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Field goal miss only part of FSU's offensive failure

Despite 496 passing yards, the Seminoles lose many opportunities to score deep in Miami territory.

[Times photo: Joseph Garnett Jr.]
FSU head coach Bobby Bowden looks up at the score board one last time as he walks off the field.

By BOB HARIG

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 8, 2000


MIAMI -- Only his heart hurt more than his foot.

Chris Weinke is unaccustomed to losing, having gone more than two seasons as Florida State's starting quarterback without a defeat.

But after FSU's 27-24 loss to rival Miami, the pain set in from the defeat and from his left foot, the subject of so much speculation in the week leading up to the annual showdown.

Weinke gamely brought the Seminoles back from a 17-point deficit at the Orange Bowl on Saturday, and from 10 down with just more than five minutes remaining, despite the severely sprained left foot that threatened to keep him out.

The senior, who came in with 25 consecutive victories, passed for 496 yards and three touchdowns only to see kicker Matt Munyon's 49-yard field goal sail wide right as time expired.

"We put that kid in a tough situation," said Weinke of Munyon's game-tying attempt. "That's a long field goal. I thought it was good when he kicked it. There will probably be more made of that whole scenario, wide right, than there needs to be.

"If we just executed on offense the way we should have, especially in the first half, we wouldn't have had to put that kid in that situation."

That was the general attitude in the FSU locker room: The Seminoles simply blew too many scoring opportunities.

By early in the third quarter, seven FSU drives either started or moved into Miami territory, with 13 plays run inside the 20. The result was just three points.

Twice, the Seminoles attempted to convert fourth down inside the UM 20, well within field-goal range, only to be stopped.

One was after FSU recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff. Backup quarterback Marcus Outzen failed to gain a yard on fourth-and-1 from the 16. The Seminoles passed up a 33-yard field goal attempt. Two drives later, the Seminoles again tried on fourth-and-2 from the 13 but a Weinke pass was broken up by UM safety Edward Reed. "We had some plays, we thought we could have gotten touchdowns on them," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "We should have kicked (field goals), we should have kicked. ... I know that."

There was plenty to second-guess afterward.

Such as Weinke's errant pass intended for Atrews Bell that was intercepted by Reed at the goal line in the second quarter. Or the inability to get any points near the end of the first half, when the Seminoles had first-and-goal at the 5. Or the play-calling early in the third quarter when it was first-and-goal at the 6, and FSU settled for a field goal to cut the lead to 17-3. Or the plays that led up to Munyon's missed 22-yard field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter, when the Seminoles again had first-and-goal at the 6. It is a long list, one Seminole fans will lament for the rest of the season.

"It didn't come down to wide right," FSU offensive coordinator Mark Richt said. "It came down to the times we got inside the 5-yard line or the fourth-and-1s we didn't convert. We shot ourselves in the foot and we squandered some great opportunities."

"The unfortunate thing about this game," FSU center Jared Moon said, "is everything is going to come back on our kicker. But if you noticed, our offense put zero points on the board in the first half, and it should have never come down to that.

"We've been doing that all year. We've had a lot of missed opportunities. And today it bit us."

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