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Fla. St. coughed it up

Seminole errors gave Miami life

MIAMI -- Although Chris Rix's fumble overshadowed Xavier Beitia's blocked field goal, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden will remember them both.

The mistakes cost his team dearly against Miami Friday night, with the fifth-ranked Hurricanes rallying to beat the No. 4 Seminoles, 16-10, in overtime for their sixth straight victory in the series.

"This was beyond frustration," Bowden said. "This is about as disappointing as it gets."

Beitia had a 34-yarder blocked with about four minutes to play. The kick would have given Florida State a 10-point lead. Instead, it gave Miami life in the hurricane-delayed season opener for both teams.

Brock Berlin drove the Hurricanes 80 yards in five plays, connecting with Sinorice Moss on a 30-yard touchdown play to tie it at 10 with 30 seconds to play.

Still, the Seminoles had a chance to pull ahead in overtime. But Rix fumbled on third down, and the Hurricanes ended it.

Frank Gore ran 18 yards to the end zone on Miami's second play in overtime, giving the Hurricanes a victory in their first game in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"We had our chance to put them away and we didn't," Bowden said. "They had a chance to put us away and they did."

The game was delayed four days because of Hurricane Frances, which also was blamed for the death of Bowden's 15-year-old grandson and former son-in-law. They were killed last Sunday when their car was hit a by a utility truck that was helping to restore power outages. Bowden said the distraction didn't affect his team. Rix and the kicking game did, though.

The rivalry has been defined by missed field goals, all of them by Florida State. Wide Right I, II, and III. Beitia's wide left kick in 2002 and his wide right boot at the end of the 2004 Orange Bowl. The block merely adds a new twist to an old story.

"It's amazing, the kicking game through the years," Bowden said. "They haven't blocked kicks; we've missed them. Tonight, they blocked it. I believe we would have won the game if they didn't block it."

Florida State also probably would have won the game without Rix's errors.

He threw two interceptions and fumbled twice, including the crucial fumble in overtime. He finished 12 of 28 for 108 yards.

"We thought we had it and we just didn't finish the game," Rix said. "We just had to execute and we didn't. We didn't do our job. That's on the offense. We didn't execute as well as we should have. Defense did a great job. They carried us tonight."

After the game, Bowden hinted that he might make a change at quarterback.

"It wasn't good. It wasn't the performance I expected," Bowden said. "But you don't want to blame it on one guy. It's going to fall on the responsibility of the coaching staff to do the right thing in regards to his play tonight."

Florida State couldn't run the ball, either, gaining just 57 yards -- its lowest total in the series since 1994.

Miami scored 16 straight points after Florida State capitalized on two turnovers to take a 10-0 lead.

Berlin finished 20 of 36 for 255 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Gore ran 18 times for 89 yards.

The Seminoles have won 11 of 12 league titles since joining the conference in 1992. But Miami's victory clearly gives the Hurricanes an edge in the championship chase this season. Florida State probably will need the Hurricanes to lose twice to have a chance. "We want to win the ACC and the national championship, so this is a great start," Berlin said.

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