MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Florida State lost for only the second time in nine games at Hard Rock Stadium as No. 12 Miami gained a 52-10 victory over the Seminoles. The Seminoles were without first-year Head Coach Mike Norvell who returned a positive result for the Covid-19 virus and watched the game from his home in Tallahassee. Deputy Head Coach Chris Thomsen handled the in-person coaching duties in Norvell’s absence.
Florida State (0-2, 0-2 ACC) fell to 0-2 for just the third time since 1989. Miami (3-0, 2-0 ACC) improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2017.
Florida State quarterback James Blackman completed 16-of-26 passes for 120 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Reserve quarterback Jordan Travis totaled seven rushes for a team-high 52 yards while true freshman Tate Rodemaker played the entire fourth quarter as Florida State’s signal-caller as he earned playing time for the first time in his career.
The Seminoles’ defense surrendered just 14 points and 184 total yards of offense in the second half after giving up 38 points and 333 yards of offense in the first 30 minutes.
Redshirt sophomore Amari Gainer led the Seminoles with eight tackles – the second consecutive week he has led Florida State in tackles. He totaled 10 tackles in Florida State’s season opener against Georgia Tech in its season opener.
“I want to congratulate Coach (Manny) Diaz and the Miami football team,” said Norvell. “I thought they did an extraordinary job tonight; really dominated in all phases, had a good plan and was able to execute that at a high level. Obviously, disappointed for our football team. It completely falls on me. I’ve got to do a better job of putting our guys in the best position possible to go out there and play a better brand of football. We’ve got to play more disciplined, more physical and obviously more consistent from top to bottom in all three phases. To have 12 or 13 penalties throughout the course of the game, things that definitely hurt us in a lot of areas, we’ve got to get that corrected.
“Throughout the course of the week, we’ve got to do a better of emphasizing that as a staff. It starts with me in all phases. We did not play to the standard of what we want to do and I am definitely grateful for our team, our staff and all the things some guys had to overtake with me not being there and I appreciate all the work that went into that but, obviously, we’ve got to perform at a higher level and it starts with me. We are going to continue to work, we are going to continue to emphasize those little things it takes to play winning football and we’ve got to better. That’s something we are absolutely committed to and I know it’s going to happen here as we move forward.”
Miami scored first as it capitalized on a methodical 75-yard drive off of the opening kickoff and scored on a 24-yard touchdown pass from D’Eriq King to tight end Brevin Jordan. King was 8-of-10 passing for 67 yards on the Hurricane’s scoring drive. Miami extended its drive as it converted on a fourth-and-three to move into Florida State territory as it drove to take a 7-0 lead.
Florida State answered quickly on a 68-yard drive which was culminated by a 26-yard field goal from Ryan Fitzgerald – the first field goal on the first field goal attempt of his career. The Seminoles’ first drive of the night included 26 yards passing on 4-of-5 completions by Blackman and 20 yards rushing on four attempts by Jordan. The Seminoles took the ball down to the Hurricanes’ 1-yard line before a fumble and a penalty forced the Seminoles to kick a field goal for their first score of the game.
Miami increased its lead to 14-3 on its 28th offensive play of the first quarter – a two-yard touchdown burst by running back Cam’Ron Harris. Harris rushed three times for 13 yards on the drive and scored his team-leading fourth rushing touchdown of the season.
Harris increased the Hurricane’s lead to 21-3 with 12:36 left to play in the second quarter on his second rushing touchdown of the first half – this time on a 12-yard run. His second scoring run of the night came on a three-play, 57-yard drive that was extended by two Florida State penalties.
A 40-yard touchdown pass from King to Dee Wiggins increased Miami’s second quarter lead to 28-3.
Miami made it five touchdowns on its five first half drives as Donald Chaney, Jr., scored from two yards out to increase the Hurricanes’ second quarter lead to 35-3 with 3:37 remaining before halftime. Borregalas increased their lead to 38-3 with a 30-yard field goal at the conclusion of the first half.
Blackman led the Seminoles into the end zone for the first time in the game on the opening drive of the second half as he connected on a 12-yard pass to Camren McDonald. It was McDonald’s first career touchdown reception and Blackman’s 43rd career passing touchdown. Blackman ranks 10th in school history with 43 career touchdown passes.
“At halftime, Coach (Chris) Thomsen talked to us about playing the next play,” said McDonald. “The only play that matters is the next play so we can’t have one play that’s going to make up the difference in the game. But one play, after the next play, after the next play and slowly but surely we’ll be able to cut into the lead. I think we just had a one-play mentality coming out at half and that helped us.”
After Florida State’s defense held Miami scoreless in the third quarter, the Hurricanes upped their lead to 45-10 on a 5-yard scoring run by Chaney, Jr., with 14:57 to play in the final quarter.
“Coach Norvell is our leader,” said McDonald. “Every time he is not here is significant but I wouldn’t say that’s an excuse for guys losing control of their emotions. I think, for the most part, guys handled their emotions pretty well on the sideline today. Coach Norvell not being there is significant because he is our program’s leader and he is a good source of energy on the sideline in the way that he conducts himself. You always feel that the situation is under control when Coach Norvell is there. It was significant (him not being on the sideline) but it wasn’t insurmountable. We could have overcome it.”
Florida State returns home to play Jacksonville State on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in Doak Campbell Stadium.