Up 23-7 in the second quarter it was rather apparent that the Canes had gotten off to the fast start they desired. True freshman Brad Kaaya had tossed two touchdown passes while Miami’s defense was playing with a fire and intensity, never before seen during the Golden regime. At that point, however, is when Hurricanes fans began to sit through an all too familiar film.
Down 13 going into the second half, the Florida State Seminoles did something to Miami that they have been doing to teams all year long; bring them back to reality. Whether it was on national television against Louisville, or on the road against NC State, the Noles have reminded teams time and time again that they are on a different level.
Led by much maligned Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston, FSU went on a tear, putting up 20 second-half points and dominating time of possession. Defensively, the Noles made an offense that seemed lethal in the game’s first two quarters a non-factor. Through turnovers and quarterback pressure, FSU forced Miami into punting situations, and a total of 3 points in the second half. Whether it was because of fumbles and dropped touchdowns offensively, or lapses in coverage and poor tackling defensively, Miami didn’t have enough to match Florida State’s firepower.
Even with all of the Seminoles’ second-half offensive success and defensive dominance, it was Miami who found themselves with the fate of the game in their hands. With 3:05 remaining and possession, Brad Kaaya and the Hurricanes had a chance to redeem themselves. A chance to right all the wrongs displayed throughout the game’s final two quarters and come away with a victory. It was then, however, that an all too familiar realization became more obvious and demoralizing than ever. Miami is not what they were, they can’t finish games.
Before this showdown, there was more hype around Miami’s football program than there has been all year. Florida State’s recent troubles had instilled more hope into the Hurricane fan base than there has been in a long time. Although many writers jumped to the prediction of a Canes victory, some analysts stuck to a basic opinion that should ring in the minds of Canes’ fans everywhere; I’ll believe Miami can play a complete game from start to finish when I see it.
Yes, Miami has improved drastically since their heart breaking loss to Louisville in their opening game, but they still have a long way to go before they can beat the champions. Because for this fan base and program, hanging with the Seminoles isn’t enough. This program’s history suggests that winning is a foregone conclusion, no matter what the opponent or circumstance. The Hurricanes showed major improvement this year, but on that fateful Saturday night in Sun Life stadium, FSU taught Miami a lesson no hurricane wanted to learn; you’re not there yet.