There were tears in his eyes because FSU's Clifton Abraham believed he cost his team the game.
Abraham, a sophomore cornerback, was the player trying to cover Miami receiver Lamar Thomas when Thomas hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Gino Torretta that proved to be the winning score in Miami's 19-16 victory over FSU.
"I had great coverage on him," Abraham said, recalling the first-down play in the fourth quarter. "I felt he kind of grabbed me so he could go forward. I don't know what happened.
"I feel like I let everybody down. It's going to hurt a lot. I won't get over this until we play them again."
FSU did an excellent job of containing Miami. The Hurricanes managed only 65 yards rushing, and Torretta finished 20-of-48 for 252 yards. His longest was 33 _ the pass to Thomas for the touchdown.
"It's just amazing," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "They came back and got us in one shot. We said all week we had to stop the big play and we did for 57 minutes. Then they got us."
The touchdown occurred on the drive after FSU had taken a 16-10 lead. Twice, Torretta converted on third down, including an 8-yard pass to tight end Coleman Bell on a third-and-5 with just over seven minutes left. On the next play, Torretta lofted a pass down the right sideline just beyond Abraham's reach and into Thomas' arms.
"I just couldn't get to it," Abraham said. "I felt like I lost it. The ball fell right over my hands and he got it. I let my teammates down."
A few seats from Abraham, sophomore cornerback Corey Sawyer was saying the same thing. Sawyer had an interception, but he also made a huge mistake late in the game. Sawyer tried to field a punt deep in his territory that he should have let bounce into the end zone. Instead, he caught the ball at the 1 and his momentum took him into the end zone, where he almost was tackled for a safety. He tried to unload the ball and was lucky it wasn't ruled a fumble. Instead, the officials ruled it was an illegal forward pass and awarded Miami a safety for a 19-16 lead.
Had Sawyer let the ball go, the Seminoles would have taken over at their 20 with about three minutes left. Instead, Miami got the ball after a free kick. Only 1:35 was left when FSU got the ball back for its final drive.
"I forgot where I was," Sawyer said. "I thought I could down it in the end zone, then I realized I couldn't.
"I made a big mistake."