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The Top Ten Most Memorable FSU-Miami Games

By Carlos Pineda
SouthernPigskin.com
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As seventh-ranked Miami visits third-ranked Florida State, we look back at 10 of the most memorable games of the rivalry.

Saturday night at Doak Campbell Stadium marks the first time since the 2004 season that both Miami and Florida State are ranked in the top-10 heading into their annual matchup.

In a series that was first played in 1951 and became a yearly showdown in 1969, this game became a national fixture in the 1980s as both the Hurricanes and Seminoles became national powers. While the series hasn't hit fever pitch in recent years, the hype has been rejuvenated once again this year, even if FSU is a heavy favorite heading into Saturday's top-10 primetime showdown.

In the history of the 57-game series, this game marks the 14th time both teams are in the top-10 at kickoff. In the 80s and early 90s, the rivalry was so rich that for seven straight years (1987-1993) both teams entered the game ranked in the top 10.

As seventh-ranked Miami visits third-ranked Florida State, we look back at 10 of the most memorable games of the rivalry.

1987: (3) Miami 26, (4) Florida State 25 — The Hurricanes were en route to the program's second national championship, but those hopes seemed dim against FSU. The Seminoles held a 19-3 lead late in the third quarter before UM launched its trademark comeback. Steve Walsh had touchdown passes to Melvin Bratton and two to Michael Irvin, including a 73-yard strike that gave Miami the lead with a little over two minutes remaining in the game. The Miami defense staved off an FSU two point conversion to get the one-point victory.

1988: (6) Miami 31, (1) Florida State 0 — Fresh off of its second national title, Miami felt disrespected by rival Florida State. Despite being the reigning champions, the Hurricanes took a backseat to preseason No. 1 FSU. On top of that, the Seminoles released the infamous "Seminole Rap" video, which may have served as extra motivation for UM. Miami throttled the Noles 31-0 in the season opener. The Hurricanes dominated all facets of the showdown, taking a 17-0 lead at the half.

On ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary, "The U," Walsh said Jimmy Johnson felt they weren't getting respect from Florida State.

"You know men, we're the reigning national champion from the 87 season and I think we've earned a certain level of respect," Walsh said. "I don't feel we're getting respected by one particular team."

1989: (8) Florida State 24, (2) Miami 10 - Miami entered the game as one of the prohibitive favorites to bring home the national championship, despite having redshirt freshman Gino Torretta forced into action due to an injury. Although the Hurricanes did ultimately bring home the national title in 1989, they wouldn’t do so without first stubbing their toe against a 5-2 Florida State squad. Miami’s offense turned the ball over six times, committed 11 penalties and turned the ball over once on downs, as Florida State held on for its first home win over Miami in a decade.

1991: (2) Miami 17, (1) Florida State 16 — Known simply as "Wide Right." The Hurricanes found themselves trailing 17-6 early in the fourth quarter of the "Game of the Century." Sparked by a 10-point rally, UM took a 17-16 lead with 3:01 left in the game. Although Florida State kicker Gerry Thomas hit field goals of 25, 31 and 20 yards, his 34-yard attempt sailed right. The Hurricanes would go on to win share of the national title with Washington. Miami would also become the last road team to win in Tallahassee for 10 years.

After the game FSU head coach Bobby Bowden famously said: "I think the curse is they're on our schedule. They're going to chisel on my tombstone, 'At least he played Miami.' "

1992: (2) Miami 19, (3) Florida State 16 — A year later and in a different venue, the result proved to be same. "Wide Right II" was another dagger in the hearts of the FSU faithful. With a national title on the line, Seminole kicker Dan Mowrey missed the game-tying field goal. The image of Mowrey hunched over on the field and quarterback Danny Kanell looking on is still an iconic one til this day. 

1993: (1) Florida State 28, (3) Miami 10 — The 1993 season belonged to Florida State. Many times before, Miami deprived the Seminoles of playing for a national title. But not that year. FSU built a 21-7 halftime lead and sealed its fate when safety Devin Bush picked off Frank Costa and scored a touchdown to put the exclamation point on the win. Despite losing at Notre Dame late in the season, the Seminoles beat Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to clinch their first national championship.

2000: (7) Miami 27, (1) Florida State 24; Wide Right III — Suffering from NCAA sanctions, the Hurricanes entered this game poised to rejoin the nation's elite after five years of rebuilding from NCAA sanctions. Florida State, the defending national champion, rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit to take a four-point lead with 1:37 left in the game. Chris Weinke, who passed for 496 yards and three touchdowns in the game, hit Atrews Bell on a 29-yard score to put the Seminoles ahead. But UM didn't surrender. Sophomore Ken Dorsey led Miami on "The Drive," hitting six of seven passes and driving the Hurricanes 68 yards to get the winning score. Dorsey connected with Jeremy Shockey for a 13-yard touchdown with 46 seconds remaining. With one final chance, Matt Munyon's 49-yard attempt sailed right and Miami ended a five-game losing streak to the Seminoles. Controversy in the BCS allowed FSU to play in the national title game over Miami despite the Hurricanes winning head-to-head.

2002: (1) Miami 28, (9) Florida State 27 — Riding the nation's longest winning streak, Miami was able to put it all together late in the game to escape with a win. The Seminoles controlled most of the game behind the bulldozing play of Greg Jones, who rushed for 189 yards on 31 carries. As a team, FSU rushed for 296 against UM's defense. Miami trailed by 13 points midway through the fourth quarter, but Dorsey led the Hurricanes on two long touchdown drives to take a one-point lead late in the game. As time expired, Xavier Beitia's 43-yard kick sailed wide left.

"I simply can't believe we lost the game like that again," Bowden said afterward. "I thought we had it. I went to shake (Beitia's) hand. I thought he hit it. I've had that picture so many times before in my career. I can't stand it. Our kids did not deserve to lose this game." 

2004: (5) Miami 16, (4) Florida State 10 OT — Miami found itself in a new conference in 2004, but it faced a familiar foe in its first league game in its season opener. But like the previous games five games against Florida State, the Hurricanes came away winners, taking their sixth game over their rival and new conference-mate. Frank Gore scored on an 18-yard run in overtime to clinch the game. It was another offensive struggle and UM had to overcome a 10-0 deficit in the fourth quarter. Down by a touchdown and with time running out, Brock Berlin engineered an 80-yard drive in five plays that culminated with a 30-yard touchdown to Sinorice Moss with 30 seconds left in the game. Florida State's Chris Rix finished his career 0-5 against Miami.

2005: (14) Florida State 10, (9) Miami 7 - After years of heartbreak against the Hurricanes, the Seminoles finally had fate smile in their direction in 2005. Trailing by three late in the fourth quarter, Miami drove down the field to set up a 28-yard field goal to tie the game with less than three minutes remaining. Holder Brian Monroe would mishandle the snap, however, and the Seminoles would hold on to snap Miami’s six-game winning streak in the series.

Carlos Pineda - Carlos Pineda is a featured writer for Southern Pigskin. He covered the UCF Knights football team for Florida Today in 2010. Carlos' work has been published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel and Orlando Business Journal. He attended the University of Central Florida. Follow Carlos on Twitter @CarlosFPineda.