This Week in Caneball, Week 4 (Oct. 4 - Oct. 10): FSU @ Miami, 2018

This Week in Caneball, Week 4 (Oct. 4 - Oct. 10): FSU @ Miami, 2018

Canes Legacy
Each week we're going to highlight a big game from Cane history that took place during the days of each "game week." I tried to get every worthwhile beating of FSU on the schedule somewhere, and this week's is another classic comeback.

October 6, 2018- Florida State at #17 Miami

The Setup:

Coming off a great run the year prior, the 2018 Hurricanes were trying to recreate the magic after an opening loss to LSU. They had won four games in a row, and were heading into their battle with Florida State confident that they could pull off their second win in a row in the rivalry. The big question was if the Hurricanes victory in 2017 was more luck, considering how backbreaking most of the defeats to the hands of the Seminoles had been in the near-decade prior. At 3-2, the Noles weren’t in quite the same position, though they shared a lot of the same concerns that Miami had on the offensive side of the ball.

Miami’s biggest question was at quarterback. In what would be a three year odyssey to figure out the sport’s most important position, the Canes had turned it over to redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry. Taking over from Malik Rosier in week 5, Perry turned in a pretty strong game against UNC, even if the staff didn’t ask him to do too much. That would end up needing to change in a big way against Florida State. FSU’s Deondre Francois was a mixed bag in the weeks leading up to Miami, but did have a big game against Louisville just one week prior.

The ultimate test for the Canes was based on playing with heightened expectations, knowing that they were coming into this one as the presumed favorite. Even with major question marks on the roster, it would be a tone setting game for the rivalry to emerge victorious.

The Story:

The Canes started slow, producing little on the offensive side of the ball before giving up several chunk plays to FSU on their way to a game opening score. Deejay Dallas flashed a bit for Miami on the next drive, but the teams traded punts before the Canes put together a nice drive that ended with a Lawrence Cager touchdown. Three drives that totalled just 16 yards took the game deep into the second before Miami made their first big mistake of the day. Perry fumbled on a hit by Bruan Burns, setting the Noles up in prime position to take a 10-7 lead.

Several displays of offensive and then special teams ineptitude highlighted the rest of the 2nd quarter. UM gave FSU the ball on the Miami 36 after a long punt return, which the Noles quickly converted into a 17-7 lead on a touchdown catch from (no longer) “Scary Terry”. FSU added another field goal before the half, which provided only a slight break for the Canes. FSU’s DJ Matthews took a punt back for a touchdown with 11 to play in the third, bringing the score to 27-7. Trailing 27-7, Miami punted with 8:11 left in the 3rd, and FSU saw their win probability reach its peak at 94.1%.

From that point on, however, the momentum of the game flipped for the good guys thanks to the play of some of their standout leaders. Sheldrick Redwine forced a fumble to give Miami the ball at the FSU 20. From there, a couple shots to Cager ended with a beautiful fourth down pass and catch to give Miami its first score since the first quarter. Now 27-14, the chain was barely put away before Mike Pinckney snatched the a Francois pass out of mid air and the chain out of Redwine’s hands, setting Miami up at the 17 of FSU. One play (and 42 seconds after their last TD) later, Jeff Thomas made it 27-21.

FSU responded with a nice drive, but a missed field goal (HA!) by FSU gave Miami the ball at their own 27, which Miami turned into two big pass plays. First was a clutch catch by Jeff Thomas on 3rd down for 32 yards, and true freshman Brevin Jordan topped him by taking Perry’s next throw 41 yards to the crib to take Miami’s first lead of the game. After slap-fighting for the next few drives, the Canes slammed the door shut with a beautifully old school 4 minute drive to run out the clock, while Soulja Boy blasted through the speakers at Hard Rock.

The Studs (from midway through the 3rd Q on):

Lawrence Cager:
The slant that scored the first Canes TD gets forgotten, but that was a great route by him to get himself open in a tough spot. The money play comes later, after a disastrous third down. With a little under 5 minutes left, Cager dropped a well thrown fade to the sideline, and immediately reacted while Asante Samuel Jr. celebrated over him. Well, he must have told Kosi to put it right back up, because they went right back to it on 4th, and Cager ripped the ball away from Samuel, power-slamming him into the turf in the process. No bigger catch was made in that game.

Sheldrick Redwine and Mike Pinckney: I know other fans probably think the same about their squads, but I personally can’t think of a team that feeds off energy more than the U. When Redwine dropped Francois and forced that fumble, even 20 points down, there was life in that Hurricane body. Then when 56 picked off his next pass, life turned into fire, and the comeback was in full swing. No victory is won without the D’s playmakers making big plays.

N’Kosi Perry (thanks to Brevin and Jeff): I know people won’t agree here because the numbers aren’t what you would call great… or good at all... but he did what Kosi does. He had a lot of bad balls, but mixed in the occasional dimes that have you immediately remember all the potential. Specifically, the slant to Cager for the first TD, the TD throw to Thomas on the sideline, the third down throw to Jeff over a defender and between two others, and the final strike to Brevin are all highlight reel throws that helped pull the Canes out of the hole he caused me to ignore the otherwise awful numbers.

Trayone Gray: My guy Choc makes it on the list in part for being the hammer that bullied his way to first downs late in the game to help milk the clock down to zero. After a rollercoaster start to his career at UM with the hype train in full motion, Gray always did what was asked of him, including playing fullback and giving his body up for other backs to make plays. More importantly, he was largely responsible for a delay of game that the offense suffered late while dancing to Soulja Boy, knowing the victory was in hand. If that’s not swag, I don’t know what is.


Comments (1)

Side note unrelated to actually winning the game. Earlier that day, my son KOd himself on a piece of furniture, busting his head open like prime Ric Flair. While we were in the hospital, Miami was getting their butts beat. After he got stitched up and I started listening on radio in the car on the way home, the comeback began. That's always going to be part of my memory from that one.

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