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Deficit inspired fire in defense

First, there was talk that Florida State's defense was the best in the nation, and then the Seminoles' Tamarick Vanover put seven points on the board on the opening kickoff.

The University of Miami defense was, in a word, irate.

"We don't want any team to score a touchdown," linebacker Jessie Armstead said.

"We weren't thinking in terms of shutting them down so we could give the offense a shot. We don't care what the offense is doing; we don't believe in giving up anything."

The defense gave up just three field goals Saturday. Eight FSU drives ended in UM territory, but the Hurricanes held on with four turnovers and seven sacks.

"They have got a great defense, maybe the best in the country," linebacker Darrin Smith said of the Seminoles. "But I'll put this defense against any."

Defensive ends Kevin Patrick and Darren Krein turned in big performances, upholding a UM custom of less-heralded players stepping up. (Three backups have won Orange Bowl MVP awards.)

While injured end Rusty Medearis watched, Patrick and Krein combined for 14 tackles (seven for losses), four sacks and a fumble caused.

"Someone had to come through; we all knew we had to play better without Rusty," said defensive tackle Pat Riley, who added five tackles (one for a loss), one sack and a fumble recovery.

Alumni meeting: After the coaches spoke at the team's Thursday night meeting, ex-Hurricanes took over. Eddie Brown, Alonzo Highsmith and Melvin Bratton were among the former UM stars to speak.

"Those guys make you realize that we're carrying Hurricane tradition," Smith said.

Second to one: Along with catching the winning touchdown, Lamar Thomas became the runner-up to Michael Irvin in three UM career receiving categories: touchdowns (16), yards (1,775) and receptions (114, tied with Willie Smith and Wesley Carroll).

The final word: "FSU last year, wide right. Arizona last week, wide right. FSU today, wide right," receiver Horace Copeland said. "It's tradition."