74ºF

10 most memorable games in history of Florida State vs. Miami rivalry

Rivalry has been defined by late-game comebacks, heartbreak

Miami Hurricanes linebacker Michael Pinckney celebrates after an interception to help spur a comeback victory against the Florida State Seminoles at Hard Rock Stadium, Oct. 6, 2018, in Miami Gardens, Florida. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

As Florida State and Miami prepare to do battle once more, Local10.com takes a look back at some of the most memorable games in the history of the rivalry.


First meeting: Miami Hurricanes 35, Florida State Seminoles 13, Oct. 15, 1951

All-time series: Miami Hurricanes 33, Florida State Seminoles 30 (annually since 1969)

Longest win streak: Florida State Seminoles, 2010-16 (7)

Current win streak: Miami Hurricanes, 2017-18


No. 3 Miami Hurricanes (2-0) 26, No. 4 Florida State Seminoles (4-0) 25
Doak S. Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida
Oct. 3, 1987

Miami safety Bubba McDowell breaks up Florida State quarterback Danny McManus' pass intended for tight end Pat Carter in the end zone at Doak S. Campbell Stadium, Oct. 3, 1987 in Tallahassee, Florida. The Hurricanes won 26-25.

This is the game that is widely accepted as elevating the rivalry to a national level. The Seminoles held a 10-3 halftime lead and returned a block punt for a touchdown in the third quarter, extending their lead to 16-3, but senior kicker Derek Schmidt missed the extra-point attempt in what was perhaps a sign of things to come. The Hurricanes scored just before the start of the fourth quarter, and sophomore quarterback Steve Walsh connected with wide receiver Brian Blades to convert the 2-point try, trimming FSU's lead to 19-11 heading into the final 15 minutes. Miami scored again early in the fourth quarter and again converted on a 2-point try to tie the game. The Seminoles were driving when senior quarterback Danny McManus fumbled the snap and Hurricanes cornerback Bennie Blades recovered the football. Walsh and company capitalized on FSU's miscue, finding junior wide receiver Michael Irvin in the end zone to take a 26-19 lead. When McManus connected with sophomore wide receiver Ronald Lewis on 18-yard touchdown with 42 seconds left in the game, FSU head coach Bobby Bowden was faced with a choice: attempt the extra point and settle for a 26-26 tie (the NCAA didn't institute overtime until 1996) or go for the win. Bowden initially sent out Schmidt to kick the extra point, but he was persuaded by his team to let the offense try to win it. Miami safety Bubba McDowell broke up McManus' underthrown pass intended for tight end Pat Carter in the end zone, handing the Seminoles their only loss of the season. Miami went on to win its second national championship in school history, while the game gave birth to FSU's rise as a national college football power. The 1987 season was the first of 14 consecutive years in which FSU won 10 or more games and finished ranked in the top five.

No. 2 Miami Hurricanes (8-0) 17, No. 1 Florida State Seminoles (10-0) 16
Doak S. Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida
Nov. 16, 1991

Miami's Jesse Mitchell exults as dejected Florida State kicker Gerry Thomas walks off the field after missing a field goal that would have won the game for the No. 1-ranked Seminoles in Tallahassee, Florida, Nov. 16, 1991. The Hurricanes won 17-16.

Top-ranked Florida State welcomed second-ranked rival Miami to the state capital for a Sunshine State showdown that would live on in college football history. The Seminoles were third in the nation in scoring, while the Hurricanes were first in the nation in scoring defense and had not allowed a first-half touchdown all season. Something had to give. The Hurricanes scored first on a 74-yard opening drive that was capped with a 2-yard touchdown run by fullback Stephen McGuire, but FSU cut the lead with a 25-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Gerry Thomas. Momentum swung FSU's way in the second quarter courtesy of three Miami turnovers, allowing the Seminoles to take a 10-7 halftime lead on a 1-yard touchdown plunge from backup fullback Paul Moore. Thomas kicked a 31-yard field goal in the third quarter and 20-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to cushion FSU's lead, but Miami kicker Carlos Huerta made it a one-possession game with a 45-yard field goal. The Hurricanes regained the lead with 3:01 left to play on a 1-yard score by backup fullback Larry Jones and the extra point by Huerta. FSU senior quarterback Casey Weldon got the Seminoles within field-goal range with 29 seconds left in the game. Thomas, who was 3-for-3 in previous field-goal attempts, lined up to attempt the potential game-winning, 34-yard field goal, but the football sailed to the right. Thomas left the team after the season and Miami went on to split the national championship with Washington. "Wide Right I" became a part of college football lore. Then along came a sequel.

