Found November 12, 2011 on Fox Sports Florida:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- There have been too many finishes that came down to the last play of the game. Florida State-Miami isn't a rivalry of blowouts. So even when the Seminoles were ahead by 16 points with 11 minutes left in the game, an FSU victory was not a given. Miami clawed back with a pair of Mike James touchdown runs to cut FSU's lead to 23-19 with 1:40 left in the game. But not until FSU freshman Nick O'Leary went up to grab the onside kick ahead of incoming Miami players was the game really over. And 20 years after Wide Right I, FSU can thank its special teams for the win. Greg Reid returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown and Dustin Hopkins made 3 of 4 field goal attempts as FSU held off Miami 23-19 before 82,322 fans on Saturday night at Doak Campbell Stadium. "Another classic," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "That's what rivalry games bring out in you. Miami has a great team. They did a heck of a job and played very well. Our kids battled, fought, scrapped and played some situations very well, which I was proud of.... "In a rivalry game, two teams are going to go at it. That's what happens in these games. There is craziness." There was plenty of craziness. The first half included plenty of missed scoring opportunities but also five officiating reviews -- two of them reversals that took an FSU defensive touchdown off the scoreboard and a Miami safety off the board. And the game included 19 combined penalties and a wild comeback in the final minutes. FSU (7-3, 5-2 ACC) came away with its fifth straight win in 2011 but also its second straight victory over Miami. But it came with a tense final few minutes. James' second touchdown closed the gap to 23-19 but the Hurricanes took advantage of two FSU defensive penalties to sustain the drive. FSU's Terrance Parks intercepted Jacory Harris, but the Seminoles were flagged for roughing the passer. Two plays later, FSU linebacker Nigel Bradham was ejected from the game after tackling LaRon Byrd as he was making a catch. Bradham appeared to hit Byrd with his right shoulder, but officials ruled that he left his feet and launched himself at a defenseless player. Bradham, pending an appeal, is facing a potential suspension for a half or all of next week's home game against Virginia. "I just don't want to be suspended for the next game," said Bradham, whose final home game at FSU is against the Cavaliers. "Hopefully the officials will look it over and see what it really was classified as." The Hurricanes (5-5, 3-4) racked up 383 offensive yards but were held to a season-low 19 points. And as a result, Miami is still fighting for bowl eligibility going into its final two games (at South Florida next week and then back home for Boston College). Perhaps the biggest miss early was on Miami's second drive. The Hurricanes started the drive on their own 1 and drove down to FSU's 15 before Harris was intercepted in the end zone by FSU safety Lamarcus Joyner. Harris recovered and tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Clive Walford with 7:53 left in the second quarter, but Miami was kept out of the end zone for the next 30 minutes as FSU's defense held Miami's playmakers in check. FSU quickly built its lead. EJ Manuel threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Rodney Smith to put FSU ahead for good, 10-7 with 4:42 left in the second quarter. But Reid then found daylight in the final minute of the half when he scored on an 83-yard punt return to put FSU up 17-7. For Reid, it was his first punt return for a touchdown this season and the first since the 2010 opener against Samford. "It was simple," Reid said. "I think he shanked the kick a little bit and it gave a little one hop and I took it. When I looked up I was just looking for somebody to give a move to and it was just there. Finally." Dustin Hopkins then added two field goals to extend FSU's lead to 23-7. While he missed a 37-yard field-goal attempt in the second quarter, he kept up FSU's recent string of kicking success. Hopkins was a toddler for the first Wide Rights and said he hasn't ever seen the missed kicks of 1991 and '92. As a true freshman, Hopkins missed an extra-point attempt against Miami in 2009. But until Saturday, he had made every field-goal attempt against the Hurricanes. "It's funny all the Wide Rights and Wide Lefts, you're going to miss one way or the other," Hopkins said. "Unfortunately I missed but luckily it didn't come back to bite us." Miami mounted its comeback but fell short after James' touchdown runs. The Hurricanes' three turnovers were there downfall on a night when Miami held FSU to 259 offensive yards. "Turnovers, penalties and special teams," Miami coach Al Golden said. "In the end it's just too hard to overcome. I've been saying it since I got here -- you can't win if you beat yourself -- especially in that environment -- and we did. "We beat ourselves with turnovers, we beat ourselves with penalties and I think they out-executed us on special teams."
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