As Florida State-florida LVIII draws near, and the scent of baked turkeys fills the air, it’s only appropriate to take a look back at the key moments that have shaped one of college football’s fiercest rivalries. The Seminoles are seeking their 10thwin in the city formerly known as Hogtown (look it up) and third triumph in the last four meetings.
First, some historical perspective. Until 1947, Florida State University was known as the Florida State College for Women. The university of florida was the only state university and its student body was male only. With thousands of World War II veterans returning stateside and eager to pursue college educations thanks to the GI Bill, uf had to turn away 2,500 eligible applicants because of a lack of space. FSCW was able to admit some of those applicants. Thus in May of ‘47, FSCW became coed and transformed into Florida State University.
Over the next decade, FSU grew like a 1980’s offensive lineman on steroids. A rapidly improving football squad was eager to face its downstate rivals, much to florida’s chagrin. It literally took an act of the Florida Legislature to get the two schools to meet on the gridiron. In fact, florida insisted that the first six games of the series take place in Gainesville since Doak Campbell Stadium was deemed too small. Despite that limitation, the Seminoles didn’t come away from Florida Field completely empty-handed.
So, with all that in mind, let’s turn back the clock all the way to the very beginning.
November 22, 1958 – FSU kick returner Bobby Renn returns the opening kickoff 78 yards. The Seminoles score the first points in the series and a rivalry was born.
September 30, 1961 – Florida State and the gators battle to a 3-3 standoff in Gainesville. A near-riot ensues after the game as Seminole fans swarm Florida Field and start tearing down the goal posts.
November 30, 1964 – The gators visit Doak Campbell Stadium for the first time brandishing jerseys emblazoned with “GO FOR SEVEN” across the fronts. Ironic since the series was 0-5-1 at this point. Backup gator QB Steve Spurrier is ineffective as the Seminoles cruise to a 16-7 triumph.
November 25, 1967 – Seminole signal caller Kim Hammond tosses a pair of touchdown passes and runs for another score as Florida State emerges from Florida Field with their first road win over the gators 21-16.
December 3, 1977 – Bobby Bowden visits Gainesville for the first time and walks away with his first victory over uf. Florida State cruises 37-9.
November 25, 1978 – FSU wins back to back games for the first time in the series, pulling away to an easy 38-21 conquest in what turns out to be Doug Dickey’s last game as florida head coach.
November 24, 1979 – The only regular season game not played on a Saturday, the undefeated Seminoles toy with the winless gators in a 27-16 pasting at Florida Field the day after Thanksgiving.
December 6, 1980 – FOUR IN A ROW! 3rd ranked Florida State keeps its national championship hopes alive with a scrappy 17-13 win at Doak.
November 28, 1987 – For the 3rd straight time in a year ending with 7, Florida State strolls out of Gainesville victorious 28-14 behind the passing wizardry of Danny McManus.
November 26, 1988 – Gator bait! Chip Ferguson throws three touchdown passes in the first quarter as FSU mauls florida 52-17 in a game not as close as the score indicates.
December 2, 1989 – Terry Anthony hauls in four catches for 126 yards as the Seminoles win in Gainesville for the second straight time 24-17.
December 1, 1990 – Did someone say, “Four in a Row?” Lawrence Dawsey and Casey Weldon hook up on a 76 yard touchdown pass in the game’s first minute. There’s no looking back. Florida State 45 florida 30.
November 28, 1992 – Tamarick Vanover runs one kickoff back 80 yards. And then another for 76 yards. Both returns set up Seminole scores as the Noles take care of business 45-24.
November 27, 1993 – Florida State’s #1 ranking is on the line. Holding on to a shaky 27-21 4th quarter lead, Charlie Ward and Warrick Dunn connect on a 79 yard catch and run as the Seminoles head to the National Championship game with a 33-21 win over their arch rivals.
November 26, 1994 – After a dormant first three quarters, the Seminoles overcome a 28 point 4th quarter deficit and beat the gators in The Choke at Doak 31-31.
January 2, 1995 – The Fifth Quarter in the Fourth Quarter. At the Sugar Bowl in the Superdome, Dan Mowrey boots five field goals. Danny Kanell passes for 325 yards. Noles win 23-17 and go 7-1-1 in their last nine meetings with the gators.
November 28, 1996 – Doak Campbell Stadium is the scene for a rare #1 vs. #2 regular season showdown. Clarence “Pooh Bear” Williams (they’re not booing, they’re chanting Pooh Bear) rushes for a pair of touchdowns. The Seminoles advance to another national title game with a physical 24-21 win. After the game, the goal posts disappear along with half the sod from the field.
November 21, 1998 – Despite not having the services of starting quarterback Chris Weinke, Florida State perseveres as Peter Warrick throws one touchdown pass and catches another to lead FSU to a 23-12 win.
November 20, 1999 – This might be the greatest game in the series. Florida State is #1. uf is #3. The Seminoles use 4 quarterbacks in their opening drive (Weinke, Marcus Outzen, Dan Kendra and Warrick) to march into the end zone. The defense holds off a gator rally. And Bobby Bowden’s squad heads for another National Championship game with a 30-23 win over florida.
November 18, 2000 – Under the specter of the presidential recount, Florida State beats their arch rivals in a landslide 30-7. No recount needed. No hanging chads.
November 30, 2002 – Led by a 225 yard rushing attack, the Seminoles win their second straight game over the gators in Tallahassee 38-14. Future Super Bowl winner Anquan Boldin also hauls in a pair of touchdown catches.
November 29, 2003 – With less than a minute to go, Chris Rix heaves a 52 yard scoring pass to P.K. Sam (owner of the appropriately named Twitter handle @gatorkiller2003) to give the Seminoles a thrilling 38-34 win in Gainesville in a very well-officiated game by the ACC crew. The Noles are again on a roll winning five of six in the series.
November 27, 2010 – Three 2nd quarter Florida State touchdowns, including a pair of scoring throws from Christian Ponder, allow the Seminoles to coast to an easy 31-7 vanquishing.
November 26, 2011 – EJ Manuel learned how to handle a loud, partisan gator crowd after having to start as an unproven freshman on tim tebow senior day. Two years later, that throng grew silent as florida was shut out for the first 55:46 of the game while the Noles manhandled the gators 21-7.
On to November 30, 2013 as an undefeated FSU squad tangles with a losing team that’s lost its fight.