Tallahassee, FLA. (Oct. 28, 1989)-Before a frenzied capacity crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium, the Florida State defense used a combination of big plays and consistency to shut down the Miami offense and lead the Seminoles to a 24-10 win over the second-ranked Hurricanes. Offensively, Florida State took advantage of six Miami turnovers and surprised the top-ranked defense in the country by effectively running up the middle as tiny tailback Dexter Carter gained 142 yards.
The game looked to be anything but a defensive battle at the outset as both teams scored twice in the first stanza. For the final three periods the Seminole defense took over, shutting down the Hurricanes the rest of the game.
Seminole cornerback LeRoy Butler started the momentum in FSU’s direction as he intercepted UM freshman quarterback Gino Torretta on the first play from scrimmage, giving Florida State the ball on Miami’s 37-yard line. On the next play, Carter made the mistake count as he took the handoff and darted around left end for a touchdown as the Seminoles moved ahead 7-0. Miami responded with an 80-yard touchdown drive, culminating in an eight-yard TD pass from Torretta to Randal Hill.
Florida State had an answer for the UM score. They drove the field behind Carter’s rushing and receiving abilities and took advantage of a roughing the passer penalty. Edgar Bennett did the scoring honors from one-yard out, and the PAT made the score 14-7 in the first quarter.
Miami’s next drive produced its last score of the night. When a 12-play, 40-yard drive stalled at the FSU 27, Carlos Huerta booted a 44-yard field goal with 1:09 in the first quarter to make the score 14-10.
The second quarter was a wild one that saw seven punts, three more interceptions by the Seminoles, a Miami fumble, and a fake field goal by FSU. The biggest play of those was Kevin Grant’s interception in the end zone which halted Miami’s bid to take the lead. The score remained 14-10 at the end of the mistake-riddled second. The halftime stats showed Miami with a slight edge in total offense (192-145), but five turnovers, including four interceptions.
The teams traded turnovers to start the third as Roland Smith came up with an interception for the Hurricanes. But Miami’s miscue was more crucial. After the Hurricanes put together a 69-yard drive, fullback Shannon Crowell fumbled while diving for the end zone and Seminole linebacker Kirk Carruthers recovered at the one.
On FSU’s first play from its own end zone, Peter Tom Willis hit wide receiver Ronald Lewis with a 51-yard bomb. Eleven plays later, Amp Lee bulled in from one-yard out to give the Tribe a 21-10 lead. The 99-yard drive consumed 5:34 on the clock and put UM in a deep hole entering the fourth quarter.
Less than one minute into the fourth period, the Seminoles put the final nail in the coffin when Andrew drilled a 41-yard field goal to put the Seminoles ahead 24-10. For the third time in the game, Miami had a first and goal on the FSU one late in the fourth. This time, the Hurricanes were forced to turn over the ball on downs, a tribute to an outstanding defensive effort.
In addition to Carter’s heroics, the offensive had its top game of the season against Miami’s defensive front four, dubbed best in the nation by Bobby Bowden. Defensively, Carruthers earned The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated player-of-the-week accolades with 16 tackles, a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery. Nosegaurd Odell Haggins added nine tackles and Butler had seven tackles in addition to his key interception as Florida State broke a four game losing streak against Miami.