TALLAHASSEE — Jameis Winston threw for 325 yards and No. 3 Florida State rolled to a 41-14 victory against No. 7 Miami in another matchup of undefeated Atlantic Coast Conference rivals that turned into a Seminoles blowout.
Winston threw two interceptions in the first half after throwing four in the first seven games, but the Florida State defense shut out the Hurricanes (7-1, 3-1) in the second half after it was 21-14 at the break.
The Seminoles (8-0, 6-0) went on a 20-0 run after a skirmish broke out midway through the third quarter. The teams were called for offsetting personal fouls and James Wilder Jr. (Plant) scored on a 5-yard run on the next play. The rout was on from that point, not much different from Florida State’s 51-14 win at Clemson last month.
The Seminoles have handily defeated all three Top 25 teams they have played this season. Their national championship hopes are alive and well with Florida being the last real challenge in the regular season.
“Just like baseball, sometimes you go out there and strike out,” Winston said. “Then you’ve got to come back and bounce back.”
Florida State and Miami seemed ready for a civil outing when they lined up before the game to shake hands. Outside of a little trash talk, there wasn’t much fury between the teams separated by 500 miles. Both were flagged for offsetting personal fouls midway through the third quarter when pushes and shoves were exchanged. Florida State right tackle Bobby Hart was chewed out by coach Jimbo Fisher for getting involved with Miami defensive end Anthony Chickillo (Alonso).
Wilder scored on a 5-yard touchdown run on the next snap and the Seminoles were energized. Miami’s night was all but over at that point.
Devonta Freeman ran for 81 yards and two touchdowns against his hometown team, while Miami running back Duke Johnson posted 97 yards on 23 carries before leaving with a leg injury.
Winston threw one touchdown and Miami quarterback Stephen Morris threw for 192 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Winston and the No. 3-ranked scoring offense in the FBS didn’t waste time putting points on the board in the first quarter. The Seminoles opened the game with a 13-play, 72-yard drive that ended with Freeman’s 5-yard touchdown run. They converted three third downs as Winston showed off his arm with completions to Kelvin Benjamin, Rashad Greene and Freeman, and his legs with a 19-yard run on third-and-12.
The Miami offense responded with an impressive drive of its own that included 28 yards from Johnson on his first three carries. Coach Al Golden didn’t open with a slow, ball-control plan as many expected to keep the Florida State offense on the sideline. Miami went hurry-up, with a heavy dose of Johnson, to move to the FSU 27-yard line, but Matt Goudis missed a 44-yard field goal wide left.
The Miami defense forced two huge turnovers in the first half that kept Florida State from running away. Safety Deon Bush picked off a Winston overthrow intended for Greene. The Hurricanes scored five plays later on a 33-yard pass from Morris to Allen Hurns to tie the game at 7.
The Seminoles got their groove back on the ensuing possession and put together another drive capped by a Wilder 1-yard touchdown run to go up 14-7.
The game was on the verge of being a first-half blowout after Freeman took a screen pass 48 yards for a touchdown. Miami overloaded the right side of the Florida State line and came with a heavy blitz, but Fisher caught them with the perfect call — the screen to the left where there were more blockers than defenders.
The Seminoles went up 21-7 with 5:08 left in the second quarter and the Hurricanes promptly went three-and-out. Winston took the field ready to bury Miami under a 21-point lead, but Rayshawn Jenkins picked him off and gave the offense the ball near midfield. Morris found Hurns again with a 14-yard touchdown pass eight plays later to send the game into halftime with the Hurricanes up 21-14.