Florida State Seminoles vs. Miami Hurricanes Recap – 2016

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Hurricane Matthew skirted by Miami without much impact, allowing the rivalry game between the Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles to continue as scheduled Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium. The Canes entered the night ranked 10th in the AP poll for head coach Mark Richt’s first game against the Noles, ranked 23rd, after returning to his alma mater in Coral Gables.

Florida State Seminoles vs. Miami Hurricanes Recap – 2016

CORAL GABLES, FL - DECEMBER 04: New University of Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt makes the 'U' sign after he was introduced at a press conference at the school on December 4, 2015 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images)
CORAL GABLES, FL – DECEMBER 04: New University of Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt makes the ‘U’ sign after he was introduced at a press conference at the school on December 4, 2015 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images)

THE SET UP

A big reason Richt and Georgia parted ways was his performance against in conference rivals. He finished with a 15-15 record against Tennessee and Florida, only getting to the SEC Championship Game six times, winning just three SEC titles from 2001 to 2015. This duel with the Noles provided him with an opportunity to get off on the right foot against his biggest rival, break the Canes’ six-year losing streak to the Noles, and keep pace with Clemson and Louisville — the two ACC Atlantic Division teams that Miami might see in the conference title game.

StubHub had over 2,000 tickets listed as of Saturday morning due to travel issues caused by Hurricane Matthew. Even the Florida State Marching Chiefs failed to make the trip, leaving this year’s edition of the rivalry without their loud, unrelenting war chant. Canes fans took advantage, filling up the stadium aside from some of the luxury seats in the 72 Club and a few upper deck end zone seats. The official attendance count came in at 65,685.

THE GAME

Things got nasty early, with both teams coming out as far as their own hash marks to talk trash during the coin toss. Deondre Francois (RFR) left the game briefly after taking a big hit from Kendrick Norton (SO) on the last play of the first quarter. That hit drew boos from Nole fans that wanted a roughing the passer penalty, and Francois took several more shots throughout the night. Each team would also have a player ejected for targeting.

Sean Maguire (RSR) filled in for Francois on the next drive, handing off to Dalvin Cook, who busted a 54-yard run up the sideline. It looked like he would score until Corn Elder (SR) turned on the burners to hawk him down at the Miami 22-yard line. Two plays later, Jaquan Johnson (SO) intercepted Maguire.

On the ensuing possession, Miami drove down the field before a false start and two unsuccessful screens set up a third and 19. Brad Kaaya (JR) dropped an absolute dime to Stacey Coley that was initially ruled incomplete. After review, the call was overturned and the Canes claimed a 10-0 lead. Miami would tack on another field goal before the Noles got on the board just before halftime, making it 13-3 going into the break.

Florida State began with the ball in the second half but failed to gain a first down, punting it back and allowing the Canes to drive before Tarvarus McFadden (SO) intercepted Kaaya in the end zone. On the next drive, Francois found Dalvin Cook wide open on a well-designed wheel route to make it 13-10 and quiet the crowd.

Francois cashed in on the following Florida State possession to give the Noles their first lead of the night at 17-13. The Noles would extend that to 20-13 with 9:02 remaining in the game. The Canes punted after giving up back to back sacks on the following drive

The Canes were called for targeting after stopping the Noles on third down with five minutes remaining and fans began throwing bottles onto the field. After a quick clean up, the Canes forced the Noles to punt as Cane fans found a second wind to urge on their team.

Braxton Berrios (JR) returned the punt up the middle to the Florida State 16-yard line. The Canes mustered five yards on the next three plays before Kaaya found Coley for a touchdown on fourth down. It looked like the Canes would tie it up, but the extra point was blocked. With 1:38 left in the game and three time outs, Richt showed an onside kick formation and effectively pooch kicked, pinning the Noles on their 12-yard line. However, Francois and Cook picked up two first downs on the ground and sealed the victory.

In the end, it looked like more of the same for Mark Richt against his rivals and Deondre Francois won’t make it any easier for the Canes in the near future. Francois played a gritty game and got help when he needed it from Cook, who accumulated 209 total yards as the Noles extended their streak over the Canes to seven in a row.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The Canes will look to solve issues with the offensive line after being held to under 100 rushing yards for the first time this season and giving up sacks in big moments. That will be easier said than done with the loss of right tackle Sunny Odogwu (RJR), who went down late in the fourth quarter and was carted off the field postgame.

Miami took their first loss of the year and sits at 4-1 while Florida State avoided their third loss of the year, moving to 3-2. The Canes host North Carolina next week while the Noles will play Wake Forest.

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