Florida State-Miami Football Rivalry

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One of the greatest football rivalries in the nation takes place every year in Florida.  Both schools carry storied traditions, big-time players and championship coaches.  One school boasts Chief Osceola and Renegade, the war chant, and the proud nickname of the Seminoles.  The other has Ibis, the U, and the nickname Hurricanes.  One school proudly claims consensus All-Americans such as Fred Biletnikoff, Ron Simmons, Deon Sanders, Derrick Brooks, and Charlie Ward.  The other counters with such greats as George Mira, Ted Hendricks, Russell Maryland, Gino Torretta, and Ed Reed.  Coaching icons such as Bobby Bowden, Jimbo Fisher, Howard Schnellenberger, and Mark Richt all have roamed the sidelines during the rivalry.  When the Florida State University Seminoles and the University of Miami Hurricanes get together, you can throw out the records. These two teams do not particularly like one another and have played some of the most intense games in the history of college football. On numerous occasions, the outcome of the game ended the national title hopes of the loser while giving the winner an inside track to the title.  Florida State has won three national championships and 18 conference titles, including 15 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) crowns. Miami owns five national championships and nine Big East Conference titles.  Both schools currently reside in the ACC.

Miami leads the series 31-30, but Florida State has won the last seven games.  The two schools first met in 1951 (Miami won 35-13), four years after Florida State fielded it first football team.  For years Florida State had an all-female student body and men did not matriculate at FSU until 1946.  Florida State credits the Hurricanes with giving the fledgling Seminole program its first chance to compete against a legitimate, well-established program.  The University of Florida would not play FSU until 1958.  The Seminoles and Hurricanes squared off most years from 1951 through 1969, when the universities agreed to play every year.  FSU and Miami have battled as members of the ACC every year since 2004. Miami has won seven games that were decided by one point while the Seminoles eeked out last year’s game 20-19.  As you might imagine, these teams have had some very memorable affairs.  Let’s take a look at some of them.

  1. 1987 Miami 26-25

Number 4 Florida State led Number 3 Miami 19-3 late in the third quarter when the Hurricanes began their comeback.  Miami quarterback Steve Walsh hit Melvin Bratton for one touchdown and Michael Irvin for two, including a 73-yarder that gave Miami a 26-19 lead with just over two minutes to play.  The Seminoles marched down the field to score a late touchdown but Bobby Bowden’s decision to go for two cost FSU the game.  Bowden’s decision to go for the win instead of a tie was a gutsy call–overtime in college football did not begin until 1996.

 

  1. 1989 Florida State 24-10

College football experts believed the Hurricanes were destined to win the national championship that year.  UM did but not before losing to a two-loss FSU team in Tallahassee for the first time in ten years.  The Gino Torretta-led Miami offense turned the ball over six times and committed 11 penalties.  To this day in the Seminole record book under “Most Penalty First Downs in a Game” Miami’s 13 total penalties leads the category.

  1. 1991 Miami 17-16

In the first of the Wide Right games, FSU led Miami 16-7 in the fourth quarter.  Miami battled back to take a 17-16 lead with 3:01 left in the game behind a Carlos Huerta field goal and a Larry Jones touchdown run.  FSU marched down to the UM 17-yard line and with 29 seconds left Seminole kicker Gerry Thomas came on to attempt the go-ahead 34-yard field goal.  He had already made kicks from 25, 31 and 20 yards.  The kick sailed wide right by the length of a football.  Interestingly, before the 1991 season, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) reduced the distance between the uprights by four feet, 10 inches.

  1. 1992 Miami 19-16

The second installment of Wide Right took place in this game.  FSU entered Number 3 in the nation while Miami stood at Number 2.  Behind future Heisman Trophy winners Charlie Ward of FSU and Torretta, the game stood at 16-10 with nine minutes left.  Torretta then led UM to the go ahead score, 17-16.  The Hurricane defense would add a safety to make the count 19-16.  After the FSU defense held, Ward led the Seminoles down the field in the closing seconds.  Bowden sent Dan Mowery into the game to attempt a final play field goal that would tie the game.  Just like the year before, the FSU kicker missed the field goal, from 39 yards this time, wide right.

  1. 1993 Florida State 28-10

Number 3 Miami entered this contest with a 31-game regular season win streak, and Number 1 FSU would win the national championship this season.  The game was never in doubt.  The Seminoles led 21-7 at the half and put the game away when FSU safety Devin Bush picked off a Frank Costa pass and returned it for a touchdown.

  1. 2000 Miami 27-24

This is the final Wide Right game.  Miami was coming off NCAA probation for rules violations but had its most potent team in years.  FSU owned a five-game winning streak against the Hurricanes but trailed 17-0 at halftime.  However, FSU quarterback Chris Weinke rallied the Seminoles to cut Miami’s lead to 20-17 with 3:15 to go in the game.  After a Miami fumble, Weinke led FSU down the field and hit Atrews Bell with a29-yard strike to give the Seminoles a brief 24-20 lead.  Not to be denied, Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey marched the Hurricanes back the other way and completed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Shockey with 46 seconds to go for the final margin.  FSU took the ensuing kickoff and Weinke led his team down to the Miami 32-yard line for a field goal that would tie the game and send it to overtime.  FSU kicker Matt Munyon kicked it well but the ball sailed wide right as the final horn sounded.

  1. 2005 Florida State 10-7

Experiencing a small measure of revenge, the Seminoles won this game on a Miami kicking miscue.  The Hurricanes worked their way down the field in the fourth quarter to set up a 28-yard field goal that would tie the game.  With just under three minutes to play the Hurricanes set up for the kick, but holder Brian Monroe mishandled the snap.  The kick was never made and the Seminoles held on for the victory.

 

Florida State and Miami are two of college football’s elite programs.  They own eight national championships and 27 conference titles between them.  When the two meet, fierce battles often ensue that are decided by the slimmest of margins.  Add in the traditions of Osceola, Renegade, the war chant, Ibis and the U, and you have all the ingredients that make this one of college football’s greatest rivalries.

 

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