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Seminoles chop down Hurricanes, 23-19

Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel (3) runs in the second quarter against Miami on Saturday in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State won, 23-19.

Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel (3) runs in the second quarter against Miami on Saturday in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State won, 23-19.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State's kickers and kick returner were the difference in the Seminoles' 23-19 win Saturday over Miami.

Greg Reid scored on an 83-yard punt return and Dustin Hopkins kicked three field goals Saturday to lead Florida State to the victory over their longtime nemesis. Punter Shawn Powell kept the Seminoles out of several holes with his punting, including a 63-yard boomer from his own end zone.

And it's something that all three do regularly for the Seminoles.

"Their punter (Powell) ... he changed the field position the whole second half," Miami coach Al Golden said. "He did an amazing job."

Powell, who came into the game leading the ACC in punting average, averaged 54.8 yards on five punts, including his shortest kick that went out on Miami's six-yard line. Hopkins, the league's scoring leader and top field goal kicker, missed once and is 18 of 21 this season to go along with 126 consecutive PAT kicks.

Florida State (7-3, 5 -2 Atlantic Coast Conference) led 17-7 at the half and held Miami to its lowest scoring total of the season. The Hurricanes had scored at least 21 points in each of their previous nine games.

Florida State has won five straight games since an early-season three-game slide knocked them out of the rankings and a possibility at an ACC championship. Clemson clinched the Atlantic Division with its win Saturday over Wake Forest.

Miami, which is responsible for more heartache among Florida State's fan base through the years, is always a big game for both.

"We play it like it's our national championship, our Superbowl," Powell said.

Miami (5-5, 3-4 ACC) couldn't overcome three early turnovers, but made it interesting late in the game with a pair of 80-yard scoring drives culminated by 1-yard runs by Mike James.

The Hurricanes led just once in the game at 7-3 on Jacory Harris' 2-yard throw to tight end Clive Walford in the second quarter before Florida State scored 20 unanswered points to build its lead to 23-7 early in the fourth quarter on Hopkins' third field goal. Miami's lead came on Jacory Harris' 2-yard TD pass to Clive Walford, but Florida State quickly regained the lead at 10-7 when Rodney Smith beat two Miami defenders in the end zone to grab a 21-yard throw from Manuel with 4:42 left in the half.

Reid's 83-yard punt return with 51 seconds left in the second quarter gave the Seminoles a 17-7 lead. Reid, who led the nation in punt returns two years ago as a freshman, fielded Dalton Botts' punt on one bounce and raced straight up the middle of the field untouched to the end zone. He finished his day's work with 106 yards on three punt returns.

"I looked up and, oh, I seen the band," Reid said. "There was clearly nobody. I just took off."

The 5-9, 170-pound junior from Valdosta, Ga. climbed past five players, including former Florida State stars Peter Warrick and Dee Feaster, into seventh place on the ACC career charts with 1,014 yards. He needs 283 more to surpass former Virgina Tech star Eddie Royal as the all-time leader.

"Greg thinks every return is a touchdown," Fisher said. "That's what makes him great."

Miami dominated the early going in a lengthy, bizarre first half delayed by five video replays, including a time-consuming double reversal where the initial replay call to overturn an officials decision was reversed. The second reversal, however, appeared to get that call correct.

"The flow of the game was very weird," said Fisher. "There wasn't rhythm to the game."

By the time Florida State managed to gets its initial first down midway through the second quarter on EJ Manuel's 24-yard pass to Christian Green,, Miami had outgained the Seminoles 165 yards to 13.

But three costly first half turnovers kept them from adding points. The Hurricanes used more than seven minutes on a lengthy drive from its own one to the Florida State nine before Harris was intercepted in the end zone by Florida State's Lamarcus Joyner.

The Hurricanes were haunted by three turnovers in the first half and trailed by 10 points despite having limited Florida State to 87 yards and three first downs.

"It's just too hard to win when you beat yourself, especially in that environment," first-year Miami coach Al Golden said. "We beat ourselves with turnovers. We beat ourselves with penalties. And clearly they out-executed us on special teams."

Neither quarterback really got untracked. Harris completed 20 of 31 passes for 225 yards and an interception while Manuel, who was playing in this vaunted series for the first time, was 17 of 23 for 196 yards and suffered three sacks.

Hopkins' last two field goals gave Florida State a 23-7 lead with 11:07 left in the game. His second field goal made it 20-7 after the Seminoles failed to punch it in after an 83-yard opening drive in the second half.

Hopkins 37-yard field goal was the only scoring in a wild first quarter when both teams avoided potentially disastrous mistakes.

Florida State appeared to score on the game's first play from scrimmage when Joyner scooped up an apparent fumble by Miami receiver Allen Hurns and returned it 34 yards, But the touchdown ruling on the field was overturned by replay officials who decided Hurns didn't have possession long enough. It was instead called an incomplete pass.

But Florida State also dodged a bullet when Manuel's desperation pass near his own goal line was initially ruled a safety with the Seminoles leading 3-0. It was that call that led to a lengthy interruption as the replay booth overruled the field officials and the points were put on the scoreboard -- for a short time. That decision was rescinded as the final ruling in which Manuel's feet were still outside of the end zone, which TV replays appeared to confirm.

It was the first time in six years the home team won. The game was played four days shy of the 20th anniversary of Miami's 17-16 win over the Seminoles in a 1991 matchup of unbeaten teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2. Florida State's Gerry Thomas missed a 34-yard field goal in the final seconds after hitting his first three that day.

Miami, which still needs a win to become bowl eligible, visits South Florida next Saturday before hosting Boston College in its season finale, Nov. 25.