No. 2 Miami Hurricanes (3-0) 19, No. 3 Florida State Seminoles (4-0) 16
Miami Orange Bowl
Oct. 3, 1992

Florida State kicker Dan Mowrey reacts after missing a 38-yard field-goal attempt against Miami on Oct. 3, 1992. The field goal would have won the game for the Seminoles.

Florida State struck first, scoring on the opening play of the game -- a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by freshman Tamarick Vanover. Miami, which hadn't lost a game at the Orange Bowl since 1985, got on the scoreboard with a field goal in the second quarter and took a 10-7 lead on a 29-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback and eventual Heisman Memorial Trophy winner Gino Torretta to tight end Coleman Bell. Florida State countered with a 22-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Dan Mowrey, sending both teams into the locker room deadlocked at halftime. Mowrey added a 38-yard field goal in the third quarter and a 41-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, extending FSU's lead to 16-10. Miami tied the game on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Torretta to senior wide receiver Lamar Thomas and took the lead again with the extra point. After exchanging punts late in the game, FSU punt returner Corey Sawyer was penalized for attempting an illegal forward pass from his own end zone, resulting in a safety for Miami. The Seminoles got the ball one last time and, led by junior quarterback Charlie Ward, marched down the field to Miami's 25-yard line. Mowrey attempted a 39-yard field goal that would have tied the game, but the football sailed to the right -- again -- as time expired. The game became known as "Wide Right II." Talk about "déjà vu." The Seminoles didn't lose another game that season, finishing second in the nation behind Alabama, which beat the Hurricanes in the Sugar Bowl to win the national championship.

No. 8 Miami Hurricanes (4-1) 27, No. 2 Florida State Seminoles (5-0) 24
Miami Orange Bowl
Oct. 7, 2000

Florida State kicker Matt Munyon reacts after missing a field goal in the final seconds that would have tied the game against Miami at the Orange Bowl, Oct. 7, 2000. The Hurricanes defeated the Seminoles 27-24.

Florida State had won 17 consecutive games and was vying for back-to-back national championships when the second-ranked Seminoles traveled to Miami looking to extend their dominance in the once-storied rivalry. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, were just returning to national prominence after enduring crippling NCAA sanctions that included a reduction of scholarships and three years of probation. The Seminoles rallied from a 17-0 deficit at halftime and took the lead on a 29-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Chris Weinke to wide receiver Atrews Bell with 1:37 left in the game, but Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey wasted little time driving his team down the field and finding tight end Jeremy Shockey in the end zone with 46 seconds remaining for the go-ahead touchdown. Florida State would have one more chance and brought out freshman kicker Matt Munyon to attempt a 49-yard field goal, but the football sailed wide right once more as time expired. "Wide Right III" was born. Munyon's missed kick ended Florida State's five-game winning streak against Miami, and he transferred to Troy after the season. Miami's win put the college football world on notice that the Hurricanes were back.

No. 1 Miami Hurricanes (5-0) 28, No. 9 Florida State Seminoles (5-1) 27
Miami Orange Bowl
Oct. 12, 2002

Florida State kicker Xavier Beitia is comforted after missing a field goal that would have won the game against the Miami Hurricanes on Oct. 12, 2002 at the Orange Bowl in Miami. The Hurricanes won 28-27.

