MIAMI — In the 19 games since its birth, Miami's famed turnover chain has sparked big victories.
It has spawned an army of copycats, including the oft-mocked backpack on the other sidelines at Hard Rock Stadium.
And Saturday against archrival Florida State, the No. 17 Hurricanes' bejeweled symbol of over-the-top swag took on a mythic quality in a historic come-from-behind victory.
"That chain does powers," linebacker Michael Pinckney said. "(Saturday) is a testament to that."
That chain — and the turnovers that brought it out — were responsible for how the 'Canes turned a 20-point deficit into a 28-27 triumph.
It was the largest comeback in the storied history of the FSU-Miami rivalry and the Hurricanes' largest since a 38-33 win over the Gators in 2003. It also marked Miami's first home win in the series since 2004.
"We let one get away," FSU coach Willie Taggart said.
It's hard to argue against him, given how FSU (3-3, 1-3 ACC) dominated early.
FSU defensive end Brian Burns was unblockable (three tackles for a loss, two strip-sacks and a third that was called back). D.J. Matthews ripped off two big punt returns; one set up a 17-yard touchdown pass from Deondre Francois to Tamorrion Terry, and the other resulted in a 74-yard punt return for a score.
Boos were coming from Miami's home crowd of 65,490. It looked as if FSU had another win over Miami (5-1, 2-0) secured in its red turnover bag.
"Then the turnovers happened," 'Canes coach Mark Richt said.
First came Miami's own strip-sack, when safety Sheldrick Redwine flew at Francois, knocking the ball out. Former Gator Gerald Willis recovered at the FSU 20. The turnover chain made its first appearance.
The chain's powers of field position gave Miami's offense the spark it needed. Quarterback N'Kosi Perry hit 6-foot-5 receiver Lawrence Cager for a touchdown on a fourth-down fade. That cut FSU's lead to 27-14.
Then FSU's lopsided results in the series worked against the Seminoles.
Pinckney had heard all week about the Seminoles' dominance – how they won seven of their last eight over UM and were unbeaten in the series at what's now Hard Rock Stadium. He was tired of it, so he studied more for Saturday's matchup than any game in his career.
The dedication paid off on the next series, when he spotted clues from his film study about a pass FSU used on third down earlier in the game. That preparation allowed him to jump into Francois' passing lane for an interception.
The chain came out again.
"It just gets everybody going," Perry said.
Including Perry. On the next play, he found Jeff Thomas for a 17-yard touchdown pass that made it a one-score game. It was Thomas' first play back since injuring his leg on a kickoff return that sparked one of the day's two major shouting matches, not including the ones in the rowdy stands.
Miami got the final break it needed on special teams when Ricky Aguayo missed a 43-yard field goal. It won't go into series lore beside Wide Right, Wide Left or the 2016 Block at Hard Rock, but it kept the deficit within a score.
That was enough.
Perry's 32-yard third-down bomb to Thomas kept the ensuing drive alive, and he capped it off with a 41-yard touchdown pass to streaking tight end Brevin Jordan for the lead and the game.
Miami's defense forced three-and-outs on the final three drives to seal it.
"Thank goodness for the defense and the turnover chain — obviously a motivating factor for our team and a game changer," Richt said.
It's not just a game changer.
Saturday night, it was a game winner – and a magic-making streak ender.
Contact Matt Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.