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54-yard field goal at buzzer spoils big comeback by FSU

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The FSU Seminoles had evidently made one of the most impressive comeback wins in their history.

And then, shockingly, they had not.

The Seminoles, behind North Carolina by as many as 21 points on the afternoon, came back to take a one-point lead with 23 seconds to go. But Nick Weiler nailed a career-long 54-yard field goal as time expired and the Tar Heels salvaged a 37-35 game that may have eliminated the Seminoles from the national title picture.

FSU, which has now allowed 135 points in its last three games, didn’t have much trouble moving the ball. Quarterback Deondre Francois threw for 372 and ran for two touchdowns, including a go-ahead touchdown in the final minute. Dalvin Cook ran for 140 yards (and three touchdowns) and caught passes for 106 more yards.

“I have to coach better so we can play better,” said FSU coach Jimbo Fisher.

Bobo Wilson caught six passes for 120 yards. But FSU’s Ricky Aguayo missed three field goals.

But the FSU defense continued to give up big yards. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky hit 31 of 38 passes for 405 yards. Receiver Ryan Switzer caught 14 passes for 158 yards.

North Carolina moved 40 yards in 19 seconds to get in position for the field goal, the last 15 against FSU’s Tavarus McFadden for pass interference.

For the day, FSU gained 598 yards and North Carolina gained 538.

The Seminoles face another test next week when a rejuvenated Miami comes to town.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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