|Miami native Devonta Freeman led Florida State with 70 yards rushing and two touchdowns. (US Presswire)|
FLORIDA STATE WON. The Seminoles found themselves in a 10-0 hole early, but eventually wore down Miami with a bruising, balanced attack and relentless second half pressure. The Hurricanes were held without a touchdown for 50+ minutes of game time between their first score and Rashawn Scott's touchdown reception with just 47 seconds remaining. Miami's defense put up a fight, but depth and experience won out in a hard fought meeting between the Sunshine State rivals.
HOW FLORIDA STATE WON: Seminoles fans have been looking for Florida State to improve the way they are finishing games. In the loss to NC State it was their downfall, and if they hope to win an ACC Championship they will need to finish strong in every conference contest down the stretch. When senior running back Chris Thompson left the game with a knee injury, sophomore Devonta Freeman stepped up to be the closer the Seminoles have been looking for. Freeman carried 10 times for 70 yards and two fourth quarter touchdowns, extending the lead beyond a point where even Miami - with home run threats like Phillip Dorsett and Rashawn Scott - could not get back in the game.
The Seminoles held Mike James and Duke Johnson to just 52 yards rushing combined, and the team total of 29 was Miami's lowest of the season. The combination of Florida State's pass rush - led once again by Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine - with solid play in the secondary forced Stephen Morris to check down quickly to his running backs. James actually finished the game as Miami's leading pass catcher as well, with eight receptions for 75 yards.
WHEN FLORIDA STATE WON: Trailing 13 points midway through the fourth quarter, Miami converted on 4th and 6 to keep the drive alive - along with their hopes of pulling the upset. But after a pair of incomplete passes, a loss of 5 and a false start; Bjoern Werner pinned his ears back on 4th and 20 to delver the game-sealing sack at the Miami 20-yard line. Three plays later, Devonta Freeman found the end zone for his second touchdown of the day.
WHAT FLORIDA STATE WON: The third quarter offense is concerning, but Florida State picks up the conference win and continues their march for an ACC title. Considering they spotted Miami 10 points with their own mistakes, the 33-20 final margin sounds about right. Unfortunately for Florida State, the only game left on the schedule in the minds of the fan base is the Florida game on Nov. 24. It will be an interesting final month for the Seminoles, who finish the conference slate at home against Duke (Oct. 27), then at Virginia Tech (Thurs., Nov. 8), and at Maryland (Nov. 17).
WHAT MIAMI LOST: The Hurricanes jumped out to a fast start thanks to breaks they needed to win. But the youth and lack of depth finally showed in the fourth quarter after 45-40 minutes of wear from the deeper and arguably more physical Florida State team. The biggest loss would be if Duke Johnson's leg/ankle/foot injury is nagging - or more serious than expected. Johnson is a unique talent and the most explosive player on the field for the Hurricanes. They will need him as healthy and available as possible to compete for the ACC Coastal Division title down the stretch.
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