- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 11, 2004

MIAMI — There’s a new bully on the ACC block.

Completing a stunning game-ending Miami scoring storm, tailback Frank Gore blew through the Florida State secondary for an 18-yard touchdown scamper in overtime to lift the fifth-ranked Hurricanes to a 16-10 overtime victory over No.4 Florida State in their ACC debut last night.

In a game that was a pure Sunshine State Stinker until the closing minutes of regulation, the Hurricanes upped their winning streak to six straight against their cross-state rivals in an unlikely fashion.

When Florida’s college football powerhouses get together for their annual brawl, fans have come to expect serious fireworks. What they got for more than 58 minutes last night was an incomparable dud, as the two offenses combined for six turnovers and no touchdowns before Miami took over at its own 20-yard line trailing 10-3 with 1:22 remaining.

While many of the 78,622 fans at the Orange Bowl were already on their way toward the exits, Miami (1-0) did what neither offense had managed all night, sailing 80 yards down the field in just five plays and 52 seconds to stun the Seminoles (0-1) and force overtime.

Miami senior quarterback Brock Berlin, who engineered a similar miracle in a comeback victory against Florida last season, started the onslaught on second down when he found Roscoe Parrish on a crossing route for a 24-yard gain to Miami’s 44-yard line. Florida State defensive end Eric Moore roughed Berlin on the play, chopping his right arm down on the quarterback’s collar bone on the play and adding 15 yards to Parrish’s gain. After an 11-yard completion to fullback Quadtrine Hill took Miami to Florida State’s 30-yard line, Berlin and wideout Sinorice Moss consummated the shocking drive when the latter gathered in an inside screen and bolted down the left sideline for the game-tying score.

Florida State’s overtime experiment closely mirrored its regulation debacle, as the Seminoles floundered to a loss of a yard until senior quarterback Chris Rix fumbled on third down to hand the ball — and the game — to the Hurricanes. Rix, now 0-5 in his career against Miami with 13 turnovers and just five touchdowns, accounted for four turnovers last night for a Florida State offense that gained just 168 total yards, the fewest for an FSU team since 1994.

A Miami score on its overtime possession seemed almost a foregone conclusion with the Orange Bowl rocking, and the Seminoles still in a disbelieving daze. Gore, coming back from two blown ACLs that shortened his last two seasons, carried for seven yards on first down and then finished the game with his 18-yard burst down the right sideline.

Florida State emerged from an aesthetically toxic first half with a 10-0 lead. But if anything, the Seminoles were even more offensively anemic than the ‘Canes before intermission, posting both of their scores via Miami turnovers.

After a mixup between Berlin and Gore led to a fumble near midfield midway through the first quarter, Florida State stumbled 28 yards and jumped to a 3-0 lead on a 45-yard field goal from much-maligned Xavier Beitia, who missed potential game-winners against the Hurricanes in each of the last two seasons.

The half’s other score came in bizarre fashion, as Parrish fumbled while struggling for the sticks at the end of a designed quarterback sneak. Florida State nickel back Antonio Cromartie snatched Parrish’s fumble on the fly and sprinted 61 yards untouched to put the Seminoles ahead 10-0 with 7:18 remaining in the second quarter.

But Miami’s miscues were basically the bulk of Florida State’s attack. All told, the Seminoles finished the first half with two first downs and 44 yards of total offense.

Rix completed just four of his eight first-half passes for 27 yards with an interception on a woefully overthrown ball to a wide-open receiver.

The only good news for the Seminoles was that Miami was almost equally ineffective. Gore (56 yards on 12 carries) provided the Hurricanes’ only consistent threat in the first half.

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