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Medearis' speech has impact on Hurricanes

Hurricanes defensive end Rusty Medearis, who tore knee ligaments last week against Arizona, spoke to the team before the game. His speech was wide-ranging, but one statement left the greatest impact.

"The main thing he told us was to go out and play with everything we've got because you never know if it's your last time," said cornerback Ryan McNeil.

McNeil heeded the advice. He may have turned in his best game. UM's top cornerback blanketed FSU receivers, broke up four passes and intercepted another.

Paul White, UM's other corner, also turned in a big game. White blocked a kick, intercepted a pass, broke up one and made four tackles. His brother Patrick played at Florida State.

UM has his number

Several UM defenders wore "98" decals on their helmets to honor Medearis.

That will change this week because it's against NCAA rules to wear another player's number on your uniform. The Hurricanes wore "44" and "98" in honor of former UM players Shane Curry and Jerome Brown, who were killed during the off-season. The team now wears "SC" and "JB" stickers.

Vanover ties record

FSU freshman Tamarick Vanover's 94-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff was his second in as many weeks. He had a 96-yarder last week against Wake Forest. He tied the FSU career record for kickoff returns for touchdowns, held by Eddie McMillan (1970-72) and T.K. Wetherell (1964-66).

Rocket revisited

The last time UM allowed a kickoff to be returned for a touchdown was in 1990 when Raghib Ismail took one 94 yards in Notre Dame's 29-20 victory.

Block that kick

Florida State's special teams have plagued UM before. Last year, Sterling Palmer blocked a field-goal attempt by Carlos Huerta. Tommy Henry accomplished the feat against Dane Prewitt this year.

Before Saturday, UM's last block was by Darryl Williams against Penn State last year. White blocked Dan Mowrey's kick this year.

Prewitt's woes

Prewitt struggled again. After missing field-goal attempts against Arizona, he missed a 22-yarder and had another from 44 yards blocked. He's now 3 of 7 this year, but remains confident.

"I know what I did wrong, that's the thing. I know I can correct," said Prewitt. "I just didn't keep my concentration all the way through."

Allen forced into action

Who was the guy who made the crucial fumble in the fourth quarter? The Seminoles were driving after two completions to William Floyd gave them the ball at the Miami 30. Then quarterback Charlie Ward hit Clyde Allen for a 10-yard gain over the middle. Clyde Allen?

The junior from Fort Myers had a total of six carries and no receptions coming into this year. Yet he was in the game at a crucial time _ and fumbled.

"We had a bunch of guys with cramps," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "(Kevin) Knox had leg cramps, Matt Frier had leg cramps. We had some guys out there who were third-team. I don't even want to say third-team. They were backups."

Baker salutes 'Canes

FSU receiver Shannon Baker, a senior, on losing to the Hurricanes for the third time in his four years: "I don't know. I just have to tip my hat to them. When it's time to crank it up, they always do what it takes to win the game."

UM's Thomas given IV

Miami wide receiver Lamar Thomas was placed on an intravenous line after the game because of dehydration.

Frier has career day

FSU's Frier had a career-high seven receptions for 70 yards.

Coming from behind

In the 36-game UM-FSU series, the Seminoles have led the Hurricanes after three quarters 17 times, with Miami coming from behind to win 13 of them.

Another close loss

FSU's last three losses have come by a combined nine points. The last team from outside the state of Florida to defeat FSU was Auburn, 20-17 in 1990. Since then, FSU has lost twice to Miami and once to Florida.

A rooting interest

Confusing allegiances? FSU cheerleader Pam Morgan, a junior, transferred to Tallahassee this year, after spending last year as a UM cheerleader.

Next up

The Seminoles face North Carolina next week in Tallahassee. The Tar Heels beat Navy 28-14 Saturday.

The Hurricanes play at Penn State. Players insist they'll be up for the game.

"We have to, we don't have a choice," said defensive end Darren Krein. "This week was a national championship game and next week is another national championship game for us."

_ BOB HARIG and RANDY CREMER

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