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Live blog: FSU hangs on against Michigan in Orange Bowl

The Detroit News

 

Michigan tight end Jake Butt moves upfield after a first quarter reception.

 

In a first half that left a lot to be desired, Michigan and Florida State sure delivered a lot of excitement in the second half with FSU holding on for a thrilling 33-32 win in the Orange Bowl.

Michigan's offense was non-existent in the first half and for most of the second half, but it woke up late to take a lead on Chris Evans' 30-yard touchdown scamper. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, a big kick return set up the go ahead touchdown for FSU with 36 seconds remaining.

The Wolverines got the ball back with 36 seconds remaining and all three timeouts, but they weren't able to complete any of their four pass attempts and the Seminoles walked away with the victory.

FSU hits back, Michigan blocks XP

Keith Gavin took the kickoff 66 yards to the Michigan 34 to put FSU back in business. After a 21-yard completion to Dalvin Cook, Michigan was able to force a third down play, but Nyqwan Murray went up and over Jourdan Lewis for a 12-yard touchdown reception that puts FSU up 33-30 with 36 seconds remaining. The Wolverines blocked the extra point and cut the lead to 33-32, notable because now a field goal could win the game.

Michigan has all three timeouts remaining.

Evans puts Michigan on top

The rush attack had been non-existent all night, but three big run plays did all the work for the Wolverines as they took their first lead of the night on a Chris Evans 30-yard touchdown run.

After Evans danced through the FSU defense and took it to the house, the Wolverines followed with a two-point conversion pass from Wilton Speight to Amara Darboh to take a 30-27 lead with 1:57 remaining.

Speight picked up a big third down with a 17-yard scamper across midfield on the third play of a drive that came after the defense forced a three and out. Evans followed with a 9-yard gain to set up his 30-yard burst.

Michigan pulls closer with Hill TD

Wilton Speight found Khalid Hill for an 8-yard, third down touchdown and Michigan has cut the FSU lead to 27-22 with 5:22 remaining.

Both teams exchanged punts, but when Michigan's Jourdan Lewis caught the ball near midfield, Trey Marshall lowered the boom on him and was called for targeting. Marshall was ejected from the game, but more importantly for the Wolverines, they were given possession just 37 yards from pay dirt.

Speight hit Amara Darboh for 18 yards on the first play of the drive and found Jehu Chesson for 15 yards to set up the touchdown.

Cook sets up Francois TD

After a big Maurice Hurst sack put FSU well behind the chains, the Seminoles were content to hand the ball to Dalvin Cook and punt the ball back to the Wolverines. Unfortunately, the Michigan defense got caught napping and Cook reeled off a 71-yard run down the Michigan 16. Three plays later, Deondre Francois took it in from three yards out to give FSU a 27-15 lead with 11:38 remaining.

McCray with the pick-six for UM

Just as it started to look that points would be at a premium for both sides in the second half, Mike McCray intercepted Deondre Francois and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown. The Wolverines went for the two-point conversion, but Wilton Speight's pass was knocked down in the end zone.

With 54 seconds remaining in the third quarter, FSU's lead has been cut to 20-15.

Defenses flexing their muscles

The defenses have started to dominate as Michigan and FSU have both punted on their last two possessions.

On the Wolverines' last possession, they tried to take a shot downfield, but the offensive line continues to get dominated by FSU's defensive line and there wasn't enough time for the deep route to develop.

On the the other side of the ball, Taco Charlton has really turned up the heat on Deondre Francois. The Michigan defense has certainly come to play, but it may need to pitch a shutout in the second half to stand a chance at pulling out the win.

It's 20-9 with 1:12 left in the third quarter.

Michigan opens second half with a field goal

The Wolverines got down to the FSU 12 on the first drive of the second half, but on third down, Wilton Speight was sacked for a seven yard loss and Michigan was forced to settle for a third Kenny Allen field goal that makes it 20-9 with 7:34 to play in the third quarter.

Michigan picked up two first downs to get the ball out across midfield but was faced with a fourth and three at the FSU 33. Jim Harbaugh didn't think about it for very long, calling a pass play that saw Wilton Speight hit Ian Bunting for a 21-yard gain. It was the second grab of the drive for Bunting, who is on the field in place of Jake Butt, who is reportedly out for the game. Tight end Tyrone Wheatley Jr. also made a first down grab to start the drive for the Wolverines.

Seminoles up big at the half

Michigan trails 20-6 at halftime and was outgained 255-83 in total offense by an FSU team that was firing on all cylinders in the first half.

Big plays were the calling card for the Seminoles offense, and Wilton Speight was the victim of a big time pass rush from the defense. All in all, the Wolverines were dominated on both sides of the ball in the first half. Speight was just 10-for-19 for 60 yards in the first half.

Deondre Francois was just 6-for-15 throwing the ball, but those six completions went for 177 yards and a touchdown.

Just before the half, Michigan got out near midfield but punted back to FSU, who just sat on the ball and was content to go into the break with a two touchdown lead.

