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Rapid Recap: FSU wins dramatic Orange Bowl over Michigan

Florida Football Insiders



Photo by Douglas Jones/Icon Sportswire

It didn’t start out that way in the first half with FSU dominating Michigan and leading 20-6, but the Wolverines made it crazy Orange Bowl finish. But, In the end, the Noles survived Friday night in Miami 33-32 and captured a coveted “New Year’s Six Bowl.”

Florida State built an impressive 17-3 first quarter lead on the strength of Dalvin Cook’s running and this Orange Bowl record 92 yard bomb from Deondre Francois to Nyqwan Murray:

The Noles remained in control until late in the third when Francois threw this critical interception that got “Mee-shh-igan” back in the game:

They were playing without star linebacker/part time running back Jabril Peppers who had injured his hamstring earlier in the week, tried to warm up in uniform, but ultimately, could not play. Still with momentum back on their side, the Wolverines pulled ahead with under 2:00 left in the fourth, as running back Chris Evans’ 30 yard run completed a 12 point comeback and Michigan led 30-27.

But the Noles got an amazing 66 yard kickoff return from Keith Gavin, where he initially hesitated in the end zone, then broke up the middle to set up the FSU clinching score.

That came when Francois lofted this ball for the corner of the endzone to Murray again:

Not to go quietly, Michigan blocked the extra point and ran it all the way back for two points to cut the lead to 33-32. But the Wolverines, could not pick up a first down in their own end in the final seconds, Florida State took over and ran out the clock.

For his part, Cook had 145 yards rushing, ends his career as FSU’s all time leading rusher and will be a first round pick in the NFL draft when he declares.

Francois completed only nine passes but still threw for 222 yards and the two huge TDs. He also ran one in during the fourth quarter, as FSU finishes the 2016 season 10-3.

The win lifted the ACC to 6-2 in bowl games headed into Saturday’s action.

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