But turnovers—of which Miami had none—doomed the Seminoles as surely as did Johnson's decisions to go for two-point conversions after Miami cut the lead first to 19-9 and then to 19-17. "We aren't very good at two-point plays," Johnson said after the game. But when you're leading the straight life, well, you just convert those suckers.
Florida State, which outgained Miami in total yards 426 to 306, suffered an early reversal when a bad snap went whizzing by holder McManus's head on a 40-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter. Miami took possession on the Seminole 26 and six downs later kicked a field goal for a 3-0 lead. In the fourth quarter McManus was thwarted by defensive end Dan Stubbs, Miami's alltime sack leader. With 13:41 remaining and the ball on the Miami 46-yard line, the 6'4", 250-pound Stubbs fought off a chop block by 305-pound tackle Pat Tomberlin, reached up his incredibly long arms and intercepted a screen pass. Six plays and a two-pointer later, Miami tied the score at 19. "I should have run over and handed him the ball," said a disgusted McManus afterward.
The last turnover, a fumble after a bad exchange between Seminole center Mark Salva and McManus that was recovered by Bennie Blades at the Miami 11, was the cruncher. Four plays later Walsh hit Irvin on the 73-yarder, and the 'Canes had increased their regular-season winning streak to 24 games, and Johnson had improved his road record to 19-1.
Way back at halftime Reynolds had been feeling expansive. Having a school building named after him, he admitted, "is thrilling, and yet at the same time I feel I should be dead." He added that he was amazed by all the football talent born and bred in Florida these days. Indeed, of the starting 44 players on offense and defense for the two teams, only 10 are not Floridians. "It used to be we all thought Ohio was the place for football players," said Reynolds. "Now I'll bet Florida has talent that will match even California's."
Hear that, you out-of-state recruiters? You'd be wise to get yourselves down there and do a little picking. But be careful because it's even hotter than usual in the Sunshine State: A lot of people are packing heat.