TALLAHASSEE -- Before Saturday’s game between No. 3 Florida State and No. 7 Miami, FSU senior safety Terrence Brooks said that he didn’t understand why the Hurricanes would even consider trash-talking.
“It’s kind of like that commercial, ‘Messing with Sasquatch,’” said Brooks to a smattering of laughter.
Miami didn’t heed his advice. After snatching two Jameis Winston interceptions and turning them into 14 first-half points, the Hurricanes came out of the tunnel at the start of the third quarter with an opportunity to tie the score.
It didn’t happen.
FSU forced Miami to punt on its opening possession and then proceeded to drive the ball 83 yards on 10 plays to increase FSU’s lead to 28-14.
But it wasn’t so much how FSU drove the ball as it was how the drive was finished. Following a 26-yard pass to senior wide receiver Kenny Shaw, Miami defensive lineman Anthony Chickillo started a fight with Florida State offensive tackle Bobby Hart. The crowd erupted, yellow flags flew from all directions and Florida State woke up.
The Hurricanes had just messed with Sasquatch.
Up until that point, Miami had hung around, taking advantage of FSU’s mistakes, flipping field position and doing everything possible to ensure that the Seminoles wouldn’t jump out to the type of lead that the Vegas odds makers had expected.
Miami was not able to force a Florida State punt in the first half and the Hurricanes’ only points came from turnovers, but they were scrappy. It was working.
When the Hurricanes scored late in the second quarter to cut the Seminole lead to 21-14, you could hear a collective gulp from the record 84,409 fans in attendance at Doak Campbell Stadium.
But then the Hurricanes messed with Sasquatch.
As Hart and Chickillo rolled around on the ground and their teammates rushed to intercede in the tussle, Doak came to life and with it the Seminoles. James Wilder Jr. barreled into the end zone on the next play and FSU was up by 14.
On the next UM offensive play, Stephen Morris threw an interception to FSU corner PJ Williams and Florida State’s offense went to work again.
By the time FSU had driven 79 yards on nine plays to go up by 21, the Hurricanes were reeling.
It only got worse for Miami. The Hurricanes didn’t score again and star running back Duke Johnson left the game with a leg injury.
It was all Florida State in the second half.
That’s the sort of display that you would expect from a national title contender. Miami had come into the game with a well-devised plan of attack and gave the Seminoles their best shot early.
But Florida State responded in kind — after some impromptu motivation in the form of Chickillo’s fingers curling inside of Hart’s facemask — and rolled Miami 41-14.
By the end of the night, the Hurricanes’ offense and defense had been exploited and the Seminoles had made another booming national statement:
“Don’t mess with Sasquatch.”