How They Got Here:
Miami won the BCS National Championship for the 2001 college football season. They picked up the #4 overall seed in The Greatest Tournament of all Time, which was the top spot in Bracket #4. The Hurricanes cruised through five wins in Bracket #4 to earn the top spot in the JoePa Region of the Bracket of Champions. Four wins later and Miami finds themselves against an old rival in the Final Four.
After a first quarter that saw the two rivals feeling each other out while the defenses dictated tempo, Miami jumped on the Seminoles. The running game kicked in for the Hurricanes as Clinton Portis ran for 56 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter en route to building a 17-3 lead.
Watching Miami pile up over 200 yards of offense while maintaining a decisive edge in the momentum department, Florida State found themselves in dire need of a score prior to halftime. Charlie Ward rose to the occasion, directing the 2 minute offense to perfection. He was 5-for-5 on the drive until it stalled out in the red zone. Mike Rumph knocked away a pass and Jamaal Green picked up a sack as the Hurricanes held FSU out of the end zone and forced a field goal attempt.
Scott Bentley nailed the 30-yard field goal attempt to give the Seminoles at least a little something to take into the locker room, despite trailing 17-6.
The third quarter was controlled entirely by the defenses. Defensive coordinators Mickey Andrews and Randy Shannon traded brilliant series after brilliant series until Warrick Dunn finally broke loose with 2:11 left in the quarter. The freshman took a screen pass from Charlie Ward, broke a D.J. Williams tackle and raced 36 yards down the sideline, providing easily the biggest play of the second half.
Miami's defense bowed up once again and held Florida State to just a field goal attempt. Bentley calmly booted a 42 yarder through the uprights and suddenly the Seminoles trailed by just a touchdown and a two point conversion, 17-9.
In the fourth quarter the momentum finally started to swing Florida State's way. Derrick Brooks and the defense had held Miami scoreless for a solid 25+ minutes and looked to be in control, so they seemingly only needed their Heisman Trophy winning quarterback to step up and make some plays to potentially steal a victory from one of the most talented teams in the tournament.
That's exactly what the senior quarterback did. With FSU trailing 17-9 and just 6:14 left on the clock, Ward began to work his magic. He marched the Seminoles quickly down the field, mixing in a 24 yard run to get his teammates on the bench excited for the first time all game. He followed that play up with a 29 yard touchdown pass to Kez McCorvey.
Trailing by two with just over 5 minutes on the clock, Bobby Bowden elected to go for two. Ward's pass attempt was knocked away by Chris Campbell in the end zone, preserving Miami's 17-15 lead.
But on the second play of the ensuing drive, Ken Dorsey threw a pass over the middle to Daryl Jones who was hammered by safety Devin Bush. The ball came loose and the Seminoles came out with the ball and yet another jolt of energy.
Charlie Ward took the field with even more swagger and completed two straight passes to Matt Frier. Then lightning struck when he found Tamarick Vanover streaking down the sideline all alone in an apparent blown coverage. Ward tossed the ball out to Vanover who took it into the end zone to complete the 34-yard scoring strike and the comeback. Bentley kicked the extra point to make it a 22-17 lead with just 3:56 left.
Four minutes is a lont time, though, especially with Ken Dorsey and an immensely talented offense ready to take over. Sure enough, Dorsey kept his head and got the sputtering Hurricane offense moving for the first time in the second half. Using his favorite targets Andre Johnson and Jeremy Shockey, as well as a pair of perfectly timed draw plays to Clinton Portis, Dorsey led a touchdown drive that put Miami back on top 24-22.
That left Charlie Ward just 1:42 to perhaps perform one more miracle. For the third consecutive time, Ward drove FSU down the field with the help of his talented receiving corps. After three straight completions, a 27-yard pass to Kevin Knox put the Seminoles in field goal range. A short completion to Frier and a Sean Jackson run set up FSU at the 27-yard line with 2 seconds on the clock, leaving Scott Bentley to try a 44-yard field goal attempt for the win.
If you know anything about this rivalry you can probably guess what happened next.
Bentley missed it wide right.
2001 Miami 24
1993 Florida State 22