What did we learn about the Florida State Seminoles from their entertaining 20-19 victory Saturday night over the previously unbeaten Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium? Here are five things:
Francois is tough enough: Freshman QB Deondre Francois was driven into the turf on the last play of the first quarter, landing on his right (throwing) shoulder. He missed two series while being evaluated under the on-field medical tent.
The play was reminiscent of the hit that knocked the Patriots’ Jimmy Garappolo out of the game against the Dolphins.
Francois was grimacing but still came back in the second quarter. In the interim, his backup, senior Sean Maguire, threw an interception by Jaquan Johnson after Dalvin Cook moved FSU into scoring position with a 54-yard run to the UM 22.
(RELATED: Photos from FSU’s huge win over Miami)
On his 59-yard touchdown pass to Dalvin Cook in the third quarter, Francois was sandwiched by Demetrius Jackson and Pat Bethel so hard, the hit sent his helmet flying. Francois required medical attention before getting up slowly. By then, ESPN had the scorecard with Francois being knocked down seven times.
Francois finished 20-of-31 for 234 yards and two touchdowns.
Francois needs to use caution: This one isn’t so much what we’ve learned as it is what Francois learned the hard way — that defensive linemen have long arms and can jump. Francois had a handful of passes that were tipped or batted down at the line of scrimmage.
The most costly one may have been on FSU’s first possession, when a fourth-and-3 gamble backfired thanks to a ball batted by Demetrius Jackson.
Fisher does trust Aguayo (kind of): A week after freshman Ricky Aguayo missed three field-goal tries, Jimbo Fisher went for it early on a fourth-and-3 from the Miami 35 rather than try a 52-yarder. The pass was batted at the line and fell incomplete. It wasn’t until the closing seconds of the half that FSU got on the scoreboard, this time with Aguayo hitting from just 31 yards for a 13-3 deficit. FSU moved into scoring position on a nine-play, 62-yard drive as Francois hit Kermit Whitfield for 28 yards, then ran 15 on a keeper. The Seminoles entered their locker room knowing they pulled off a successful two-minute drill after taking possession on their 25 with 1:16 left in the second quarter.
Cook loves playing UM: Cook scored on a 59-yard reception in the third quarter to go with a 54-yard run in the second quarter.
Hurricanes fans have seen this movie before. Last season, Cook had a 72-yard TD run on his first touch against UM and averaged 12.2 yards per touch in the game.
Cook’s 54-yard run was the 52nd play of his career that went for at least 20 yards.
Cook finished with 150 yards on 27 carries.
FSU can play defense: The team that gave up 63 points in a shellacking by Louisville rebounded nicely, holding UM to 19 points and 276 yards, including 62 rushing (and a 2.2 average on the ground). UM quarterback Brad Kaaya was 19-of-32 for 214 yards, two TDs and one interception.
Two big plays came in the waning minutes when defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi sacked Kaaya for a 6-yard loss, immediately followed by end Josh Sweat nailing Kaaya for a loss of 3, forcing a punt.
Wherever sophomore cornerback Tarvarus McFadden goes, excitement follows. McFadden had an interception in the end zone, giving him four INTs this season, but also gave up the 11-yard TD pass to Stacy Coley with 1:38 left. That could have tied it, but DeMarcus Walker burst straight up the middle to hit Michael Badgley’s extra point and send it wide left. Badgley had made 72 straight PATs.