No. 7 Miami's perfect season ended Saturday night against No. 3 Florida State, and it was no mystery to Hurricanes coach Al Golden why.
"They made all the plays, we didn't," Golden said after a 41-14 defeat. "Give them credit,"
Miami (7-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) could get a rematch against the Seminoles (8-0, 6-0 ACC) in the conference title game next month if it can hold its lead in the Coastal Division. Though the Hurricanes might have to make do without their best offensive player.
Star running back Duke Johnson left the game late in the third quarter with a leg injury. Golden said that there was no word on the extent of the injury to the ACC's second leading rusher who ran for 97 yards against FSU.
The Hurricanes managed to keep it close in the first half before being shut down by the Florida State defense in the final 30 minutes.
"Once we started getting behind it unraveled a little bit," Golden said. "We put the defense on the field too many times there in the third quarter ... and the beginning of the fourth."
Florida State blew the game open in the third quarter with a pair of touchdowns on its first two drives of the second half to open a 35-14 lead.
"It's a high-powered offense," Golden said. "We didn't do enough in this game to put the pressure on them."
There was hope for Miami at halftime.
After a pair of Seminole scores, Morris zipped a 14-yard touchdown throw to Hurns with 22 seconds left in the half to pull the 'Canes to 21-14 at the break. It came nine plays after sophomore safety Rayshawn Jenkins intercepted Florida State's Jameis Winston. Both Miami scores followed misfires by the Seminoles' celebrated freshman quarterback. Another Miami sophomore safety, Deon Bush, picked off Winston at the Miami 35 to set up the 'Canes initial score.
But it was Morris who was intercepted twice in a half when the 'Canes managed 105 yards, only 40 in the decisive third period.
"Let's just learn from it," Morris said. "We have to leave this game in Tallahassee."
Morris completed 16 of 28 passes for 192 yards and the two TD throws with Hurns, who had five catches for 84 yards.
"If we run out the season, we have a chance to see them again," Hurns said. "We will bounce back."
Golden said there were no silver linings in the loss.
"We just have to move forward," he said. "We have to get better, that's my chief concern."
The Seminoles opened the game with a 13 play, 72-yard scoring drive that the Hurricanes answered on their second offensive series when Allen Hurns caught a pass in stride from Stephen Morris on a 33-yard touchdown and Matt Goudis' kick tied the score at 7.
"We didn't want this to be another walk in the park," Winston said. "That was a good sign we were able to come back and fight."
Despite the two picks, Winston finished with another good night, completing 21 of 29 for 325 yards and a touchdown.
"The defense was dominant," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. "''We played the number seven team in the country and won by 27," Fisher said. "This is a heck of a football team here."