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No. 3 Miami Hurricanes (2-0) 26, No. 4 Florida State Seminoles (4-0) 25, Doak S. Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida, Oct. 3, 1987: 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.
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No. 2 Miami Hurricanes (8-0) 17, No. 1 Florida State Seminoles (10-0) 16, Doak S. Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida, Nov. 16, 1991: 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.
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No. 2 Miami Hurricanes (3-0) 19, No. 3 Florida State Seminoles (4-0) 16, Miami Orange Bowl, Oct. 3, 1992: 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.
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No. 8 Miami Hurricanes (4-1) 27, No. 2 Florida State Seminoles (5-0) 24, Miami Orange Bowl, Oct. 7, 2000: 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.
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No. 1 Miami Hurricanes (5-0) 28, No. 9 Florida State Seminoles (5-1) 27, Miami Orange Bowl Oct. 12, 2002: 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.
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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: 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.
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