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FSU's Field Goal Curse Ended on "The Miami Muff"

For the better part of a decade, making clutch field goals against Miami didn't top Florida State's list of "Things We Should Do To Win." I'm not talking about an occasional missed kick, either. The Florida State Seminoles had a legitimate curse hop from kicker to kicker when it came time to play the Miami Hurricanes.

Here is a list of key kicks that FSU missed against its rival down in Coral Gables:

1991: Wide Right I — FSU miss in final minute

1992: Wide Right II — FSU miss in closing seconds

2000: Wide Right III — FSU miss as time expired

2002: Wide Left I — FSU miss in final seconds

2004: Wide Right IV — FSU misses go-ahead FG late in Orange Bowl

In case you need another, the 2018 game was dubbed "Wide Left II" after Miami erased a 20-point deficit, and Florida State's Ricky Aguayo missed a kick that would've made it a two-score game in the fourth quarter.

Enough losses and corny nicknames to make your head spin, right? Any fan could lose hope after seeing that many losses in heartbreaking fashion, but on September 5, 2005, the curse finally flipped in favor of the 'Noles.

2005: No. 9 Miami vs. No. 14 Florida State

FSU-Miami rivalry games in the '90s and early 2000s carried massive national championship implications that magnified those missed kicks. As for the 2005 Labor Day game, both teams were highly ranked, but their regular-season opener might be the ugliest contest in the rivalry's recent history.

The story coming in surrounded two quarterbacks making their first start in college football. How would Miami's Kyle Wright and Florida State's Drew Weatherford fare against two defenses littered with All-ACC and All-American talent?

On top of those questions, Florida State hadn't beat Miami in six years.

From the start, neither offense could get going. Florida State mustered an abysmal 170 total yards of offense and just nine first downs on the night, but the defense held Miami in check by tallying nine sacks and forcing three turnovers.

None were bigger than the last one as FSU led 10-7 late in the fourth quarter.

When gaining yards seemed impossible, Miami cobbled together a 17-play, 81-yard drive. Kicker Jon Peattie had already missed two kicks earlier, but a 28-yard field goal attempt to tie the game seemed too good to be true.

However, Miami holder Brian Monroe couldn't handle the low snap and a fire drill ensued. Doak Campbell Stadium erupted as the Seminoles pounced on the loose ball.

No more "Wide Right" nicknames were needed. This play became known as "The Miami Muff."

The Miami Muff

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Florida State ran out the clock to win and snap the six-game losing streak.

In spite of Weatherford finishing 7-of-26 for 67 passing yards, the 'Noles used first half interceptions by Kyler Hall and Ernie Sims to grab an early lead. Kamerion Wimbley led a swarming defense with two sacks, disrupting Miami's rhythm all night.

It was a grind-it-out contest, and regardless of how it looked, no one was happier with the outcome than Florida State's leader.

"We finally stole one from them like they've been stealing them from us," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said after the game (via ESPN). "It's about time."

Miami's Tyrone Moss paced the Larry Coker's Hurricanes with 102 rushing yards, while tight end Greg Olsen led all players with eight catches for 137 yards.

FSU finished the 2005 season with an 8-5 record. They defeated Marcus Vick and the then-No. 5 Virginia Tech Hokies to win the first-ever ACC Championship Game, but fell to third-ranked Penn State in triple overtime in the Orange Bowl.

Since the momentum of FSU's win in 2005, the Seminoles went 10-5 in this rivalry over the next 15 years. Talk about turning over a new leaf.

The Miami Muff mirrored the game that preceded it — Ugly and disorganized. Still, the old adage tells us "a win is a win" no matter how it comes. For Florida State fans, coming out winners for the first time in a long time was all that mattered after a decade of tough losses.

This article was originally published June 3, 2020.

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