QB Williams gives ‘Canes boost before injury, however not enough to overcome No. 4 FSU 27-20

Freshman quarterback Emory WIlliams drops back to pass against Florida State in their 27-20 loss at Doak Campbell Stadium. Photo credit: Miami Athletics

Thirty-two times before Saturday, a game in the historic rivalry between the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida State Seminoles has come down to one touchdown. In the 68th game between the two, another one occurred.

With fans doubting the ‘Canes to win at Doak Campbell Stadium, Miami went in and immediately showed desperation to beat the undefeated ‘Noles. However, they fell just one possession short after a Tyler Van Dyke threw an interception to Jarrian Jones on the final drive to seal the 27-20 FSU win.

The big reason Miami came out with true competitiveness was the decision to start true freshman quarterback Emory Williams over a healthy (but struggling) Tyler Van-Dyke. With Williams in for his second career start, the ‘Canes offense seemed rejuvenated, earning themselves 303 yards of total offense when he was on the field.

“Gutsy, tough” is what Miami head coach Mario Cristobal had to say about Williams’s performance. “He played real well.”

However, his night came to a heartbreaking end on the final ‘Canes drive of the game. On 4th and two, with the game on the line, Williams ran and dove to get over the first down marker. In the process of landing, his arm contorted, and he immediately reacted to the injury.

“A significant injury” is what Cristobal called Williams’s injury. “He’s at the local hospital, and we’re waiting on a word from them.”

Williams has been reported to have a compound fracture in his left arm. He ended the game with 175 yards passing, two touchdowns, and a quarterback rating of 127.4.

The game was filled with moments that did not go Miami’s way. A crucial one, which received backlash online, came in the second quarter with FSU backed up deep in their territory. Wesley Bissainthe chased down Jordan Travis and tackled him on the goal line for what looked like a safety. However, after the referees called the play down at the one-yard line, even after reviewing the play.

ACC representatives in attendance said that “the [safety] rule is where the ball is when initial contact is made by the defender.”

When asked if he received an explanation for the call, Cristobal said, “Zero. Zero. Zero explanation. None.”

The ‘Canes could’ve had more points if not for the refs, but they still had great first half; they had 54 more yards than FSU in the timespan, with 96 of them coming on the ground with an average of 5.1 yards an attempt. However, the only ‘Canes touchdown of the half came in the air after Williams lobbed the ball over the back shoulder of receiver Jacolby George. The score and a chip-shot field goal with seconds remaining in the half made the score 10-10 at the halftime break.

But it was FSU who came out of it with their guns blazing. In their first two drives of the second half, the ‘Noles drove 136 yards of offense. A massive chunk was a 38-yard touchdown run by junior running back Trey Benson, which extended the FSU lead to 20-10 with 5:46 left in the third quarter.

Although they gave up 322 yards in the game, the Hurricane’s defense bent but did not break to keep them in the game. In the second half, they forced FSU, the top offense in the ACC, to punt four times and did not allow them to convert at all on their five third downs of the half. FSU was 3-for-12 on third-down conversions in the entire game.

But when FSU needed him most, wide receiver Keon Coleman came alive in the fourth quarter. After a Miami three-and-out, Coleman returned a Miami punt 57 yards and then caught the last Seminoles touchdown of the evening just four plays later from quarterback Jordan Travis to give them a 27-13 lead. Travis, highly regarded as a candidate for the Heisman award, threw for 265 yards and that touchdown with a quarterback rating of 143.7.

Williams was able to connect with Jacolby George for an 85-yard score early in the fourth quarter, but the final drive’s failure sealed the win for Florida State and the third straight win in the rivalry. The last time Miami won at Doak Campbell Stadium was in 2019.

Miami faces another ranked opponent in No. 11 Louisville next Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium.