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Florida State snuffed out Miami's undefeated season with an extra painful blocked PAT

Mark Richt's first loss at Miami comes in excruciating fashion.

DeMarcus Walker, after he blocked Miami's game-tying extra point.
DeMarcus Walker, after he blocked Miami's game-tying extra point.

No. 10 Miami was trying to come back on Florida State Saturday night, and the Canes connected on a well-executed fade route to, presumably, even the score at 20-20. But that required an extra point, and Florida State's DeMarcus Walker wasn't in any kind of mood to let the game be tied.

Kicker Michael Badgley, a junior, had made 72 successful extra points in a row. Walker's swatting ended that and kept Florida State ahead, 20-19. Miami still had three timeouts and a minute and a half to play, but the No. 23 Noles never let them have the ball back.

A fourth-and-5 touchdown throw from Brad Kaaya to Stacy Coley made the score 20-19, setting up Badgley's doomed PAT. It was a brilliant pitch-and-catch, making the blocked extra point extra devastating for the Canes.

With five minutes left in the game, officials ejected Miami defensive back Jamal Carter for a high hit, ruled targeting, against Florida State's Kermit Whitfield. Miami fans responded by pelting the field at Hard Rock Stadium with trash, causing a brief delay. It was a costly penalty, coming on a third-and-13 and briefly preserving an FSU drive when the Noles led by a touchdown. The garbage on the field didn't help anything, although Miami wasn't penalized for it.

Miami started hot. The Canes charged to a 13-0 lead, and Florida State didn't score at all until a Ricky Aguayo field goal seconds before halftime. Jimbo Fisher expressed optimism in his walk-off interview with ESPN's Sam Ponder that the game could turn for the Noles if their offense got churning, and he got his wish.

Florida State was a different team after the half. The Noles punted on their first post-halftime drive, but a Tarvarus McFadden interception on Miami's next trip set up a 59-yard Dalvin Cook touchdown catch. Whitfield found the end zone the next time FSU had the ball, and Fisher's team was suddenly all the way back. That paved a road for a fun finish, with Miami trying to cobble together its biggest win of the year in front of an engaged home crowd.

The Canes hadn't played any opponents of FSU's caliber during their unbeaten start. But they'd done what good teams are supposed to do, running over, around, and through lesser opponents. The Seminoles were already out of the College Football Playoff picture, having taken losses in two of the previous three games against Louisville and North Carolina. They got to Miami just trying to salvage what's left of their season, and they fought hard for that.

FSU entered at 3-2, and Miami was 4-0. The Canes are still in the thick of the ACC Coastal race.

Miami wore some gorgeous throwback uniforms that recalled The U's heyday, and the Canes rightfully like them so much they'll keep wearing them on a full-time basis. That's an excellent decision.