13 September 2011
In the history of ESPN’s wildly successful show College Gameday there are only three other schools who have appeared on the show more than the ‘Noles 23 times. FSU’s opponent Saturday, Oklahoma, have appeared on Gameday 25 times, Ohio State 29 times, and the in-state rival Florida Gators 32 times.
In part one of this three part series, we will travel through some of the biggest and best games the Seminoles have played on College Gameday.
Before we go into the history of the Seminoles on College Gameday I would be remiss if I did not mention why FSU has only been on the show 23 times and not 24.
Back in September of 2001, the College Gameday crew was scheduled to be in Tallahassee when the #6 ranked Seminoles took on ACC foe the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets for their September 15th showdown. Unfortunately, the tragic day that was September 11th changed all of that. The College Football schedule took a backseat—and rightfully so—to the national tragedy that week and the FSU-Georgia Tech game was moved to December 1st after the Florida-Florida State game. College Gameday did not pick up the game that was moved. (FSU defeated Georgia Tech 28-17)
FSU got their start on College Gameday during the 1993 season, the midst of the Seminoles first National Championship run versus the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The #1 ranked Seminoles traveled to South Bend, Indiana on November 13th to take on the #2 ranked Fighting Irish. Coming into the game, Florida State had been ranked atop the polls for 12 consecutive weeks.
FSU scored first in the game via 12 yard TD pass from Charlie Ward to Kevin Knox but the Irish answered back and seized control of the game. Notre Dame would extend their lead to 24-7 in the 3rd quarter; however the Seminoles summoned something that would pay off in the end of the 1993 season—by showing a never say die mentality.
Florida State cut the lead to 24-17 at one point in the game, and even following another Notre Dame TD that made it 31-17 with 4:05 to go the Seminoles still did not give up. Again—Charlie Ward lead FSU on a scoring drive, this time finding Kez McCorvey in the back of the endzone off a tipped ball.
Following a Notre Dame missed field goal, FSU would get the ball back one last time with 51 seconds to go in the game. The Seminoles started from their own 37 yard line and very quickly moved down the field with two successful completions to McCorvey, followed by one to a young Warrick Dunn to move into the redzone with 10 seconds to go. Charlie Ward and the Seminoles would have two shots at tying the game, but both were knocked down as FSU fell to the Fighting Irish 31-24. In the game Charlie Ward was 31-of-50 for 297 yards while Kez McCorvey caught 11 of those passes for 138 yards. Florida State would use this game as a building block and motivation to defeat the Nebraska Cornhuskers for the National Championship later that year 18-16.
Other Gameday appearances:
2) 10/8/1994- (13) Miami- 34 (3) Florida State- 20 (Miami, FL)
3) 10/7/1995- (1) Florida State- 41 (NR) Miami- 17 (Tallahassee, FL)
4) 11/25/1995- (3) Florida- 35 (6) Florida State- 24 (Gainesville, FL)
On November 30th, 1996, for only the fourth time in College Football History two teams met in the regular season finale undefeated and it just so happened to be between the #1 ranked Florida Gators and #2 ranked Florida State Seminoles as Gameday was in attendance.
The Seminoles set the pace of the game when FSU safety Shevin Smith intercepted a Danny Wuerffel pass in the endzone, on the Gators first drive of the ball game. FSU used that momentum to drive right back down the field—lead by Warrick Dunn—to get on the board first via a Scott Bently field goal.
The stout FSU defense forced a three-and-out on the Gators very next possession of the game, and the Seminoles special teams came up large. Peter Boulware busted through the coverage to block the Gators punt which set the Seminoles up for a very easy touchdown possession giving the ‘Noles a 10-0 lead.
The next offensive possession by the Seminoles saw Thad Busby hit—the then—freshman Peter Warrick on a 39 yard pass setting up a 38 yard touchdown pass to Melvin Pearsall. All of a sudden FSU was in full control of the game 17-0.
As the Seminoles controlled the first quarter, the Florida Gators did the same in quarter two storming back with two touchdown passes from Danny Wuerffel. The Gators missed a field goal wide right at the end of the first half to preserve the the Seminoles lead.
The third quarter was a defensive struggle, to say the least. Neither team were able to do much with what they had and the game moved into the fourth quarter with the score as it was, 17-14.
The Gators would miss another field goal in the fourth quarter, in an attempt to tie the game and the miss would prove to be costly. Florida State would put together a solid fourth quarter drive. Thad Busby drove the Seminoles down the field and a Warrick Dunn 18 yard run to the 1 set up Pooh Bear Williams for his second rushing touchdown on the day making it 24-14 with a little over 7 minutes to play.
Wuerffel would lead the Gators on one last drive, hitting Reidel Anthony in the endzone with 2:28 left in the game, but the Seminoles would never give the ball back winning 24-21 completing their second perfect regular season in the school’s history.
- Warrick Dunn: 24 rushes- 185 yards, 4 catches- 24 yards
- Pooh Bear Williams: 5 rushes- 4 yards 2 TDs
- Peter Warrick: 3 receptions- 70 yards
- Thad Busby: 12-32 124 yards
- FSU held the Florida Gators to 81 yards rushing
The Florida Gators would have the last say, ultimately when Florida and Florida State would be matched up again in the Sugar Bowl for the National Championship. The Gators defeated FSU 52-20 which was the Seminoles 6th appearance on College Gameday.
7) 11/8/1997- (3) Florida State- 20 (5) North Carolina- 3 (Chapel Hill, NC)
8) 11/22/1997- (10) Florida- 32 (2) Florida State- 29 (Gainesville, FL)
9) 10/24/1998- (6) Florida State- 34 (20) Georgia Tech- 7 (Atlanta, GA)
10) 1/4/1999- (1) Tennessee- 23 (2) Florida State- 16 (Tempe, AZ) * National Championship Game*
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