'Noles fall to 'Canes ... again

Florida State misses a fourth-quarter field-goal attempt that would have given it the lead.

Quarterback Brock Berlin and the Hurricanes won Thursday for their fifth consecutive victory over the Seminoles.

The Associated Press
Published: Friday, January 2, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 2, 2004 at 1:42 a.m.

MIAMI - Florida State didn't want this rematch. Now everyone knows why.

Jarrett Payton ran for 131 yards, Jon Peattie kicked three field goals and Miami shut out the Seminoles in the second half to give the Hurricanes a 16-14 win Thursday night in the Orange Bowl.

It was No. 10 Miami's fifth consecutive victory in the heated series - its longest winning streak since 1957. No. 9 Florida State lost consecutive bowl games for the first time since the 1979 and 1980 seasons.

Like several other memorable games in this storied rivalry, the outcome was decided by a kicker.

Not only did Peattie hit a career-long 51-yarder to give the Hurricanes the lead in the third quarter, but Florida State's Xavier Beitia missed a 39-yarder with 5:30 to play.

And yes, it was wide right.

It was the fifth time a Florida State kicker has missed a decisive kick in this rivalry. Beitia also missed a 43-yarder wide left against Miami as time expired in 2002, and the Hurricanes won 28-27.

Miami (11-2) sealed the latest victory with a defensive stand with less than two minutes to play. Chris Rix's final pass fell incomplete. Rix was 2-of-12 for 18 yards in the second half - another poor performance against Miami.

He threw two interceptions in the first meeting.

This game wasn't as close as the final score indicated. The Hurricanes outgained Florida State 375 yards to 206 yards and scored the final 13 points. They also finished with 218 yards rushing.

Payton provided many of the big plays on offense, and Sean Taylor, Vince Wilfork and others did the damage on defense.

But Peattie was equally effective.

His 51-yarder came a play after Miami punted. Florida State (10-3) was penalized 5 yards for illegal substitution, moving the Hurricanes into field-goal range.

Peattie also connected from 32 and 44 yards.

He had one blocked from 45 yards with 2:18 remaining, but it didn't matter.

It was the second of three meetings in less than 11 months between the instate rivals. Miami beat Florida State 22-14 in October, and they are scheduled to open the 2004 season in Miami - the Hurricanes' first game as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Along with Virginia Tech and eventually Boston College, Miami will help the ACC become a 12-team league with a moneymaking championship game.

The downside might be that winning a conference title and playing for a national title could become much tougher for Miami and Florida State - which have dominated their respective leagues since 1992.

The Hurricanes have won the Big East eight times, including four in a row. The Seminoles have won 11 ACC titles in 12 seasons.

The schools also have combined to play for the national championship in 12 of the last 18 seasons, including five in a row before this season. Florida State was in the title game in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Miami played for it all in 2001 and 2002.

No one wanted this rematch in the Orange Bowl. And when the Bowl Championship Series announced the pairings early last month, coaches,

players and fans were disappointed.

But once the initial shock wore off, everyone realized what they were getting - an intense rivalry game between two of college football's top programs.

The game certainly proved that.

Trailing 14-10, the Hurricanes were in position to take the lead before halftime with the ball at the 13. But the Seminoles sacked Brock Berlin on consecutive plays - the first sacks against Miami in the last five meetings.

Miami settled for Peattie's second field goal and a 14-13 deficit at the break.

Peattie opened the scoring with a 32-yarder on the first possession.

Florida State scored touchdowns on consecutive possessions in the second quarter to take a 14-3 lead. Lorenzo Booker took a direct snap and ran around the right end for a 10-yard score on the first play of the second quarter.

Four plays after an 8-yard punt by Brian Monroe, Greg Jones ran up the middle for 24 yards and set up Chris Rix's 7-yard touchdown pass to Matt Henshaw. Jones broke through the line, eluded two linebackers and then ran over All-America safety Sean Taylor at the 15.

The Hurricanes scored on the ensuing possession - behind more strong runs by Payton - to make it 14-10. Payton turned the corner on the left side and gained 46 yards, then had runs of 6 and 2 yards to set up Tyrone Moss' 3-yard touchdown.

Payton ran for 97 yards in the first meeting, which was played on a sloppy field in Tallahassee. He did most of damage then between the tackles. He was more effective Thursday night outside, showing a rare burst of speed.

TO THE NFL? Miami could have as many as four juniors leave school early for the NFL.

All-America tight end Kellen Winslow, All-America safety Sean Taylor and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said this week that they probably would announce their decisions Thursday night after the Orange Bowl against Florida State.

Cornerback Antrel Rolle said he will consider foregoing his senior season, but only if he is projected to be drafted in the first round.

For the Seminoles, All-America left tackle Alex Barron said he will petition the NFL underclassman advisory council for feedback on where he might get selected and then make a decision on his future.

OFF THE BENCH: Florida State All-America left tackle Alex Barron and safety B.J. Ward came off the bench in the first quarter against Miami. Neither player started the Orange Bowl after missing several practices.

Barron, a 6-foot-6, 319-pound junior who started all 12 games this season, missed six days of practice, including three last week when he returned home following the death of his grandmother. He sat out the first two series before replacing freshman Mario Henderson, who made his first career start.

Ward missed five days of practice because of a personal family issue in Texas. He replaced Pat Watkins on the opening drive.

SACKING MIAMI: Florida State sacked Miami quarterback Brock Berlin on the Hurricanes' final two offensive plays of the first half, marking the first time the Seminoles had managed to sack a Hurricanes' signalcaller in the last five games between the teams.

For a defense that has traditionally gotten to the quarterback often, Florida State's sackless streak against Miami was an obvious source of frustration. Before the game, linebacker Michael Boulware called the streak ``embarrassing.''

The sacks did help prevent a touchdown and knocked the Hurricanes back 14 yards, but Miami kicker Jon Peattie salvaged the drive by making a 44-yard field goal on the final play of the half.

FASHION STATEMENT: The Seminoles wore white pants with garnet jerseys for the first time in school history. The seniors asked for the combination, which differs from Florida State's normal home uniform of either garnet or gold pants with garnet tops.

The Hurricanes wore orange pants for just the second time in four seasons - both against Florida State. They also wore orange pants in the 22-14 victory in October.

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