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Game story: FSU comes back late for thrilling win over Miami

Jordan Travis, Jermaine Johnson lead ‘Noles to rivalry W.

Syndication: Tallahassee Democrat Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tallahassee, FL- “It was a special night for Florida State,” said Mike Norvell after Florida State’s thrilling, 31-28 win over the Miami Hurricanes. The Seminoles responded late, overcoming an eight-point, fourth quarter deficit for a rivalry win. Jordan Travis’ career high 274 passing yards and Jermaine Johnson’s three sacks led the ‘Noles to a gutsy win in front of a packed Doak Campbell Stadium.

“Tonight, to be a part of this game, for it to play out the way that it did, it’s just special,” said Norvell. The head coach is 1-0 vs. in-state rivals.

Moments that mattered

Florida State takes advantage of UM penalties to open scoring

FSU won the toss and deferred, giving Miami the ball to open the game. On third-and-four, Keir Thomas knocked down a pass at the line to force a quick three-and-out. The Seminoles took over at their own 22 and quickly found their offensive rhythm with Jordan Travis back in the lineup. Travis rushed for ten yards on a draw for the Seminoles’ initial first down. Treshaun Ward broke loose on a flip to the outside to gain 30 yards. TE Jordan Wilson sprung the run with a big block at the line of scrimmage. A late hit out of bounds pushed the Seminoles into the red-zone.

After Miami’s second offsides penalty of the drive, a horse collar tackle gave FSU first-and-goal from the one. On second-and-goal, Travis dove into the end-zone from two yards out to cap a seven-play, 78-yard drive. Miami committed five penalties for 25 yards on the drive.

Defense picks off Van Dyke on back-to-back drives, offense can’t capitalize

Freshman Omarion Cooper made his first career start in place of cornerback Jarrian Jones. The freshman held his ground early. Tyler Van Dyke looked to take a deep shot on the Canes’ fifth play of the game, but Cooper had other ideas. Cooper leaped up over Keyshawn Smith and grabbed his second career interception. Through two drives, Van Dyke was just 2-5 for six yards.

The Seminoles went three-and-out after the interception. Two penalties, a holding and a false start, quickly derailed the drive. Miami’s offense converted on a short third down and a short fourth down to push the ball across midfield. Van Dyke looked to push the ball down the middle of the field, but Jammie Robinson laid the hit stick on Mike Harley. Robinson was able to jar the ball loose and collect it before coming to the ground for an interception. It was Robinson’s third INT of the season.

The Seminoles weren’t able to capitalize on the second interception as well. On third-and-one just across midfield, the Seminoles ran a play action pass with three wide receivers going deep. The Canes brought a well-timed blitz and a free rusher quickly crushed Travis for a big loss, forcing an Alex Mastromanno punt.

Johnson’s strip sack sets up Corbin’s TD

Florida State’s defense came to play with a purpose. Much of that was driven by the defensive line early. The Seminoles seemed to be pressuring Van Dyke on nearly every throw, and that constant pressure paid off for Jermaine Johnson. On third-and-15, Johnson came around the edge and slapped Van Dyke’s arm to force a fumble. Derrick McLendon came out of a dog pile with the ball for a fumble recovery.

After the strip sack, the offense took over at Miami’s 12. Jashaun Corbin made quick work of that 12 yards. On the first play of the drive, Corbin bounced a run outside and outraced everyone on the Miami defense to the pylon for a 12-yard score. After one quarter, the Seminoles led 14-0 and the Hurricanes had 19 more penalty yards than yards of offense.

‘Noles make it an early 17-point lead

The Seminoles made it a 17-0 lead on a Ryan Fitzgerald 22-yard field goal early in the second quarter. A 35-yard reception by Ontaria Wilson set the ‘Noles up with first-and-goal from the four, but the Seminoles were stuffed on a couple runs to force a field goal.

Trick play leads to first Miami TD

The Seminoles were able to climb out of their end-zone with a nine-play, 65-yard drive. But the drive, which started inside their own one, resulted in no points as a Ryan Fitzgerald 52-yard field goal fell well short and gave the Canes good field position. They quickly took advantage. On the third play of the drive, a reverse flea flicker freed up Will Mallory down field. Van Dyke connected with him for a 45-yard gain.

Van Dyke connected with Smith on a slant for a touchdown on third-and-goal, to cut the FSU lead to 10.

FSU gets three back before the half

The Seminoles responded to Miami’s first score with points to end the half. On third-and-three, Travis found a wide open Ward on a wheel route for a 26 yard gain. Corbin picked up 10 for a first down on the next play, before being hit late out of bounds. The penalty pushed FSU into the red-zone. Corbin and Travis were stuffed on back-to-back runs to bring up fourth-and-two from the nine. Norvell ran the clock down to two seconds, before Fitzgerald converted a 27-yard field goal to up the lead to 13 at half. A season ago against Miami, FSU trailed 38-3 at half.

