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A Big Finish for Miami

Gore's touchdown clinches 16-10 overtime victory over Florida State, again stung by its kicking game.

September 11, 2004|Chris Dufresne | Times Staff Writer

MIAMI — Florida State botches a field-goal attempt, Miami wins.

Only the names and the years change.

In the first Atlantic Coast Conference game played between fabled football schools, No. 5 Miami rallied from a 10-0 deficit Friday night to defeat No. 4 Florida State in overtime, 16-10, in front of an Orange Bowl crowd of 78,622 that had all but conceded defeat.

"Are all the games in the ACC like this?" Miami Coach Larry Coker asked. "I may not like this league."

In the latest chapter of this ongoing and often times cruel and unusual series, Miami tailback Frank Gore raced 18 yards for the game-winning touchdown after Florida State failed to score on its overtime possession.

Miami's victory was its sixth straight against Florida State.

Bobby Bowden, the 74-year-old coach Florida State coach, arrived late in Miami this week after attending the Thursday funerals of his grandson and former son-in-law, killed in an automobile accident earlier this week.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday September 12, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches; 23 words Type of Material: Correction
College football -- An article in Saturday's Sports section about the Florida State-Miami game misspelled Florida State kicker Xavier Beitia's surname as Bietia.

Bowden, major college football's winningest coach with 342 victories, suffered his 100th career loss on Friday, 19 of those have come against Miami.

"We had a chance to put them away and we didn't," a sullen Bowden said afterward. "They had a chance to put us away and they did."

In other words, it was the same old story.

You knew a field goal would play a part in any Florida State defeat to Miami, right?

Missed attempts in 1991, 1992, 2000, 2002 and last season's Orange Bowl are part of Florida State's cursed history against Miami.

Add this game to the list.

"It's as disappointing as you can get," Bowden said. "We couldn't hold an 11-point lead last year, 13 the year before and 10 tonight."

Friday night, Florida State had a chance to take a 13-3 lead with less than four minutes left when Xavier Bietia's 34-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Devin Hester, giving Miami the ball back at its 20, down by a touchdown, with 3:58 left.

"It's amazing, our kicking game against Miami," Bowden said. "They haven't blocked one before tonight, we just missed them. We would have won the darn game with that kick."

Of the five missed field goals that had haunted the Florida State program against Miami since 1991, Bietia has been involved in two.

In 2002, he hooked a 43-yard attempt in a 28-27 loss.

Last season, in the Orange Bowl, Bietia missed a 39-yard attempt with 5:30 left in a 16-14 loss to Miami.

It appeared Bietia's miss on Friday wasn't going to be costly.

Miami took over on downs with 3:58 left, but quarterback Brock Berlin's pass on second down was intercepted by Antonio Cromartie with 3:42 remaining.

Game over?

Not quite.

Florida State went three-and-out and had to punt the ball back to Miami with 1:22 left in regulation.

The Hurricanes then drove 80 yards in 52 seconds for the game-tying score, a 30-yard scoring pass from Berlin to Sinorice Moss with 30 seconds left.

Of his team's last-minute drive, Berlin said, "I could see it in our eyes. We knew. We knew. We knew we were going to take it down and score."

Florida State got the ball back one more time in regulation, but could not get down the field before time expired.

Miami won the flip in overtime, and elected to go on defense first.

Florida State's overtime possession was disastrous from the start.

A holding penalty on first down pushed the Seminoles back to their 35.

From there, Lorenzo Booker was tackled for an eight-yard loss by Antrel Rolle.

Facing second and 28, quarterback Chris Rix completed a 15-yard pass to Craphonso Thorpe.

But, on third and 13 from the 28, Rix fumbled the center snap, with Miami's Thomas Carroll recovering.

Miami then took its overtime possession on the 25. Gore plunged for seven yards on first down and then, from there, scored the winner on his 18-yard run.

It was a sweet moment for Gore, making a second comeback from major knee surgery.

Gore finished with 89 yards in 18 carries.

"It takes a lot of guts, a lot of heart," Berlin said of Gore. "He showed what he was made of today."

Friday's finish capped what had been an otherwise sloppy game in which both offenses struggled.

Florida State amassed only 165 total yards, while Miami rallied to finish with 364.

Rix completed 12 of 28 passes for only 108 yards, with two interceptions.

Berlin completed 20 of 36 passes for 255 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

The teams were supposed to open the season on Sept. 6, but the game was postponed because of Hurricane Frances.

Friday's game was threatened by Hurricane Ivan, which was churning near Jamaica when Miami and Florida State kicked off.

University of Miami President Donna Shalala said the decision to play was made at 11 a.m. Friday.

Friday's game marked the 13th time that Florida State and Miami have ranked in the top 10 when the schools have met.

"This is a game you remember the rest of your life as a coach," Coker said.

Bowden could say the same.



Nixing Rix

Florida State's Chris Rix became the first starting quarterback to lose to one team five times after Rix and the Seminoles lost to Miami, 16-10, in overtime on Friday. A look at Rix's career against Miami:

*--* YEAR RESULT TD INT YDS 2004 Lost 16-10 (OT) 0 2 108 2004 Lost 16-14* 1 1 96 2003 Lost 22-14 2 2 235 2002 Lost 28-27 1 0 83 2001 Lost 49-27 1 4 222


* Orange Bowl

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