Left or right, the Seminoles just can't catch a break against the Hurricanes. Top-ranked Miami took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Seminoles went into the locker room at halftime with a 17-14 lead. Florida State running back Greg Jones rushed for 189 yards and a touchdown, bowling over would-be tacklers to help the Seminoles mount a large lead. The Hurricanes were trailing 27-14 in the fourth quarter when senior quarterback Ken Dorsey orchestrated Miami's comeback. Dorsey led his team 70 yards in seven plays, finishing the drive with a 2-yard pass to wide receiver Kevin Beard with 8:10 to play. The Hurricanes got the ball back with 5:36 remaining and scored in two plays -- a 68-yard screen pass from Dorsey to sophomore running back Willis McGahee and an 11-yard end around run for a touchdown by junior wide receiver Jason Geathers with 5:17 left on the clock. The extra point by senior kicker Todd Sievers gave Miami a 28-27 lead. The Seminoles had the final possession of the game and were working the field, but without any timeouts, sophomore quarterback Chris Rix had to spike the ball with one second left. Sophomore kicker Xavier Beitia set up for a 43-yard field-goal attempt that would have won the game. He missed the uprights as the ball sailed wide left. So it was named, "Wide Left." Beitia left the field in tears. "That guy started a new trend," Miami defensive line coach Greg Mark said after the game. Miami extended its nation-leading winning streak to 28 games and didn't lose again until the Fiesta Bowl, when Ohio State won 31-24 in double overtime after a controversial pass interference call.

No.10 Miami Hurricanes (10-2) 16, No. 9 Florida State Seminoles (10-2) 14
Orange Bowl, Pro Player Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Jan. 1, 2004

Florida State kicker Xavier Beitia reacts after missing a field goal during the second half of the Orange Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes on Jan. 1, 2004 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

This game was the first and only rematch to date between the state rivals. The Seminoles had already lost to Miami 22-14 earlier in the season in a rain-soaked game that is perhaps best remembered for the crushing hit that senior cornerback Stanford Samuels laid on Roscoe Parrish, sending the sophomore wide receiver to a Tallahassee hospital with internal bleeding. Both teams fell short of their national championship aspirations, instead settling for conference crowns (Florida State won the Atlantic Coast Conference and Miami won the Big East Conference) and a New Year's Day date in the Orange Bowl. Like several other memorable games between the teams, the outcome was decided by a kicker. Florida State jumped out to a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter on a 7-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Chris Rix to sophomore tight end Matt Henshaw, but it would be the last time the Seminoles scored. Miami reeled off the final 13 points of the game. Freshman running back Tyrone Moss crossed the goal line on a 3-yard score with 5:34 to go in the second quarter for Miami's only touchdown of the game, and kicker Jon Peattie, who led all freshmen nationally in scoring, booted a 44-yard field goal just before halftime. Peattie's third field goal of the game was a 51-yard kick that gave the Hurricanes a 16-14 lead in the third quarter. FSU had a chance to retake the lead, but kicker Xavier Beitia missed a 39-yard field-goal attempt with 5:30 to play. The kick sailed -- where else? -- wide right. Although the Seminoles got another possession, the game was dubbed "Wide Right IV." "I missed it," Beitia said after the game. "There's nothing else to say. I didn't make the kick. What is there to say?" Beitia also missed a potential game-winning field goal against Miami in 2002. "Maybe it's a mystique, some kind of a curse," Miami senior linebacker D.J. Williams said. "I know it's always in the back of their kicker's mind." FSU lost consecutive bowl games for the first time since the 1979-80 seasons.

No. 5 Miami Hurricanes 16, No. 4 Florida State Seminoles 10
Miami Orange Bowl
Sept. 10, 2004

Florida State quarterback Chris Rix fumbles as he gets tackled by Miami Hurricanes defensive end Baraka Atkins in the second half on Sept. 10, 2004 at the Orange Bowl in Miami. The Hurricanes beat the Seminoles 16-10 in overtime.

The Seminoles opened the 2004 season the same way they ended the previous season -- with a loss to Miami. The inaugural Atlantic Coast Conference game for Miami, originally scheduled to be played on Labor Day, was postponed four days because of Hurricane Frances. Florida State had a 10-0 lead against the Hurricanes in the fourth quarter when Miami kicker Jon Peattie, who missed two earlier kicks, notched an 18-yard field goal for Miami's first points of the game. The Seminoles failed to score an offensive touchdown. Their lone touchdown came when Miami wide receiver Roscoe Parrish fumbled the football that was recovered by sophomore cornerback Antonio Cromartie and returned 61 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Senior kicker Xavier Beitia, who had been the goat in previous losses to Miami, didn't miss any kicks this time, but a 34-yard field goal attempt was blocked with 3:58 to play. The kick would have sealed a victory for the Seminoles. Instead, Miami got the ball back with a chance to tie the game. Senior quarterback Brock Berlin connected with junior wide receiver Sinorice Moss for a 30-yard touchdown with 30 seconds left to tie the game. Senior quarterback Chris Rix, a four-year starter for the Seminoles, threw two interceptions and fumbled twice, including on FSU's first possession in overtime. The Hurricanes recovered and scored two plays later on an 18-yard touchdown run by junior running back Frank Gore. Rix became the only FSU quarterback to finish with a 0-5 record against Miami. The Seminoles, playing Miami for the third time in less than 11 months, lost their sixth straight against the Hurricanes and failed to win the ACC for just the second time since becoming a member in 1992.