Johnson terrorizes UM again to force three-and-out

The Seminoles received the second half kickoff, but couldn’t put points on the board. The ‘Noles punted after one first down. After an incompletion on first down, Johnson took over again. The defensive end chased down a wide receiver on a sweep for a tackle for loss, bringing up third-and-15. He then brought down Van Dyke on third down for a sack, his second of the night.

Bounces go UM’s way, Canes make it a one-score game

After the sack, FSU took over the ball at their 42. On first down, Corbin came open on a screen with lots of room to run, but Travis’ pass was too hot to handle. A short run brought up third-and-long. The Seminoles were conservative in their play call, but it backfired. Corbin couldn’t control a counter handoff from Travis and Miami picked up the loose ball on the ground to take over at FSU’s 38.

Van Dyke found Thad Franklin Jr for an 18-yard gain to bring up first-and-goal. After a pair of incompletions, the Hurricanes found some luck for a touchdown. Van Dyke threw high to a receiver, but the receiver tipped it up in the air and it was caught by Harley for a 10-yard touchdown.

FSU stalls in UM territory, penalties aid Miami TD drive

Florida State looked like they would have an answer to the Canes’ TD, but a promising drive stalled in UM territory. On third-and-10, Travis rolled to his left and fired to Ja’Khi Douglas for a first down. Travis was brought down by his facemask on the next play and the penalty pushed FSU well into Miami territory. A blown up run brought up third-and-11. The Seminoles ran a QB draw, but it was easily snuffed out by the Canes, forcing a punt from the 38.

Mastromanno pinned the Hurricanes at the three, but Van Dyke dropped a pass in Charleston Rambo’s bread basket on first down for a 33-yard gain. Two plays later, Van Dyke found Jaylen Knighton on a wheel route for a 29 yard gain. A pass breakup by Cooper forced a 53-yard punt. Andres Borregales left the kick short, but Brownlee ran into him, bringing up a fourth-and-six. Rambo then beat Brownlee in one-on-one coverage for a 19-yard gain and a fourth down conversion.

A 12-yard gain on third-and-14 brought up fourth-and-two to begin the fourth quarter. The teams met at midfield in between quarters with a few shoves, but nothing much came out of the dispute. On the first play of the quarter, Van Dyke found Mallory on a play action pass for an easy score. Borregales’ extra point gave UM their first lead of the game.

UM extends lead

Florida State went three-and-out after Miami’s touchdown to take the lead. Van Dyke kept himself on a roll on the following drive. He connected with Rambo for 15 yards to move the Canes into FSU territory. He then ran for 19 yards. After a sack, the QB found Knighton over the middle of the field. Knighton bounced off Brownlee and sprinted into the end-zone for a 35-yard score to extend the lead to eight.

FSU cuts lead to five with short field goal

Ward began the next drive with back-to-back rushes for a first down. A short run brought up fourth-and-inches near midfield. Travis got outside and barely got the first down to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, the QB connected with Darrion Williamson for a first down on third-and-four. A personal foul moved FSU deep into Miami territory, but the drive stalled. On fourth-and-three from the 11 and 4:44 remaining, Norvell decided to kick a 29-yard field goal. Fitzgerald converted the field goal to cut the deficit to five.

“That decision to kick the field goal down 8 — I knew we were going to get a stop. They knew we believed in them, and they showed up tonight.”

Travis leads FSU to game-winning TD

With the decision to kick the field goal, Norvell was putting his trust in the defense. The defense responded to Norvell’s call. After one first down, the defense shut down the Canes. On third-and-four, Johnson and Cooper combined to bring down Mallory a yard short of the first down. Manny Diaz decided to punt with 2:26 remaining. A touchback on the punt set up the Seminoles at their own 20 with 2:19 remaining.

On the very first play of the drive, Travis found Douglas down the sideline for a 59-yard gain. The play looked like a replica of Douglas’ long TD against Notre Dame. Travis’ throw couldn’t have been any more perfect. A false start and some missed assignments looked like they would doom the drive, but Travis stepped up again. On fourth-and-14, Travis threw a dart to Andrew Parchment for a first down. Parchment came up just short of the end-zone, setting up first-and-goal from the one.

After one QB sneak was stuffed, Travis went to his left on a QB sneak for the game-winning touchdown with 27 seconds remaining.


Travis: 18-26, 274 yards, 62 rushing yards, 2 TD

Corbin: 15 rush, 68 yards, TD

Douglas: 4 rec, 90 yards

Ward: 2 rec, 56 yards, 9 rush, 21 yards

Wilson: 3 rec, 52 yards

Johnson: 7 tot tkl, 3 sack, 5 TFL

Cooper: 2 tot tkl, 1 INT, 4 PBU

Up next: The Seminoles will hit the road for their final two games of the season. The first trip will be to Chestnut Hill to face the Boston College Eagles. FSU is 12-5 all time against Boston College. The Seminoles have won each of the last two matchups. In their last trip to BC, FSU topped the Eagles 22-21. Kickoff is scheduled for noon next Saturday. It will be televised on ACC Network.

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