Florida State jumps out early, cannot hold on in 28-27 loss to Miami

By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
October 6, 2018

MIAMI, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Florida State Seminoles played arguably their best half of football this season, taking a 13-point lead into the locker room at halftime, but were unable to hold onto it as the Noles fell to the Miami Hurricanes, 28-27, in Miami on Saturday.

Leading 20-7 to start the third quarter, the Noles went up 27-7 early in the frame after forcing the Hurricanes to punt and D.J. Matthews did the rest, taking the ball 74-yards to the house.

Unfortunately for FSU, those were the last points scored by the garnet and gold.

With less than five minutes to go in the third, FSU quarterback Deondre Francois was hit in the pocket and fumbled, leading to a Miami recovery and on a fourth-and-goal play, the Hurricanes punched in a N'Kosi Perry three-yard touchdown pass to Lawrence Cager for the duo's second scoring connection of the evening, making for a 27-14 game.

On the very next series, the Seminoles turned the ball over again, this time on a Francois interception while trying to dump the ball off to Tre McKitty. Miami's Michael Pinckney read the play perfectly and gave the ball back to the Canes, setting up for a Perry touchdown pass to Jeff Thomas for 17 yard to pull UM within 27-21.

The Canes put the exclamation point on the evening with 11:52 to play in the fourth quarter. After Florida State had a would-be touchdown wiped off the board on an illegal forward pass penalty on a trick play, the Hurricanes run consecutive plays of 32 yards (Perry to Thomas across the middle) and 41 yards (Perry to Brevin Jordan) to take the eventual game-winning lead, 28-27.

From that point on, neither team could move the ball, and the Seminoles totaled nine plays for 19 yards.

Florida State could not have asked for a better start to the game, scoring on their second offensive series after covering 58 yards on eight plays in just 3:38, putting the first points on the board with a Francois touchdown pass to Keith Gavin from 17 yards out.

Miami answered in the second quarter on the first scoring connection from Perry to Cager in a drive that spanned 83 yards in 7:49.

Florida State scored three more times in the second quarter on two Ricky Aguayo field goals from 42 and 53 yards, respectively, and a Tamorian Terry touchdown reception from Francois from 17 yards out.

In the first half and for a majority of the second half, the offensive line protection was noticeably improved, with Francois having time to make decisions and throws.

The FSU signal caller completed 15-of-30 pass attempts for 129 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

The Noles split the running duties and found some mild success, with Cam Akers logging 46 yards on 11 carries and Jacques Patrick totaled 31 yards on 10 carries.

Miami's Perry, despite completing just 13 passes, totaled 204 yards and four touchdowns in his second career start.

FSU was held to a season-worst 200 total yards and finished the game 5-of-16 on third down.

Miami's three fourth down conversions, two of which also happened to be touchdowns, were the first such conversions the Noles had allowed all season.

FSU now sits at 3-3 on the season and 1-3 in ACC play. They'll face Wake Forest at home in two weeks after a bye next week.

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