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Braxton Berrios celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Florida State. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)

Nickel Coverage: Five Storylines From Miami’s Win Over Florida State

Thanks to some late-game heroics, No. 13 Miami snatched victory from the jaws of defeat when redshirt junior receiver Darrell Langham hauled in a game-winning 23-yard touchdown pass with six seconds left to secure 24-20 win for the Hurricanes over rival Florida State Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium.

Harris, who had just three catches through the entire season before Saturday’s game, arguably made the biggest catch of his career over Seminoles (1-3, 1-2 ACC) top defensive back Tarvarus McFadden – snapping the Hurricanes’ (4-0, 2-0) seven-game losing streak to their hated rival.

Five storylines from Miami’s big win:

Miami’s receivers came to play.

The statement obviously lends itself to Langham’s clutch catch. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound receiver got the best of a South Florida product in Plantation American Heritage alum McFadden and made the play that got a huge garnett and gold-colored monkey off the Canes’ back.

Ironically enough, the game-winner was Langham’s only catch of the day

Not since 2009 had Miami beaten Florida State prior to Saturday. And it was fitting that, in spite of Florida State trudging its way through what has quickly become a very disappointing season, UM would rally and dish out some heartbreak to the Seminoles and their fans.

However, Langham would not have been able to make the play that should allow him to drink free anywhere in Coral Gables for the rest of the year if were not for the stellar play of senior receiver Braxton Berrios.

“BB8” put on a season-defining performance Saturday – finishing with 90 receiving yards and two big touchdown catches. And it would appear that the huge game was bubbling inside of him before the game even started.

Berrios, who is leading the Hurricanes in receiving this year, played with a fiery edge (more on that later) and made some of the game’s biggest plays.

He broke a 3-3 tie with just under seven minutes to play in the third quarter when he caught a 21-yard back shoulder touchdown pass from Malik Rosier – after he set up the offense with a short field thanks to a 44-yard punt return.

Sophomore Ahmmon Richards got in on the action, too. Aside from his catching four passes for 68 yards in his first game in Tallahassee, the former freshman All-American caught some of that fire from Berrios and did this to an FSU defensive back.

That will be shown in montages about Miami-FSU for years to come.

The Canes got their mental edge back.

Before the game even kicked off, it was clear – at least to me – that Miami was the better of the two teams.

Not because of the records, but because the Hurricanes are a much better version of themselves now – so much that I’ve gone on record calling it the most talented team the school has had in the post-Al Golden era.

But I also knew that while Miami had all the physical tools (talented players and better coaches) it needed to defeat Florida State, they needed to overcome the mental aspect of the game and – to oversimplify it – just believe they could win the game.

For the entire first half, Miami’s players looked like they were caught up in the aura of the game – the bigness of the moment and the mystique of “playing against Florida State”.

Don’t get me wrong, the Seminoles are still a very talented team with a lot of future professional players on the roster. But the Noles are in a bad spot overall with their lanky freshman quarterback and their lackluster offensive line.

While you could look at it pessimistically and say that Miami narrowly squeaked by a down FSU team, Hurricanes fans should rejoice in the team’s victory over the rival that had beaten them seven straight years.

Hopefully, a win like that is just what the Canes needed to spark the return of something very special in Coral Gables.

Mark Walton is not healthy.

UM’s No. 1 ball carrier did not look anywhere close to his regular self against the Seminoles. It was clear that his injured left ankle was giving him a lot of trouble. Coach Richt didn’t use Walton much, and when he did – the runs weren’t fruitful.

Walton ended up rushing the ball 12 times for a team-low 25 yards before being carted off the field in the second half.

There’s no doubt Walton is Miami’s top offensive weapon – when he’s healthy. And despite his “living in the training room” leading up to the game against FSU, Walton cannot help UM’s offense right now.

Sophomore Travis Homer played well against Duke two weeks ago and ended up leading the Hurricanes in rushing (29 yards on three carries) when he was given a chance against Florida State.

Neither is Navaugh Donaldson.
The Canes offensive line took a big hit when freshman guard Navaughn Donaldson left the game in the second half.

Donaldson, who quickly became a fan and team favorite from his stunningly awesome performances since he arrived on campus back in the spring, stayed down on the ground for a long time after the initial injury and had to be helped off the field by trainers.

After the game, he was seen wearing a protective boot on his right leg.

Kendrick Norton is my hero.

Call it swag, call it having fun – I call it one of the funniest and best celebrations I’ve ever seen on a football field.

Never change Kendrick, never change.

About J.T. Wilcox

J.T. Wilcox is an award-winning sports journalist that has worked in South Florida for more than a decade. He authors "The Bald Predictions" Blog and "The Baldcast" Podcast. J.T. Wilcox joined the Football Hotbed staff in 2017.

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