MIAMI GARDENS — A bad start almost wound up with a storied ending for Miami on Saturday.
Miami allowed 281 yards on the ground, gave up scores on all six Florida State trips into the red zone and still almost rallied from a 24-0 deficit, getting within two points twice in the final quarter before losing 41-39.
"Do we have a long ways to go? Yeah, I think so," UM coach Randy Shannon said.
Travis Benjamin had an 18-yard touchdown run on an end-around, caught a 51-yard touchdown pass from RB Graig Cooper, and finished with 274 all-purpose yards for Miami.
After closing within 34-32 with 8 minutes left, the Hurricanes seemed poised for an enormous rally. But they ran out of time and have now lost 12 of their past 15 conference games and five straight ACC contests at home.
"Losing hurts. You can say this and that, but the bottom line is it's a loss," said LT Jason Fox, who was credited with a touchdown run on a throwback play from QB Robert Marve with 14 seconds left. "It's great that we fought to the end, but if we had done a better job earlier in the game, it wouldn't have come down to us making the plays at the end."
Marve, a former Plant High star, was 17 of 40 for 122 yards and two interceptions.
PREP PALS: One of the special elements of the FSU-UM rivalry is that so many players were high school teammates. This year 24 players on the two rosters starred at the same high school or junior college, including Marve and FSU backup OL Rhonne Sanderson (Plant).
DEFENSIVE LAPSES: Shannon lamented that FSU converted 11 of 17 third downs. "Defensively we weren't able to hold them consistently," Shannon said. "We got them to third down a lot of times, but then we couldn't get them off the field."
ODDS AND ENDS: Sean Spence's interception return for a touchdown was Miami's first since 2003. … The Hurricanes are 0-2 to start league play for the first time since 1997, when they were in the Big East.
Times staff writer Brian Landman contributed to this report.