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November 2, 2013

Noles bury Miami 41-14

Box Score: FSU 41, Miami 14 | Highlights - FSU's win over Miami

Devonta Freeman put FSU on his back and Miami underfoot Saturday night.

The Miami native piled up 176 yards of total offense, scored three touchdowns, and repeatedly flashed the "U" sign after big plays as No. 3 FSU (8-0, 6-0) dismantled No. 7 Miami (7-1, 3-1) 41-14.

Freeman had 103 all-purpose yards in the first half to go along with a pair of scores, including a 48-yard touchdown scamper in the second quarter from a screen pass. Fellow running back James Wilder - back after missing last week's game - also scored on the ground.

In the second half after a scuffle broke out between the teams, Freeman lowered his shoulder on a long run, plowed a Miami defender and flashed a "U" sign in defiance to Miami.

But FSU's offense lacked it's typical explosiveness in the first half because of a uncharacteristically off first half from Jameis Winston. Winston seemed to show struggles for the first time this season, throwing two interceptions that kept Miami in the game. Winston's first interception resulted in a five-play Miami touchdown drive and his second set up the Hurricanes score just before halftime - a critical momentum boost.

"Our team didn't play badly," Winston said. "I just made those two costly mistakes against a team that made us play. ... I've got to learn to not make those plays. I might as well take the sack."

Miami's Stephen Morris actually outplayed Winston in the first half: Morris, the embattled and banged-up Miami starting QB, completed 7 of 12 passes for 117 yards and two huge touchdowns in the first half.

Miami needed his performance because FSU stymied Miami's running game after the Hurricanes' initial drive. Johnson racked up 42 yards rushing on Miami's first two drives, but just 15 the rest of the half. Florida State brought run blitzes and clogged the middle to take away Johnson's running lanes.

That defense proved too much for Miami in the second half. The Hurricanes went scoreless in the critical third quarter as Florida State found its offensive groove, and an attempt to convert on fourth down deep in FSU territory was stuffed. Miami had just 210 total yards of offense through three quarters to FSU's 423 and the Hurricanes finished with only 275 for the game - just 83 on the ground.

"It felt great because you knew that was a good team," defensive back P.J. Williams said. "It was gong to be a great competition. We knew we had to come out playing hard. First half they came out pretty good, they were fighting with us and then we just had to keep fighting the whole time; the second half we shut them out."

In fact, Miami's penchant for fighting was the spark that FSU needed. Hurricane defensive lineman Anthony Chickillo got into a scuffle with Bobby Hart that mushroomed and resulted in offsetting personal fouls on both teams. That scuffle ignited FSU.

"After that skirmish it was over," Winston said. "All that nice stuff, all the game day and all that stuff of them being compared to us, that was over. We didn't care about that we knew that we had one goal and it was to beat them bad.

Winston rounded into shape in the second half, going a perfect 7-7 in the third quarter with 113 yards and went 12-14 passing in the second half. He finished the game 21-29 with 325 yards and a touchdown. Wilder added a second-half touchdown as well and Florida State outscored Miami 28-0 in the second half.

With the win, FSU adds a second dominant victory against a top-10 opponent and emerges from its most challenging stretch of the season unscathed, with wins against Clemson, N.C. State and Miami all under its belt and in firm control of the ACC Atlantic Division.



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