Leonard Myers couldn't wait to measure up against Florida State's speedy Peter Warrick, sure he could do what few other cornerbacks had managed to accomplish.
Instead, Miami's brash sophomore merely became the newest member of a rapidly growing club.
Warrick caught a 62-yard scoring pass and set up William McCray's touchdown run with a 50-yard catch as the eighth-ranked Seminoles beat Miami 26-14 Saturday.
"If he wanted me, he got me," Warrick said after the Seminoles' fourth consecutive victory in the rivalry, their longest since winning seven in a row from 1963-72.
Warrick finished with 190 yards on seven catches, his sixth career 100-yard game and fourth this season. It was his second-best career day, topped only by a 249-yard outing against Clemson last year.
All that film of Warrick victimizing defensive backs hadn't stopped Myers from throwing down the gauntlet at midweek, saying the thought of Warrick "makes my blood boil. I'll want him every play."
That didn't quite happen, though Myers was burned on Warrick's 50-yard grab in the third quarter. That came after a six-catch, 138-yard first half.
"Talk is cheap," Warrick said. "There's a difference between talking about us and going out and doing it. I know he was trying to get himself motivated, but what he didn't know was that he motivated me."
Myers called Warrick "a good athlete. I just can't take anything away from him."
Chris Weinke threw for 316 yards and two TDs, his first career 300-yard game, to become only the second Florida State quarterback in 14 years to beat Miami in the Orange Bowl. The 26-year-old sophomore went a fourth straight game without an interception after throwing six in a loss at North Carolina State.
Bubba ranks and Santana Moss caught touchdown passes for the Hurricanes (3-2).
Miami sought to avenge last year's 47-0 loss in Tallahassee, but the Hurricanes couldn't hold off Florida State's swarming defense. Scott Covington was sacked seven times, twice each by Tony Bryant and Roland Seymour.
"We're closer, but they're so deep and talented, they can wear you down," Covington said. "They just have three or four groups of guys going after you."
Miami coach Butch Davis tried to create a spark by inserting Kenny Kelly at quarterback midway through the third quarter. But the redshirt freshman threw an interception in his first series and a fourth-down incompletion the next possession. Covington returned the following series.
Saturday's meeting lacked some of the luster of past clashes, when national titles were on the line. It marked the first time since 1985 that both teams entered the game with a loss. That also was the last time the teams faced each other when neither was ranked in the top five.
The Hurricanes rolled the dice early and often in an attempt to break their losing streak, with mixed results.
Miami's Jorge Gaitan barely nudged the ball forward on the opening kickoff and recovered his own onside kick. But Moss dropped a deep throw on the first play from scrimmage, and the Hurricanes wound up punting.
"That told me they were desperate and would try anything," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said.
Miami also lost another potential big gain when a holding flag nullified a 42-yard pass to Franks. The Seminoles struck back on Weinke's 62-yard score to Warrick, who outjumped Nick Ward at the Miami 30 and sprinted the rest of the way.
Less than a minute later, Warrick fumbled a punt return for the fourth time in as many games and Miami's James Lewis recovered at the Florida State 18. On fourth-and-1 at the 9, Covington caught the Seminoles off guard when he found Franks alone in the end zone.
Miami gambled again on fourth down after driving to the Florida State 21 on its next series, but Edgerrin James was thrown for a 2-yard loss.
"We didn't play this game to play it close," Miami coach Butch Davis said. "We came to win the ballgame."
Marvin Minnis put Florida State ahead for good three minutes before halftime, catching a 23-yard TD pass from Weinke. The Seminoles also scored on their first two possessions of the second half, as Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 27-yard field goal and Warrick's 50-yard catch between defenders set up McCray's 3-yard scoring run.
Moss brought the Hurricanes within 24-14 with 3:08 left with a 52-yard TD pass from Kelly, but Kelly's fumble in the end zone resulted in a Florida State safety with 1:18 remaining to cap the scoring.
© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved