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Florida State 41, Miami 14

The SportsXchange

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- In the first meaningful matchup in nearly a decade between two of college football's most storied rivals, No. 3 Florida State recovered from a shaky start by Heisman Trophy hopeful Jameis Winston to defeat No. 7 Miami 41-14 on Saturday night.

The in-state rivals previously played seven times between 1987 and 2004 with both programs ranked in the Top 10 -- and the Hurricanes owned the Seminoles in most of those big games.

But Saturday's matchup marked the return of the rivalry's glory days, and this one belonged to the Seminoles (8-0 overall, 6-0 in the ACC), who beat the Hurricanes (7-1, 3-1) for the fourth year in a row since head coach Jimbo Fisher took over in 2010.

The win should also elevate Florida State -- which came into the game ranked No. 3 in the BCS poll behind No. 2 Oregon -- back in front of the Ducks, who were idle this weekend, when the new rankings come out.

Florida State's P.J. Williams and Nate Andrews each intercepted passes, and the Seminoles' defense shut out Miami in the second half after the teams went to intermission with FSU narrowly ahead, 21-14.

But FSU's offense stayed steady, led by RB Devonta Freeman, the Miami-area native who played the game with a chip on his shoulder after not being heavily recruited by the Hurricanes out of high school.

Freeman led all Seminoles with 76 yards rushing, 98 yards receiving and three touchdowns, while FSU's defense was able to contain the ACC's second-leading rusher, Duke Johnson, who left the game late in the third quarter with an ankle injury and did not return.

Johnson finished with 23 carries for 93 yards before being injured, but the Hurricanes' offense sputtered otherwise and was outgained, 517-275. The Hurricanes' FBS-leading kick return attack was also held in check, never recording a run back over 27 yards.

This victory, however, wasn't as easy as all the rest have been this season for Florida State, which hadn't been tested during its unbeaten start and was hammering opponents by an average of 39.5 points.

Any trouble FSU had Saturday was due to the sporadic early start by Winston, who threw two first-half picks before eventually settling in and playing mistake-free football the rest of the way.

Winston, who finished 21-of-29 passing for 325 yards and one touchdown, was intercepted in the first quarter by Miami's Deon Bush, leading to Miami's first touchdown, and then again with just over two minutes left before halftime.

Both turnovers led to Hurricane TDs from Miami QB Stephen Morris to wideout Allen Hurns, who hauled in scores of 33 and 14 yards and led UM with five catches for 84 yards. Morris ended 16 of 28 for 192 yards and two picks, but outside of those two scoring drives in the first half on short field that totaled 112 yards, Miami was held to 163 yards of offense the rest of the way, spoiling the Hurricanes' best start since 2005.

Freeman set the tone early when he punched in five-yard score to cap a 13-play, 72-yard drive to open the game. The Seminoles would later get a second score by Freeman on a 48-yard catch-and-run from Winston, and another rushing score by fellow RB James Wilder Jr. on a one-yard dive.

The second half was all Florida State, off to its best start since its 1999 national title season. Soon after the second half got under way, Winston engineered a 10-play, 83-yard drive that culminated in Wilder's second score of the game, this time from five yards out. Freeman would add his third score of the game one possession later on a 12-yard run, and Roberto Aguayo added field goals of 28 and 25 yards in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.

Aguayo continued his perfect season and is now 65-of-65 between PATs and FGs this season, a Seminoles record.

Terrance Smith led FSU in tackles with 10, while UM was paced by Denzel Perryman with 11 stops.

NOTES: Two Seminole records were broken in the game -- single-game attendance record of 84,409, and 639 media credentials issued. ... Miami's offensive coordinator James Coley coached his first game against FSU since leaving the Seminoles for the rival Hurricanes in the offseason. ... The 58th meeting in the series marked the ninth time that each team was unbeaten coming into the matchup. They've only met as unbeaten this deep into the season once before: 1991, when they were a combined 18-0 and Miami beat FSU in Tallahassee on its way to the program's fourth national championship. ... FSU is now 8-1 against teams from inside the state (UF, Miami, South Florida and Bethune-Cookman) since 2009.
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