Miami-FSU: 10 Greatest Games of a Historic Rivalry

Looking back on one of the best rivalries in college football

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    With the Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles both unbeaten and in the top 10 of all the major polls, the legendary Canes-Noles rivalry is back in the spotlight where it belongs. All eyes will be on Miami and FSU when the two square off at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee on Thursday night.

    It remains to be seen if the Canes and Noles will deliver another in a long line of instant classics, but it is worth revisiting some of the greatest games in this historic series. Here are the 10 best UM-FSU games, in chronological order (warning: this list will bring up some bad memories for Noles fans).

    November 12, 1983: UM 17-FSU 16. Unranked FSU nearly pulled off an upset of sixth-ranked Miami at home. Trailing 16-14 with two minutes to go, Miami QB Bernie Kosar led the Canes into field goal range on four plays. Kicker Jeff Davis, who missed two field goal attempts earlier in the game, chipped in a 19-yarder as time expired. The win earned the Canes a berth in the Orange Bowl against top-ranked Nebraska, whom they would defeat to earn the first national championship in school history.

    October 3, 1987: UM 26-FSU 25. Miami came into Doak Campbell ranked third in the nation, while the upstart Noles were ranked fourth. Miami WR Michael Irvin made the catch of his career late in the game, taking a Steve Walsh bomb 73 yards for a touchdown. That gave Miami a 26-19 lead, but the Noles drove 75 yards in the final two minutes, scoring on a Danny McManus touchdown pass with under a minute to go. But legendary FSU coach Bobby Bowden opted to go for two rather than settling for a tie, and Bubba McDowell broke up a pass in the end zone to preserve Miami's lead. The Canes would go on to finish undefeated that season, winning their second championship.

    September 3, 1988: UM 31-FSU 0. You'd think the defending champion Canes would have earned a little respect. But instead, their cross-state rivals were ranked number one in the preseason AP poll, and over the summer the Seminoles had the audacity to record The Seminole Rap, a Super Bowl Shuffle clone which has not gotten better with age. Miami got the last laugh though, shutting out the Noles in the Orange Bowl and ending their title hopes.

    November 16, 1991: UM 17-FSU 16. The first Wide Right Game. The second-ranked Canes knocked off top-ranked FSU at Doak Campbell Stadium in the Game of the Century. After taking a late lead on a Stephen McGuire touchdown run, the Canes' title hopes hung in the balance as kicker Gerry Thomas attempted a go-ahead 34-yard field goal. It sailed wide to the right, allowing the Canes to hang on. Miami went on to finish undefeated and share the national championship with Washington.

    October 3, 1992: UM 19-FSU 16. The football gods were not kind to Bowden. His third-ranked Seminoles had a chance to tie the game late against the second-ranked Canes, but kicker Dan Mowry missed a 39-yard field goal as time expired. The Canes were in the midst of a 29-game winning streak, but would go on to lose to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl with a chance to wrap up a second straight undefeated season.

    October 7, 2000: UM 27-FSU 24. Another hard-fought game, and another Wide Right. Top-ranked Florida State came to the Orange Bowl having won 17 straight games and the 1999 national championship. Down 24-20 with under two minutes to go, Miami QB Ken Dorsey led the Canes on a long drive to take the lead with a touchdown pass to TE Jeremy Shockey. FSU managed to get into field goal range with seconds to go, but kicker Matt Munyon's overtime-forcing kick sailed, you guessed it, wide right. The Noles got revenge, finishing ahead of the 11-1 Canes in the final BCS standings and sneaking into the national championship game against undefeated Oklahoma, a game they would lose 13-2.

    October 12, 2002: UM 28-FSU 27. Miami looked poised to roll against the Noles after taking an early lead, but the Noles stormed back, taking a 27-14 lead in the second half behind a 189-yard day from RB Greg Jones. Dorsey and the Canes roared back, though, scoring twice in the fourth quarter to take the lead. But, FSU being FSU, the Noles got a chance to end the game on a last-second kick, but Xavier Beitia's kick went wide left, giving Bobby Bowden a new way to have his heart broken.

    January 1, 2004: UM 16-FSU 14. In their only bowl meeting, the Noles hoped to avenge their regular season home loss to the Canes in the Orange Bowl. Miami won a defensive battle after falling behind 14-3, and the Noles were done in yet again by a bad kick. Beitia missed a 39-yard field goal (wide right) with less than five minutes remaining, allowing the Canes to hold on.

    September 5, 2005: FSU 10-UM 7. Finally a special teams blunder goes Bowden's way. Jon Peattie's game-winning kick could not even be attempted with 2:16 left, as holder Brian Monroe muffed the snap. FSU held on for the win despite being outgained by Miami 313 yards to 170.

    September 7, 2009: UM 38-FSU 34. Playing a nationally-televised season opener on Labor Day, the Canes and Noles gave fans a barnburner that featured 880 yards of total offense and seven lead changes. QBs Jacory Harris of Miami and Christian Ponder of Florida State led their teams down the field in the final minutes, but the Noles' comeback attempt ended with a Ponder pass falling to the turf in the end zone as time expired.

    The Canes and Noles, ranked seventh and third in the AP poll, respectively, will kick off at 8 p.m. ET in Tallahassee on Saturday.