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The Seminoles scored their 16 unanswered points with a Johnson-to-Dawsey 19-yard touchdown pass with 1:40 left in the first half, Richie Andrews's 32-yard field goal, the only score for either side in the third quarter, and tailback Amp Lee's two-yard sweep with 11:30 left in the game. But the Hurricanes gathered themselves for their final scoring drive. On the sideline, offensive line coach Gregg Smith told a crowd of Hurricane helmets, "If you're going to do anything, you've got to do it right here, and on the ground is how." Across the field, the Florida State defense sensed that the outcome of the game hung on this drive. "In our hearts, we knew if we stopped them we'd win it," Carruthers said. "But they shoved it down our throats."
McGuire hurled his 5'11", 219-pound body across the line nine times during the series, gaining 45 yards. Said Sullivan, "You had to be just crazed. It was just guys fighting guys, a fistfight is what it got down to."
In the process, the unheralded McGuire proved that he and Conley can give the Hurricanes the kind of running threat once posed by former Miami backfield mates Melvin Bratton and Alonzo Highsmith. McGuire is not only fast, but durable; he shook off dehydration and a case of stomach cramps in the second quarter. And in keeping with the new Hurricane image, he is soft-spoken and unassuming, seeming genuinely taken aback by his achievements. "I just wanted to be like Highsmith and Bratton, and go out on those pass routes," he said.
The deciding drive was also a tribute to Miami's entire left side, led by Sullivan. The fifth-year graduate business student, a son of Irish immigrants who plans to return home to Chicago for a career in politics, has started every game in his Miami career. His 40th straight was what Smith called "maybe the finest game he has ever played." Sullivan acknowledged, "Nobody will ever remember an offensive line except for a day like today. So we'll bask in the glow."
When Sullivan wasn't knocking defensive tackle Henry Ostaszewski backward, he was rolling up Carruthers or Jones on a counter. He was so certain he could move Florida State's front on the last drive that he turned toward the coaching staff on the sidelines, gesturing and banging himself in the chest. At first, the sideline staff didn't get it. "They were looking at me like, 'Does he need water, is he hurt, does he need a blow?' " Sullivan said. What he meant was Run to my side again.
"When he knows he's got a guy's number, you believe him," quarterback Erickson said of Sullivan. "And if there are two guys on him, he'll get them both."
The Hurricanes took Sullivan up on his challenge. After an Erickson pass to tight end Rob Chudzinski took the Hurricanes down to the Florida State six-yard line, McGuire ran the ball four straight times. On his final carry of the drive, he banged past Sullivan to make the end zone standing up.
"Finally," Sullivan said, "they got the point."