MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Florida State came into the game as the better team.
And while Miami stayed close, in the end, the 14th-ranked Seminoles proved to be too much.
Miami native Devonta Freeman rushed for two touchdowns and James Wilder added another to help lead No. 14 Florida State to a 33-20 win over Miami.
“I thought we played hard, coached hard, played hard, and we lost to a good team, that’s it,” head coach Al Golden said. “We lost to a team that’s ahead of us right now. … They’re a better team right now.”
Miami (4-4, 3-2) lost their third straight game in front of a crowd of 73,328, the largest at Sun Life this season. Miami is off next week, which comes at a good time.
“It’s critical, we’re hanging on by a thread,” Golden said. “We need time off. A brutal schedule, eight weeks in a row, young team, need time off.”
Florida State (7-1, 4-1) out-gained Miami 447-258 in total offense to win their third straight in the series and sixth of the last eight.
“We understood what type of team we were playing,” cornerback Brandon McGee said. “We were just trying to out-play their defense, just try to match their intensity.”
Stephen Morris started for the Hurricanes after the junior quarterback was listed as doubtful with a left ankle sprain on Thursday’s injury report.
Morris completed 25 of 43 passes for 223 yards with an interception, lost a fumble, and was sacked four times while under pressure throughout.
“They had a very good defense, very well-coached,” Morris said. “They were ranked three or four in the nation and they are a great team. We had a lot of opportunities, they kind of play man and get up in your face, and we just didn’t really capitalize on a couple opportunities we had. That’s the story.”
While Morris returned from an injury, freshman running back Duke Johnson left the game in the third quarter with a right leg injury. He rushed for 26 yards on nine carries and caught three passes for 19 yards.
“I have no idea (on the injury), just that he was out,” Golden said. “I couldn’t even tell you what it is other than I was told that he was out. I think they X-Rayed him, that’s all I know.”
Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel passed for 229 yards on 21 of 30 passing while Dustin Hopkins made field goals of 33, 46, 35, and 48 yards.
Miami led 10-0 on a 9-yard touchdown run by Mike James and a 19-yard field goal by Jake Wieclaw.
James’ touchdown run was keyed by a forced fumble by Denzel Perryman on Nick O’Leary allowing Miami to take over on the FSU 22.
Miami took advantage of another FSU blunder as Cason Beatty shanked a punt out of bounds for just 17 yards giving UM short field position once again.
Florida State eventually settled down and limited their mistakes.
Hopkins kicked a 33-yard field goal to put the Seminoles on the scoreboard before Wilder’s 17-yard touchdown run tied the game at 10.
FSU then put together an 8-play, 35-yard drive in the closing minutes as Hopkins connected on his second field goal just before halftime to give the Seminoles a 13-10 lead into the break.
Both teams traded field goals in the third quarter with FSU leading 16-13 going into the fourth.
A 39-yard pass from Manuel to Kelvin Benjamin help set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Freeman to give FSU their largest lead of the game.
Hopkins kicked a 48-yard field goal and Freeman had a 5-yard touchdown run with 2:45 left to extend FSU’s lead to 33-13.
Rashawn Scott caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Morris in the final minute.
FSU’s leading rusher Chris Thompson was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a left knee injury. Thompson had 94 yards of offense before the injury.
Freeman took over for Thompson as the primary ball carrier and ran for a team-high 70 yards on 10 carries.
NOTES: Miami Heat players LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, and Mario Chalmers were in attendance. … Miami attempted an onside kick to start the second half, which was unsuccessful as Wieclaw’s kick went out of bounds. … FSU was called for three offensive pass interference calls. … Miami resumes action on Nov. 1 against Virginia Tech.
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