No. 11 Florida State Seminoles 13, No. 12 Miami Hurricanes 10
Miami Orange Bowl
Sept. 4, 2006

Florida State cornerback Michael Ray Garvin celebrates with linebacker Buster Davis and safety Roger Williams after intercepting Miami quarterback Kyle Wright's final pass with 29 seconds left in the fourth quarter at the Orange Bowl, Sept. 4, 2006.

The final game in the Orange Bowl between the rivals is likely memorable for Florida State fans and forgettable for Miami fans. The Seminoles trailed Miami 10-3 at halftime but held Miami scoreless in the second half. Florida State scored the tying touchdown on a 1-yard run by junior fullback Joe Surratt in the fourth quarter and took the lead with a 33-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Gary Cismesia with 8:06 left to play. The Seminoles preserved the win when cornerback Michael Ray Garvin intercepted Miami quarterback Kyle Wright with 29 seconds remaining. The Hurricanes managed only 17 second-half yards, and their 2 rushing yards on 26 carries was the second-lowest total in school history. That was actually better than FSU, which finished with 1 yard on one less carry. Nevertheless, FSU fans walked out of the Orange Bowl victorious against the Hurricanes one last time, winning in Miami for the first time since 1998.

No. 23 Florida State Seminoles (3-2) 20, No. 10 Miami Hurricanes (4-0) 19
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Oct. 8, 2016

Florida State defensive end DeMarcus Walker celebrates after blocking an extra point attempt in the fourth quarter against the Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium, Oct. 8, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Seminoles defeated Miami 20-19.

Miami entered the game unbeaten and ranked 10th in the country. Florida State, meanwhile, was coming off a crushing loss to North Carolina that ended its nation-leading 22-game home winning streak. The Hurricanes led 13-0 in the first half, but Florida State cut the lead with a 31-yard field goal just before halftime. Miami junior quarterback Brad Kaaya threw an interception in the end zone and lost a molar on a helmet-to-helmet hit in the third quarter as the Seminoles mounted a comeback. Florida State scored on three consecutive possessions, including a pair of touchdown catches from junior running back Dalvin Cook and senior wide receiver Kermit Whitfield in the third quarter, to take a 20-13 lead. The Hurricanes were in position to tie the game after Kaaya connected with senior wide receiver Stacy Coley on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 1:38 remaining, but FSU senior defensive end DeMarcus Walker pushed through the line and blocked Miami kicker Michael Badgley's point-after attempt. The game-sealing play was affectionately coined by fans as the "Block at the Rock." Walker went on to become the Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year, and his 15 sacks tied for the national lead. FSU's 20-19 win was its seventh in a row against the Hurricanes.

No. 13 Miami Hurricanes (3-0) 24, Florida State Seminoles (1-2) 20
Bobby Bowden Field at Doak S. Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida
Oct. 7, 2017

Miami wide receiver Darrell Langham catches a pass over Florida State defensive back Tarvarus McFadden for a touchdown to give the Hurricanes a 24-20 win, Oct. 7, 2017, in Tallahassee, Florida.

The Hurricanes snapped a seven-game losing streak in the series, beating FSU for the first time since 2009. Trailing 3-0 at halftime, Miami took a 17-13 lead thanks to wide receiver Braxton Berrios, who hauled in eight catches for 90 yards and two scores. FSU quarterback James Blackman connected with Auden Tate on a 20-yard touchdown with 1:24 remaining in the game, but Miami would not be denied. Quarterback Malik Rosier drove Miami 75 yards in nine plays, culminating with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Darrell Langham with six seconds left.


About the Author: