FSU folds again in Miami

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MIAMI (AP)—Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has experienced several late collapses against Miami.

This one may have been the worst yet.

The fourth-ranked Seminoles led 10-3 with 1:22 to play Friday night, and No. 5 Miami needed to go 80 yards to tie the game—something the Hurricanes hadn’t done all night.

But, in this series, nothing surprises Bowden anymore. Miami evened the score with 30 seconds to play and won 16-10 in overtime on Frank Gore’s 18-yard run, extending the Hurricanes’ series winning streak to six games.

“Those things just happen,” said Bowden, who fell to 11-19 against his in-state rival. “There are years we beat them and times they beat us. It’s one of those things that will eventually happen. We just have to keep working at it.”

The Hurricanes (1-0) have come from behind in the last three meetings in Miami.

They trailed 27-14 midway through the fourth quarter in 2002 before rallying for a 28-27 victory. They were losing 14-3 in the 2004 Orange Bowl before scoring 13 straight points and winning 16-14.

And they were down 10-0 Friday night.

“This was beyond frustration,” Bowden said. “This is about as disappointing as it gets.”

The meeting was the third in less than 11 months for the teams. The game was delayed four days because of Hurricane Frances. Last Sunday, Bowden’s 15-year-old grandson and former son-in-law were killed when their car was hit a by a utility truck that was helping to restore power outages caused by the hurricane.

Bowden said the distractions didn’t affect his team.

Quarterback Chris Rix and the kicking game did, though.

Rix threw two interceptions and fumbled twice, including a crucial one in overtime. He finished 12-of-28 for 108 yards and played as poorly as he had in five losses against Miami.

Xavier Beitia had a 34-yarder blocked with about four minutes to play. The kick would have given Florida State a 10-point lead. Instead, it gave Miami life. Brock Berlin then led the Hurricanes on the game-tying, 80-yard drive.

The Seminoles (0-1) had a chance to pull ahead in overtime. But Rix fumbled on third down, and Gore ended it from there.

After the game, Bowden hinted that a quarterback change might be necessary.

But Miami’s defense may have had a lot to do with Rix’s mistakes. The unit held Florida State to 57 yards rushing, caused four turnovers and sacked Rix three times.

Miami cornerback Antrel Rolle and a defensive line led by Orien Harris and Baraka Atkins were the most disruptive, hardly looking like a unit that lost seven starters, including four selected in the first round of the NFL draft.

“Defensively, I was really impressed,” Hurricanes coach Larry Coker said Saturday. “There’s some things we have to tweak and some mistakes we made to give them a completion or two here or there, but all in all you saw the pressure on the quarterback.

“The thing we have to be careful is to go out being satisfied, saying ‘We beat Florida State. Well, the defense is good. Here we go.’ We can’t expect this type of performance from the standpoint of not having the offense score and also putting the defense in a hole. But we did answer some questions. To have our defense respond like that and answer the questions like that, says a lot.”

The Seminoles were left with plenty of questions, mostly concerning the quarterback situation and another late collapse.

Bowden also watched his team blow late leads in 1991 and 1992, games that ended with missed kicks—which has defined this series for the Seminoles.

“It seems like we always come out on the short end,” Bowden said. “The close games, they win.”

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