Jacksonville Sports Day

ACC: Miami Takes Third Straight Win over Seminoles

TALLAHASSEE – Rivalry games tend to bring the best out of teams and the Miami Hurricanes certainly looked good on Saturday inside Doak Campbell Stadium, earning an impressive 27-10 victory over rival Florida State.

A relentless Miami pass rush recorded a season-high nine sacks, while quarterback Jarren Williams led Miami’s offense up and down Bobby Bowden Field to help the Canes (5-4, 3-3 ACC) win their second consecutive game in Tallahassee.

The win was Miami head coach Manny Diaz’s first over Florida State (4-5, 3-4 ACC) and Miami’s their third straight victory over the rival Seminoles.

“It was just great team ball — offense, defense, special teams,” Diaz said. “We’re becoming what we thought we could become as a team and to do it at Doak Campbell Stadium is pretty special.”

The first highlight by the Miami offense came on its second drive, as DeeJay Dallas caught a screen pass on third-and-10 from the Miami 23 and exploded for 42 yards to the Florida State 35.

Two plays later, Williams delivered a beautiful ball into the waiting arms of a streaking Jeff Thomas for a 39-yard touchdown that put the Canes on top, 7-0.

“They’re very electric guys,” Williams said. “DeeJay did a great job of kind of getting us going early with that screen. He took it down and got us in the red zone and then coach wanted to take a shot and we took a shot. Jeff had one-on-one and he got good separation and I just put it out there for him to go make a play.”

Williams, who finished 21-of-37 for 313 yards and two touchdowns, became the third different UM starting quarterback to beat the Seminoles in the last three years, joining Malik Rosier (2017) and N’Kosi Perry (2018).

Miami’s defense announced its presence loudly on the ensuing Florida State possession, as Jonathan Garvin and Gregory Rousseau each had big hits on sacks of FSU quarterback Alex Hornibrook to put the Noles in a fourth-and-30 and force a punt. The two sacks were the first of a season-high nine by the Hurricanes, setting a record for the most sacks allowed by Florida State in a single game in program history. Miami also tallied a season-best 16 tackles for loss, routinely dominating the Seminoles’ offensive line and wreaking havoc in the backfield.

“They were relentless,” Diaz said. “If you get dominated up front, there are not a lot of things that work.”

The Hurricane defense rose to the occasion on FSU’s next drive, as the Seminoles drove down to the UM 9 before a tackle for loss by Shaq Quarterman and a sack by Amari Carter pushed the Noles back to the Miami 20.

FSU kicker Ricky Aguayo converted a 37-yard field goal attempt to cut the Miami lead to four with 10:15 remaining in the opening half.

Florida State forced the first turnover of the game, strip-sacking Williams on third-and-10 from the FSU 26. The 11-yard sack by Amari Gainer jarred the ball loose and Hamsah Nasirildeen recovered the fumble on the Seminoles’ 37.

But Miami’s defense answered the sudden change in a big way, getting a stop on fourth-and-one from the FSU 46 when Trevon Hill tackled Cam Akers for no gain to end the Seminoles’ possession and give the ball back to the Canes in Florida State territory.

The Hurricanes capitalized on the short field, as Williams delivered a beautiful throw to Mike Harley on third-and-4 from FSU 40 for a 34-yard gain. One play later, Dallas bullied his way through the FSU defense for a six-yard rushing touchdown that gave Miami a 14-3 lead with 3:58 left in the half.

Miami’s menacing defensive front got right back to work, as Rousseau sacked Hornibrook for a 10-yard loss on the first play of the FSU drive.

The sack was the redshirt freshman’s second of the game and 10th of the season, giving him the first 10-sack season by a Cane since Kareem Brown (11) and Calais Campbell (10.5) in 2006.

Three plays later, FSU punter Tommy Martin’s punt traveled just 23 yards and Miami’s offense took over possession at the Florida State 46.

“It was great,” Rousseau said of the win. “We needed that momentum. We played a solid game in all three phases. I am just so happy for the coaches, those guys in the locker room and the program as a whole.”

For the second consecutive possession, Miami turned excellent field position into points. Williams and the Canes ended the half with a 10-play scoring drive that was capped by a 29-yard field goal from Camden Price to send the Hurricanes into the locker room with a 17-3 halftime lead.

Miami’s defense, which held Florida State to just 88 total yards in the first half, continued its success right out of the intermission. DJ Ivey deflected a Hornibrook pass and Bubba Bolden snatched the deflected ball for an interception at the FSU 47, earning his first career Turnover Chain.

But the Seminoles stopped the Canes on fourth-and-1 from the FSU 38 to regain possession on downs and carried that momentum into their first touchdown drive of the day.

The six-play, 62-yard scoring drive was capped by an 18-yard screen pass to Akers for a touchdown that snapped a streak of eight regulation quarters by the Miami defense without surrendering a touchdown and cut the Hurricanes’ lead to seven points, 17-10.

Florida State forced a Miami punt on the Canes’ next possession and had was near midfield before Rousseau sacked Hornibrook for as six-yard loss on third-and-10 from the FSU 45 to record his second straight game with three sacks.

The sack made Rousseau just the ninth Hurricane in program history to reach 11 sacks in a single season.

“It really feels good when all the work you put in pays off,” Rousseau said. “We needed that momentum. We played a solid game in all three phases. I’m just so happy for the coaches.”

Miami opened the fourth quarter with a 37-yard field goal attempt, but Price’s kick sailed wide right and the UM lead remained at seven, 17-10.

After another defensive stand, the Canes needed just one snap to cash in on their next possession. Williams hit Dee Wiggins in stride deep over the middle for a 56-yard touchdown. Wiggins’ first career touchdown bumped Miami’s lead up to 14 points with 12:05 remaining in the game.

“First touchdown, a big game,” Wiggins said. “I was very excited. I’ve been waiting on that moment my whole life. I thank the O-linemen for that, I thank the quarterback for that and I thank my teammates and my receivers and my receivers coach and my head coach.”

The relentless Miami defensive front continued its pursuit of Hornibrook, with Nesta Silvera delivering a big blow on the first snap of the ensuing FSU possession for an eight-yard loss. Two plays later, Rousseau sacked Hornibrook for a four-yard loss, recording the first four-sack game of his career.

“It really feels good when all the work you put in pays off,” Rousseau said. “We got out there on Greentree and work every single day. Even though sometimes things don’t go our way, we are always working and competing and we always try to compete every single Saturday the best we can.”

Miami added three more points on its next possession, with Price splitting the uprights from 32 yards out, to give the Hurricanes a 17-point advantage with 6:27 left to play.

James Blackman replaced Hornibrook at quarterback, but Miami continued to rock the Seminole quarterback. Hill sacked Blackman on the second play of the FSU drive and Gurvan Hall picked off the redshirt sophomore and returned the interception 26 yards to the Florida State 44. The turnover sent the Miami sideline into a frenzy of jubilation and punctuated an impressive road win for the Hurricanes.

“Winning on the road in the league is always special, like we saw last week, but winning on the road at your rival is one of the most special nights you could have,” Diaz said.

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