Coverage: ABC Regional coverage
3:30 PM ET, October 4, 2008
Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL
MIAMI -- Antone Smith rushed for a career-best four touchdowns, including a game-clinching 20-yarder with 3:57 remaining, and Florida State wasted most of an early 24-point lead before hanging on to beat Miami 41-39 on Saturday.
• Antone Smith tied a school record with four rushing touchdowns as the Seminoles won a wild game in Miami. Two of his touchdowns were in the first half as FSU jumped out to a 24-0 lead.
• The 80 combined points is the most in the history of the rivalry (53 meetings) and the 41 points for FSU is the most scored by the Seminoles on the road in the rivalry.
• Miami lost for the fifth straight ACC game at home and sixth straight conference game overall.
-- ESPN research
Smith -- who scored three TDs last week -- finished with 92 yards on 27 carries for the Seminoles (4-1, 1-1 ACC), who handed Miami its second straight home loss on a stormy afternoon. Christian Ponder ran for 144 yards, becoming the first Florida State quarterback since Charlie Ward in 1992 to run for triple-figures, and Tony Carter made two interceptions for the Seminoles.
Travis Benjamin had an 18-yard touchdown run on an end-around, caught a 51-yard TD pass from running back Graig Cooper, and finished with 274 all-purpose yards for Miami (2-3, 0-2), which has lost 12 of its last 15 conference games.
The Hurricanes trailed 24-3 at the half and 31-10 in the third quarter, then closed to within 34-32 with 8 minutes remaining. Two botched snaps on Florida State punts led to Miami points, Sean Spence ran an interception in for a touchdown and the Hurricanes seemed poised for what would have been an enormous rally.
But Smith sealed the win with a third-down run up the middle, giving coach Bobby Bowden just his 14th win in 34 games all-time against Miami.
Smith's other scoring runs were for 2, 19 and 5 yards, part of Florida State's 281-yard rushing day as a team.
Ponder completed 14 of 31 passes for 159 yards for Florida State, including a 15-yard score to Greg Carr, and looked at ease in his first taste of the Seminoles-Hurricanes rivalry.
Miami quarterback Robert Marve, meanwhile, was 17-of-40 for 122 yards and two interceptions.
And still, the Hurricanes nearly pulled it off.
Left tackle Jason Fox rushed for a 5-yard touchdown with 14 seconds remaining, but the onside kick was controlled by the Seminoles, as a downpour made it difficult from one sideline to see the other. Ponder knelt for the final play, and the Seminoles began leaping in celebration -- knowing they just dealt their biggest league rival a huge blow.
Florida State scored the game's first 24 points and wound up holding a 440-256 edge in total yards, largely because of Ponder's running ability. He had nine carries for 107 yards by intermission; in the previous 13 meetings between the teams, Florida State quarterbacks ran for a combined 111 yards on 99 attempts.
It looked like a mismatch.
The first of Carter's interceptions set up Smith's opening score, and the Seminoles just kept rolling. When Graham Gano connected on a 53-yard field goal, the Seminoles had a 24-0 lead with 1:07 left in the half.
An odd decision followed, giving Miami some life.
Florida State tried a short kickoff after the long field goal, giving Miami possession at its own 48. The Hurricanes only got a field goal out of it on the final play of the half, but to coach Randy Shannon, that 28-yard kick by Matt Bosher was huge.
"That's a real confidence booster," he said, trotting off the field.
Seemed like it.
Of course, Florida State's penchant for self-destruction didn't hurt, either.
Smith fumbled early in the third quarter deep in Florida State territory, and Benjamin scored on the next play to give Miami some life. A high snap on a punt gave Miami a safety, Benjamin gave the Hurricanes great field position on the ensuing kickoff, and Cooper hit him with a perfect pass for a trick-play TD that drew the Hurricanes within 31-22.
Miami hadn't had an interception return for a touchdown since 2003, but with 11:23 left, Spence -- playing in place of injured linebacker Colin McCarthy -- caught a deflected pass and rumbled seven yards to make the score 34-29, and Bosher got Miami within two points with a field goal three minutes later.
But the Seminoles went back to what worked -- Ponder and Smith running right at Miami, to put the game away.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||11-17||2-15|
|4th Down Conversions||0-3||3-4|
|TD||06:54||Antone Smith 2 Yd Run (Graham Gano Kick)||7||0|
|TD||10:08||Antone Smith 19 Yd Run (Graham Gano Kick)||14||0|
|TD||03:24||Greg Carr 15 Yd Pass From Christian Ponder (Graham Gano Kick)||21||0|
|FG||01:03||Graham Gano 53 Yd||24||0|
|FG||00:00||Matt Bosher 28 Yd||24||3|
|TD||13:45||Travis Benjamin 18 Yd Run (Matt Bosher Kick)||24||10|
|TD||10:50||Antone Smith 5 Yd Run (Graham Gano Kick)||31||10|
|FG||07:42||Matt Bosher 29 Yd||31||13|
|SF||05:50||Ball Through End Zone||31||15|
|TD||05:29||Travis Benjamin 51 Yd Pass From Graig Cooper (Matt Bosher Kick)||31||22|
|FG||00:00||Graham Gano 35 Yd||34||22|
|TD||11:23||Sean Spence 3 Yd Interception Return (Matt Bosher Kick)||34||29|
|FG||08:30||Matt Bosher 24 Yd||34||32|
|TD||03:57||Antone Smith 20 Yd Run (Graham Gano Kick)||41||32|
|TD||00:14||Jason Fox 5 Yd Run (Matt Bosher Kick)||41||39|