Jameis Winston and the No. 2 Florida State Seminoles did it again.
Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner and the defending national champions kept their poise — and their title dreams alive — in a dramatic, come-from-behind 30-26 victory Saturday at Sun Life Stadium.
FSU freshman Dalvin Cook, a graduate of Miami Central, scored the game-winning touchdown on a 26-yard run with 3:05 remaining to give the Seminoles their only lead of the night.
That’s all they’d need.
On fourth-and-9 from the Florida State 43-yard line, with 46 seconds left, UM quarterback Brad Kaaya threw an interception to defensive back Jalen Ramsey to end the Hurricanes’ hopes and silence the majority of the 76,530 fans.
“There were a few plays we left out on the field,” Kaaya said. “Actually, a whole lot of them.”
The Seminoles (10-0, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) extended their nation-leading win streak to 26 games, as the stunned Hurricanes watched in dismay.
“We stayed aggressive with our play calling,” UM coach Al Golden said. “We just missed too many [explosive] plays.”
The Hurricanes (6-4, 3-3) were officially eliminated from the Coastal Division race, leaving either Georgia Tech or Duke to represent the Coastal against FSU in the ACC title game at Bank of America Stadium on Dec.6 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Miami, which played its first season in the ACC in 2004, has yet to win the conference or represent the Coastal for the ACC championship.
Florida State clinched a spot in the ACC title game earlier Saturday when Clemson lost at Georgia Tech.
Winston completed 25 of 42 passes for 304 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Kaaya completed 16 of 34 passes for 316 yards and two touchdowns and the pick. Kaaya, now with 2,403 yards, broke Bernie Kosar’s UM record for most yards in a season.
UM tailback Duke Johnson earned his sixth consecutive 100-yard game with a game-high 130 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.
“We did a lot of things that hurt ourselves more than they did,” Johnson said of UM’s self-inflicted wounds, which included two lost fumbles, a missed extra point, a missed short field goal and a late interception.
For FSU, Cook rushed for 92 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.
Hurricanes tight end Clive Walford led all receivers with 127 yards and a touchdown on four catches. UM’s Phillip Dorsett added 90 receiving yards and a touchdown on four catches.
As they had against Louisville, Notre Dame, Clemson and North Carolina State, the Seminoles and Winston began their march back in the third quarter from a 23-10 first-half deficit.
On FSU’s second possession of the third quarter, Winston led the Seminoles on an 11-play, 85-yard touchdown drive. Winston made it look easy, throwing completions of 8, 12, 7, 16, 29 and finally 11 yards for the touchdown to Karlos Williams.
The touchdown pass was a fluke of sorts, as UM rush end Tyriq McCord deflected the third-down attempt, which caromed off his hands and into the arms of Williams for the score.
UM led 23-17.
On UM’s ensuing drive, tight end Standish Dobard coughed up an 18-yard reception from Kaaya and FSU’s Nate Andrews recovered on the FSU 33. On first down, Winston hit tight end Nick O’Leary for a 12-yard gain to the FSU 45, but Canes’ defensive tackle Michael Wyche was flagged for a facemask penalty, and suddenly FSU was on the UM 40.
Three plays later, Winston completed a 17-yard pass to Travis Rudolph and then a 1-yarder to Stevenson for the final plays of the third quarter.
The Seminoles got as far as the UM 20, but on third down Winston threw an incompletion and reigning Lou Groza award winner Robert Aguayo kicked a 37-yard field goal at 14:45 to make it 23-20.
The Hurricanes took over and Johnson ran 7 yards and then 28 to put UM on the FSU 38-yard line. Joe Yearby ran twice, including 4 yards to convert a third down, but the Hurricanes were held to a field goal — a career-long 46-yarder by freshman Mike Badgley to increase UM’s lead to 26-20.
Then, on FSU’s ensuing drive, cornerback Antonio Crawford made a crucial third-and-5 pass breakup from the UM 36. Aguayo, who came into the game having made 98.9 percent of his career kicks, then connected on a 53-yarder for his third field goal to bring FSU’s deficit back to three points.
UM 26, FSU 23.
Except for a lost fumble on its opening drive and a wide-left field-goal attempt from 29 yards with 1:42 left in the half, UM scored on its other four, first-half drives.
“It means a lot to them,’’ Golden told 560 WQAM radio after the half. “Now we have to go after them. Now we have to see if we have a killer mentality.”
Miami won the toss, elected to receive, and held FSU to three-and-out. Hurricanes quarterback Kaaya then lofted a perfect 24-yard dart to Walford at midfield. But FSU’s Ramsey stripped Walford of the ball, and free safety Tyler Hunter recovered.
The Seminoles could not take advantage and again went three-and-out, and UM would soon be on its way to its first touchdown.