Oct. 7, 2000

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AP Football Writer

MIAMI (AP) - After 1,013 yards, 100 passes and 51 points, Florida State-Miami came down to Wide Right III.


When Matt Munyon's 49-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right as time expired, No. 7 Miami had a 27-24 victory over No. 1 Florida State on Saturday, derailing the Seminoles' national championship run and putting itself back into contention.

"I watched it, I watched it," Miami receiver Reggie Wayne said. "The only thing going through my mind was wide right one, wide right two, and I was hoping there would be a wide right three."

There was, much to the dismay of Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden, who lived through wide right field goals in 1991 and 1992 against Miami that probably cost his team a pair of national titles. The Hurricanes went on to win the national crown in '91.

"Wouldn't you know it?" Bowden asked. "He's been wide left all year, and then that happens. We had him out there pretty far, though."

Even the Orange Bowl scoreboard carried the message: "WIDE RIGHT III" lit up as the crowd of 80,903 - third largest in U-M history - filed out of the stadium.

"I got all of it. I hit it hard. It just went right," said Munyon, who missed two of three field goals against Miami and is 3-of-8 on the season. "That's just all the history. Hopefully, I'll be able to be in a position to come back and make one."

Until the frantic final minutes, Miami (4-1) had an answer for everything Florida State (5-1) tried. Four times in the first half, the Seminoles failed score from inside the Hurricanes' 26-yard line. Twice, Weinke threw interceptions on plays designed especially for this game. Two other times, Florida State passed on easy field goals and came up empty - once on a failed fourth-down run from the 16, the other on an incomplete pass from the 13.

"We put some plays in that would have been touchdowns," Bowden said. "They didn't fall for them. They ate them up. I should have kicked."

Miami was glad he didn't as the Hurricanes won their biggest game in Butch Davis' six years as coach. Miami finally displayed its title form of years ago after five years of rebuilding from NCAA sanctions that stripped the school of 31 scholarships.

"It's huge for the program," linebacker Dan Morgan said after leading the Canes with 15 tackles and an interception. "This is definitely going to put us in national contention. There's no telling how good this team can be."

A week after replacing Nebraska in the top spot of the AP poll, the Seminoles fell behind 17-0 at the half. But they staged a furious rally in the final minutes behind Heisman Trophy contender Chris Weinke, who was 28-of-59 for a career-high 496 yards and three TDs - the final one a 29-yarder to Atrews Bell with 1:37 left that put the Seminoles ahead 24-20.

But Ken Dorsey answered for Miami, which took over on its own 32. Dorsey hit 6-of-7 passes, including hookups with Santana Moss for 13 yards, with Wayne for 17 yards and with Moss again for 19 yards to the FSU 8. A delay of game penalty moved the ball back 5 yards, and then Dorsey hit backup tight end Jeremy Shockey with a 13-yard scoring pass with 46 seconds to go.

Dorsey, who was 27-of-42 for 328 yards, said "every time he came back to the huddle he told me he was open. This time I listened to him."

Now, Florida State will have to win out and hope for help if it wants to defend its national title. Defensive end Roland Seymour walked around the locker room telling his teammates "we're going to bounce back, don't even worry about it."

Florida State, denied several national title shots during the heyday of this rivalry from 1987-93, had its 17-game winning streak - longest among major colleges - ended. The loss also ended the Seminoles' 26-game regular-season winning streak.

Florida State became the first No. 1 team to lose in the regular season since Ohio State was beaten by Michigan State 28-24 on Nov. 7, 1998.

The Seminoles had 565 yards, the Hurricanes 448. Jamal Reynolds, Florida State's star defensive end with 10 sacks entering the game, had just one tackle. Neither team had a sack.

Trailing 20-17, Florida State got a break when Miami's Najeh Davenport fumbled and FSU linebacker Brian Allen made his second recovery of the game, this one at the Canes 48. Four plays later, the Seminoles had their brief lead on Weinke's TD pass to Bell.

Miami ended a five-game losing streak against Florida State, games it lost by an average of 22.2 points. The last time these teams met when both were in the Top 10 was 1996.

It's a great victory for our club," said Davis, now 1-5 against Florida State. "It was one we really worked for and wasn't an accident. We worked for it and earned it."

Miami moved to a 17-0 halftime lead, marking the first time since 1988 the Seminoles had been shut out in the first half. It was the Hurricanes who did it, too, leading by the same score en route to a 31-0 win.

In the opening 30 minutes, Dorsey outplayed Weinke, who wore a hard plastic covering to protect a sprained left foot. Dorsey threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Davenport, Williams scored from a yard out and Todd Sievers kicked a 31-yard field goal.

Weinke, 26-2 as a starter, moved well despite the plastic and tape wrapped around his ankle. But he threw two interceptions - both at about the Miami 2 - that stopped scoring drives, and had a pass broken up at the goal line.

Weinke came out strong in the third quarter, and led the Seminoles to a field goal - an 18-yarder by Munyon - and then threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin. And just like that - with 8:03 left in the third quarter - the Seminoles trailed 17-10.

Florida State blew a chance for more points. Two plays after Florida State's TD, the Seminoles took over on the Miami 32 when Allen recovered a third-quarter fumble by Williams. But 20 yards worth of penalties pushed them back to their own 48 and they were forced to punt.

Miami then increased its lead to 20-10 on a 37-yard field goal by Sievers, with Dorsey hitting passes of 18 yards to Wayne, 13 to Williams and 14 to Robert Williams.

The Seminoles cut it to 20-17 with 3:15 left in the game on Weinke's 2-yard TD pass to Boldin.