No. 13 Miami’s late TD beats Florida State
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — It’s official: The U is back.
No. 13 Miami snapped a seven-year losing streak to rival Florida State on Saturday in dramatic fashion, winning 24-20 when quarterback Malik Rosier found receiver Darrell Langham from 23 yards out for the game-winning score with six seconds left.
It was Langham’s only catch of the game.
The game-winning touchdown capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive in 1:18 that started at Miami’s 25. The Hurricanes (4-0, 2-0 ACC) picked up two first downs on third-and-10 during the drive, which included huge catches by senior receiver Braxton Berrios.
“We made it a rivalry again,” said Berrios, who led the Hurricanes with eight catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
Miami’s last win in the rivalry came in 2009 when it beat FSU 38-34.
Rosier, who had just 57 yards passing in the first half, finished 19 of 44 for 254 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception. When asked after the game what changed in the second half, he pointed to Berrios.
“He’s just great, man. He always does his job, has amazing attention to detail,” said Rosier, who is 5-0 as a starter in his college career. “Right now, it just feels great to know we got the job done after (a seven-game losing streak to Florida State). This was for all the guys (before us) that didn’t win.”
The loss marked Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher’s first defeat against Miami since he took over the program in 2010. After starting the season as a prime contender for the College Football Playoff, the Seminoles are 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the ACC.
“We are sad; we are disappointed,” Fisher said. “But that was a great game between two great teams and two rivals. No reason to hang your head after that football game. We just needed to make one more play than we did.”
Miami second-year head coach Mark Richt was going to enjoy this one.
“We had a wonderful celebration in the locker room,” said Richt, who is 7-1 in road games since taking the job last year. “It was a long time coming for our players, coaches administration, but certainly a long time coming for our fans. I’m probably most happy for them.”
Richt, whose team trailed 3-0 at halftime, was also happy for Langham.
“I don’t know if Langham was smiling as big up here as he was when he walked in the door, but just to see a guy like that make a play like that and smile (as wide as he was) was a lot of fun,” Richt said.
With 1:24 remaining in the game and Miami up 17-13, Seminoles quarterback James Blackman hit wide-open receiver Auden Tate for a 20-yard touchdown.
It looked for a moment like it would be the second straight week in which a Blackman-to-Tate connection would win a game for the Seminoles, who beat Wake Forest 26-19 on a 40-yard game-winning touchdown connection by the duo.
Blackman finished 17 of 28 for 203 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Tate was the Seminoles’ leading wideout with three catches for 56 yards and a score, while tight end Ryan Izzo hauled in four receptions for 54 yards.
Florida State was led on the ground by freshman running back Cam Akers, who tallied 121 yards on 20 carries.
The Miami defense was led by safety Jaquan Johnson with 12 tackles, while fellow defensive backs Dee Delaney and Michael Jackson each recorded interceptions in the win.
Florida State’s defense was stout all game against the run — allowing only 83 yards on the ground — but it wasn’t enough. Seminoles defensive back Kyle Meyers was the team’s leading tackler with six stops, while defensive back Stanford Samuels picked off Rosier for his first career interception.
After Miami struggled on offense for the entire first half, its first drive after intermission went for 12 plays and 62 yards as the Hurricanes tied the game 3-3 on a 31-yard field goal by Michael Badgley.
The first touchdown of the game came with 6:57 remaining in the third quarter. Following a 44-yard punt return by Berrios to the Florida State 21-yard line, Rosier connected with Berrios on the first play of the drive as the Hurricanes pulled ahead 10-3.
The Seminoles answered early in the fourth quarter when Blackman found Izzo on a 15-yard pass to tie the game at 10 with 12:17 remaining.
Florida State kicker Ricky Aguayo gave the Seminoles the lead at 13-10 with a 38-yarder with 6:55 left.
“We’re very disappointed. We feel like we should’ve won the game,” said Seminoles linebacker Matthew Thomas, who is a native of Miami. “We’ve just got to keep our heads up and move forward. We’ve got a lot to play for — and we’ve still got a lot of pride.”
NOTES: Saturday’s attendance was 78,169. ... Miami head coach Mark Richt won two national titles as an assistant coach with the Seminoles in 1993 and 1999. ... Florida State’s hero in last year’s 20-19 win against Miami — former All-American defensive end DeMarcus Walker, who blocked Miami’s game-tying extra point with a minute left in the game — served as an honorary captain for Saturday’s coin toss. Walker was able to attend the game because his NFL team, the Denver Broncos, are on a bye this week. ... The Hurricanes’ all-time road record against Florida State is 15-10 after Saturday’s win. ... Florida State starting receiver and kicker returner Keith Gavin injured his right leg after the Hurricanes’ first touchdown on a return and did not come back.