FSU adds to lead

The Seminoles ran 14 plays and appeared in control, but the Michigan defense was somehow able to hold them to three points on a 38-yard Ricky Aguayo field goal that makes it 20-6 with 4:50 left to play before the half.

FSU rolled the dice early in the drive, going for it on fourth and one at their own 35, but Deondre Francois picked up the short yardage with a straight run over his left guard. Francois picked up a third and 10 with his feet later in the drive to set the Seminoles up at the Michigan 27.

Wolverines settle for another field goal

Michigan got down to the Seminole 6, but they were forced to settle for another Kenny Allen field goal after Amara Darboh dropped a pass from Wilton Speight in the end zone.

With 9:37 left to play in the first half, it's 17-6.

Speight showed some nifty footwork and found Amara Darboh for a first down to get things going for the Wolverines. Eddie McDoom picked up a good gain on the ensuing first down before a blatant late hit on an FSU player gave Michigan 15 more yards and put them in business at the FSU 36. Chris Evans reeled off runs of six and eight  yards on the next two plays, and Speight hit Jake Butt for a first down inside the 10. Butt appeared to suffer a significant injury on the play, but he was able to walk off under his own power.

Seminoles hit pay dirt

Nyqwan Murray made up for his earlier gaffe and beat Jourdan Lewis for a 92-yard touchdown on the first play of FSU's fourth drive of the first quarter.

Kenny Allen had pinned the Seminoles at the 8 after another punt, but it didn't matter. Right now, Michigan looks overmatched on both sides of the ball.

It's 17-3 with 2:49 remaining in the opening frame.

Defense settles in

After the offense went three and out, Michigan's defense finally stepped up and forced FSU to do the same, dropping Dalvin Cook for negative seven yards on consecutive runs to start the drive. That good start led to the first punt of the night from the Seminoles.

The defense really needed to get some good vibes going after FSU knifed their way downfield on their first two possessions.

Seminoles settle for field goal

Dalvin Cook raced down the sideline and caught a beautifully thrown pass by Deondre Francois for a 45-yard gain and another big start to an FSU drive. Two plays later, Francois got drilled by Taco Charlton, who came as a free rusher and delivered a crushing blow that knocked Francois out of the game.

FSU played it safe, handing it to Cook for five yards on the next play before settling for a 42-yard Ricky Aguayo field goal that makes it 10-3 with 7:31 to play in the first quarter.

Muffed punt leads to Wolverines field goal

Michigan's first offensive possession ended unceremoniously, but a booming Kenny Allen punt drove Nyqwan Murray back near the goal line, where he muffed the punt and it was covered up by Dymonte Thomas.

The Wolverines were stuffed on their first attempt from the 1, as De'Veon Smith was driven back to the 4. Two incompletions later, the Wolverines settled for a 19-yard Allen field goal.

It's 7-3 with 9:11 left in the first quarter.

Noles' drive for easy opening TD

After a defensive pass interference call in the end zone set the Seminoles up with first and goal at the 2, Dalvin Cook punched it in to give FSU a 7-0 lead with 12:47 remaining in the first quarter.

The Seminoles made that look easy. They went 75 yards on six plays.

Deondre Francois hit Kermit Whitfield for 23 yards on the first play of the game to get FSU out near midfield. Dalvin Cook did some good work from there, reeling off consecutive runs of 12 and 28 yards to get the Seminoles down to the Michigan 12.

Peppers out of Orange Bowl

Michigan's Heisman Trophy finalist, linebacker and dual threat on offense, Jabrill Peppers will miss tonight's game against the Seminoles because of an injury sustained in practice this week.

Peppers will be missed on the defensive side of the ball as the Wolverines try to slow down Dalvin Cook and the FSU running game.

Wolverines, Seminoles set for big time showdown

While a lot of Michigan fans may consider this season a disappoint given how the late November game against Ohio State ended, there's still a lot left for the team to accomplish at the Orange Bowl tonight against 11th-ranked Florida State.

Given where this program has been over the last nine years, a win tonight against the Seminoles could be another step in the right direction for Jim Harbaugh's Wolverines. 

There's also plenty of incentive for the proud seniors of this squad, who will want to go out on a winning note in Michigan's first trip to the Orange Bowl since Tom Brady led the Wolverines to a 35-34 overtime win over Alabama in 2000. Tonight's game will give Wilton Speight a chance to get some of the sour taste out of his mouth after throwing costly interceptions in the season finale against the Buckeyes. Knowing that he will be the starting quarterback in 2017, a solid performance by Speight tonight will allow him to enter next year's campaign on a high note.

FSU brings in a powerful rushing attack led by one of the premier running back in the nation--Davlin Cook. It's strength on strength as Michigan's defensive line will look to slow down the best running back they've seen this season.

It's the first of the New Year's Six bowls, and regardless of what people think of games outside the College Football Playoff, this is an intriguing matchup between what should be two perennial powers for years to come.

MICHIGAN VS. FLORIDA STATE

When: Friday, 8 p.m.

Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.

TV / radio: ESPN / WJR 950, WTKA 1050

Records: Michigan 10-2, Florida State 9-3

Line: Michigan by 7

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