With the clock winding down on his team's biggest victory in years, Florida State rookie coach Jimbo Fisher received his first dousing of ice water.
"I tell you what, winning's nice, but dadgum, that's cold," he said with a laugh.
Still, he had nothing but hugs and smiles for the player who got him, sophomore cornerback Greg Reid, and for all of the players who were the architects of the Seminoles' convincing 45-17 win against the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday night before an announced sellout crowd of 75,115 at Sun Life Stadium.
And why not?
His Seminoles might just be relevant again.
Not only within their state borders and their league, but perhaps, depending on how the second half of their season goes, within the national conscience.
The No. 23-ranked Seminoles (5-1), underdogs in a rivalry that might be regaining some of its luster, with both teams ranked for the first time since the 2006 opener, extended their overall winning streak to four games. That after a humbling 47-17 loss at Oklahoma, the one elite team they had played before meeting the No. 13 Hurricanes (3-2, 1-1).
FSU also improved to 3-0 in the league for the first time since 2005 — the last time it went on to win the ACC title and receive a Bowl Championship Series berth.
"I'm very proud of our football team," Fisher said. "We played a complete football game in all three phases, which we knew we would have to do to beat a very good Miami team."
Offensively, junior tailback Jermaine Thomas scored three touchdowns (two rushing and one receiving) as the Seminoles jumped to a commanding halftime lead.
"He's playing great football," Fisher said. "He set the tone making some nice plays early."
Senior quarterback Christian Ponder all but sealed the win with a perfectly thrown fade to sophomore receiver Rodney Smith — a Miami Archbishop Carroll product — for an 18-yard touchdown midway through the final quarter.
Sophomore tailback Chris Thompson provided the exclamation point with a 90-yard touchdown run, the longest run UM had ever allowed. He finished with 158 yards, and FSU totaled 298 on the ground.
Meanwhile, the FSU defense made enough big plays, including a forced fumble that redshirt sophomore Nick Moody scooped up and returned to the 1-yard line to set up Thomas' second score.
Freshman cornerback Lamarcus Joyner also had an interception of junior quarterback Jacory Harris, his ninth this season, to stop the last real drive by the Hurricanes.
The 28-point margin was FSU's largest in the series since it beat a Miami team ravaged by NCAA sanctions, 47-0, in 1997. The previous nine meetings were decided by a total of 37 points.
"We're learning to play on the road and in a hostile environment," Fisher said. "They're maturing. But we have so much room to grow and finish. We're still leaving a lot out there on the field. We have to push and find those inches and keep clawing for everything. But I'm proud of them."
Brian Landman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3347. Follow his coverage at seminoles.tampabay.com.