Florida State played with fire four previous times this season. The fifth time, they avoided getting burned yet again… barely.
Thanks to equal parts young Miami’s implosion and the Seminoles’ knack for just knowing how to win, the Seminoles outscored the Hurricanes 20-3 in the last two quarters to escape back to Tallahassee with a 30-26 win. Not only did the win extend FSU’s winning streak to a nation’s best 26 straight games, it also allowed the Seminoles to avoid having its résumé compared to other one-loss teams.
Twice during the game the Seminoles trailed by 16 points, but managed to mount yet another comeback. They have now won three games this season in which they’ve trailed at one point by at least 15 points; no other FBS team has more than one of those comebacks.
It was far from easy for the battle-tested ‘Noles, although that in large part was their own doing. FSU turned the ball over three times — two fumbles, an interception — and although those only led to three U points, they also took away the momentum FSU didn’t find until deep into the third quarter.
Whatever adjustments the defensive coaching staff made at halftime worked wonders. In the first two quarters, UM quarterback Brad Kaaya torched the FSU secondary for 240 yards; the last two quarters, the true freshman was limited to 73. His interception with :39 left sealed the defeat for the ‘Canes, putting an exclamation point on a huge second-half effort for the FSU defense.
Kaaya’s counterpart, Jameis Winston, was far from perfect, but the reigning Heisman winner made just enough plays to help push his team to the win. For the game, Winston completed 23-of-39 passes for 273, one touchdown and an interception.
Dalvin Cook, though, was the offensive hero for the Seminoles. The freshman running back led the team with 92 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns, the last a 26-yarder with 3:05 remaining that proved to be the game-winning score.
Thanks to Mississippi State’s loss, FSU is now the lone remaining Power Five team with an unbeaten mark. Whether they remain No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings remains to be seen, however. Would the committee that sets the rankings punish the Seminoles for a road win over what’s now a four-loss team? They “punished” the ‘Noles last week as one-loss Oregon leapfrogged them into the No. 2 spot, so anything is possible.
It seems likely, though, that FSU will remain in the Top Four for at least another week.
On the Miami side of the equation, the Hurricanes (6-4, 3-3) were officially eliminated from contention in the ACC Coastal. That division is now down to a two-team race consisting of Georgia Tech (6-2) and Duke (4-2).