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Defense lets Seminoles down

[Times photo: Joseph Garnett Jr.]
FSU's Brian Allen and Chris Woods cover their faces as they sit on the bench at the end of the game watching the Miami Hurricanes celebrate a 27-24 victory.

By BRIAN LANDMAN, BOB HARIG and JOE FRISARO

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 8, 2000


MIAMI -- As Miami players and fans cavorted at midfield, Florida State freshman defense tackle Darnell Dockett sank to his knees and pounded the Orange Bowl grass.

"It was hard to believe that they actually scored a touchdown on us," Dockett said of Miami's 51-second, 68-yard drive to pull out a 27-24 win. "Nobody thought we would give up a touchdown."

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Defense lets Seminoles down

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Field goal miss only part of FSU's offensive failure

Shockey speaks up, silences FSU

But perhaps nothing should have surprised the FSU defense Saturday.

The nation's No. 3 unit against the rush allowed 120 yards, almost twice its average (56.6), and 328 yards passing. Not once did the vaunted FSU pass rush sack sophomore quarterback Ken Dorsey. The Seminoles hit him so sparingly that his uniform seemed pristine.

"They just had a great offensive scheme for the defensive line," FSU senior end David Warren said, adding that he never would have dreamed his team would be so ineffective in that area, "especially with the way Jamal Reynolds has been dominating offensive lines."

Reynolds entered the game with 10 sacks.

"(Dorsey) was only taking three-step drops," senior linebacker Tommy Polley said. "They played a great game and executed well. What can you say?"

MISTAKE-FREE DORSEY: Dorsey, in his first full season as starter, has all Miami's great quarterbacks beaten in one critical category: protecting the football. In the first quarter, Dorsey's 10-yard completion to Najeh Davenport was his 124th straight pass without an interception, a school record. In 1992, former Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta had 123 attempts.

After going 27-for-42 with two touchdowns and no interceptions, Dorsey's streak is at 163.

On Saturday, Dorsey received some inspirational advice from a couple of ex-UM stars. Jim Kelly and Bernie Kosar were among the Miami alums on the sideline.

"I talk to those guys all the time," Dorsey said. "It only helps to get advice from guys who played the game at such a high level."

ODD CALL: Florida State had 224 yards of total offense at halftime and not a single point to show for it. The Seminoles twice failed to convert on fourth down. And at the end of the half, they botched another opportunity when Chris Weinke threw a third-down interception.

What was puzzling was, the Seminoles lined up in the I-formation as if they were going to run on third and goal from the 2 with 13 seconds remaining. Problem was, they had no timeouts. Everyone in the stadium knew the Seminoles would pass, including linebacker Dan Morgan, who picked off the attempt to tight end Nick Franklin.

"That was not a good call," FSU offensive coordinator Mark Richt said. "To wad up (the linemen in tight) and show run when there is no way you can run with no timeouts left. ... It was a poor call."

PERSONAL BEST: Weinke's 496 passing yards were a career high. His best was 443 in FSU's 26-21 win at Georgia Tech on Sept. 9.

LEWIS CAUSING HAVOC: After missing a game with a cracked toe, Hurricanes defensive tackle Damione Lewis was back stirring emotions. Lewis, a 6-3, 295-pound senior, was active all afternoon, pursuing Weinke and irritating offensive linemen.

In the trenches, Lewis had a few shoving matches and verbal exchanges. In the third quarter, FSU tackle Char-ron Dorsey took exception to Lewis sitting a little too long on Weinke after an incomplete pass. Dorsey drew a flag after cursing at the official, Lewis said.

"(Dorsey) was talking about how I got a late hit," Lewis said. "Then, he started talking to the referee, saying I got a late hit."

Lewis admitted he took his time getting off the quarterback.

"I was going to lay down," Lewis said. "We could watch the play together. Sit down and watch. I did my job on that play. There was nothing I could do 20 yards downfield."

AWARD WATCH: Reynolds and senior end Roland Seymour were named finalists for the Lombardi Award. Seymour, coming back from reconstructive knee surgery, played for the first time this season.

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