end the half with three straight scoring drives with two field goals and a touchdown.

However, the second half is when things began to fall apart.

Deondre Francois fumbled on a corner blitz from Miami, giving the Hurricanes the ball at the FSU 20-yard line. On the ensuing possession, Francois threw an interception when Tre’ McKitty failed to stay behind the pulling guard on a designed screen pass. Miami would get into the end zone off of both of those turnovers, cutting massively into Florida State’s lead.

The critical point in the game came when Florida State ran a trick play that seemed to result in a touchdown. Francois flipped the ball to D.J. Matthews, who threw it to a wide open Keith Gavin down the sidelines. However, the officials ruled it an illegal forward pass, taking back the touchdown pass.

Ricky Aguayo would miss a 43-yard field goal on that possession. Instead of taking a 33-21 lead off of a trick play, FSU would only stay up 27-21.

The offensive drives in the second half went as such: punt, fumble, interception, punt, missed field goal, punt, punt, punt. Not a recipe for success.

Florida State finished with 3.1 yards per play, but only averaged 1.5 yards per play in the second half when things fell apart. Florida State’s offensive line, which held up in the first half, was completely dominated by Miami’s aggressive defensive line in the second half.

Speaking of the offensive line, the ’Noles started its sixth different offensive line combination of the season in this game. Redshirt freshman Brady Scott kicked out to left tackle from right tackle and Abdul Bello started at right tackle. Miami’s defensive line feasted on the inexperienced offensive tackles in the second half.

It was a solid performance for FSU’s running backs. Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick combined for 77 yards, which is saying something for how many times defenders were in the backfield.

Francois finished 15-30 (50 percent) for 129 yards, two scores and an interception. As previously stated, the interception was not on him. Francois left the game in the first half after hitting his knee on a defender, but was able to return in the second half. He made some nice throws in this game, but failed to register the pressure from Miami on several occasions which lead to turnovers.

This loss pushes Florida State to 3-3 on the season with a chance to still make a bowl game, but this loss stings. Not only does it give Miami a two-game winning streak in the series, but FSU was so close to putting this one away.