The 1993 Florida State Seminoles national championship season:
Game 1, Aug. 28, Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.:
FLORIDA STATE 47, KANSAS 0.
FSU starts the season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll and opens against the Jayhawks in the Kickoff Classic. FSU gains 248 rushing yards, including 105 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries from Marquette Smith. The FSU defense, which lost six starters from the 1992 season, records its first shutout in 23 games. The shutout included an eight-play goal line stand from the 2-yard line thanks to three FSU offside penalties. FSU quarterback Charlie Ward, in his second season as the starter, was 16-for-26 for 194 yards and no interceptions. "I don't think Kansas was quite strong enough to answer questions about our team,'' FSU coach Bobby Bowden said.
Game 2: Sept. 4, Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, N.C.:
FLORIDA STATE 45, DUKE 7
A rainy night in Durham didn't slow down the Seminoles, as they cruised to their first ACC win of the season. Despite the conditions, Charlie Ward completes 22 of 31 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns. He also runs five times for 41 yards and a score. Linebacker Derrick Brooks scored on an interception return, the first of his career. Heralded kicker Scott Bentley had his first chance at a field goal, and he missed it from 32 yards (wide right). He also missed two extra points and had another field goal attempt blocked. He did make two field goals, from 20 and 27 yards. Sean Jackson was the rushing leader with 107 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown.
Game 3: Sept. 11, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee:
FLORIDA STATE 57, CLEMSON 0
Clemson entered ranked 21st by the Associated Press, but this was no contest. In front of a then-record crowd of 74,991, FSU records its second shutout in three games. Clemson was held to 73 yards rushing and 300 total yards. The Seminoles had 634 yards of total offense and Ward threw four touchdowns and no interceptions. "We were awesome,'' Ward said. "We did some things no one expected we could do.'' One of those things was a 78-yard touchdown from reserve quarterback Danny Kanell (who was in for the first series of the second quarter) to tight end Lonnie Johnson. Another was a 16-yard touchdown pass from Ward to freshman tailback Warrick Dunn. And another was an 83-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by Derrick Brooks. It was Clemson's worst loss since 1931.
Game 4: Sept. 18, Keenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, N.C.:
FLORIDA STATE 33, NORTH CAROLINA 7
North Carolina is ranked No. 13 by the Associated Press and Keenan Stadium is rocking with a record crowd of 54,100. But after a shaky first half, the Seminoles pulled away by scoring three straight times in the third quarter. North Carolina led 7-0 on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Jason Stanicek to Bucky Brooks. FSU had three turnovers in the first half and only led 10-7 at halftime. But FSU scored on a four-play drive on its first possession of the second half, capped by a 33-yard touchdown pass from Charlie Ward to Kevin Knox. Scott Bentley followed on the next possession with a 21-yard field goal, and then Derrick Brooks picked off a Mike Thomas pass for a 49-yard touchdown. St. Petersburg's William Floyd scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter to end the scoring. Bentley missed the extra point, his sixth missed PAT of the season. Ward threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns.
Game 5, Oct. 2, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee:
FLORIDA STATE 51, GEORGIA TECH 0
In what many viewed as the tune-up game before the "Game of the Year'' the next week against Miami, the Yellow Jackets provide little test. The Seminoles' offense piles up 582 yards and the defense records its third shutout in five games. Georgia Tech had 110 yards of total offense. Charlie Ward was once again sharp, throwing four touchdowns, one each to tight end Lonnie Johnson (5 yards), receiver Kez McCorvey (17 yards), tailback Warrick Dunn (7 yards) and receiver Kevin Knox (11 yards). Dunn added two touchdown runs as well. Scott Bentley missed a 33-yard field goal but kicked one from 20 yards. He also missed his seventh extra point. The Seminoles led only 16-0 at halftime. But FSU scored on three of its first four drives in the second half. "It's impressive, but we've been impressive before,'' Bobby Bowden said after the game. "You've got to beat Miami.''
Game 6, Oct. 9, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee:
FLORIDA STATE 28, MIAMI 10
Florida State is top-ranked; Miami is No. 3. The Hurricanes have won three straight against FSU and seven of the past eight. FSU lost the past two meetings due to missed field goals. But the perfect season continued after a win over the Seminoles' arch-rival. In front of a then-record crowd of 77,813, FSU scored on three big plays, a 69-yard touchdown run by Sean Jackson, a 72-yard touchdown grab by Matt Frier and a 40-yard interception return by Devin Bush. The win snapped Miami's 31-game regular season win streak. Miami's Donnell Bennett played well, rushing for 75 yards on 21 carries. Miami quarterback Frank Costa threw for 193 yards, including a touchdown pass to Bennett. FSU's offense did not score in the second half, and even fumbled on the Miami 12 yard line in the fourth quarter. But Bush's interception came with 4:59 remaining in the game to seal the win. "Total adrenaline, total elation,'' FSU linebacker Ken Alexander said. "Three years of frustration are gone. I can't describe the feeling.''
Game 7, Oct. 16, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee:
FLORIDA STATE 40, VIRGINIA 14
Charlie Ward may have won the Heisman Trophy because of this game. Ward completed 23 of 31 passes for 322 yards, no interceptions and rushed five times for 38 yards in the blowout. He threw an 86-yard touchdown pass to Tamarick Vanover, added a 5-yard pass to Sean Jackson and also scored on an 18-yard run that included a leap from the 4-yard-line that ended 3 yards into the end zone. FSU led 30-0 at halftime. "It was vintage Charlie Ward,'' Virginia defensive tackle Ryan Kuehl said. "He was making us look stupid, making us look like fourth graders out there.'' Virginia was 6-0 entering the game. The Cavaliers did amass 357 yards of offense and became the first team to score two touchdowns against the Seminoles. FSU linebackers Derrick Brooks and Sam Cowart were held out due to injury.
Game 8, Oct. 30, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee:
FLORIDA STATE 54, WAKE FOREST 0
This was a scary day for Seminoles fans, despite the score. On a rain-soaked field, with just 14 seconds remaining in the first half, Charlie Ward was hit in the ribs and carried off the field. The diagnosis was bruised ribs, and he was doubtful for the following week against Maryland and questionable for the big game in two weeks at Notre Dame. The Seminoles didn't really need Ward, as they rushed for 414 yards. Warrick Dunn led the way with 162 yards and two touchdowns and Sean Jackson had 116 yards on 16 carries. FSU's defense recorded its fourth shutout, tying a school record set in 1964. By the time Ward was injured, FSU already scored on its first five drives and also scored a defensive touchdown to lead 34-0 at halftime.
Game 9, Nov. 6, Byrd Stadium, College Park, Md.:
FLORIDA STATE 49, MARYLAND 20
Danny Kanell replaced the injured Charlie Ward and completed 28 of 38 passes for 341 yards and five touchdowns. The biggest concern, however, was the defense. FSU allowed 453 yards of offense and Maryland tailback Allen Williams gained 118 yards, the most by a tailback against the Seminoles in two years. Not good news with No. 2 Notre Dame looming next week. Lost in the storyline was that FSU clinched the ACC championship. Maryland fell to 1-8. Kanell's five touchdowns were one shy of the school record set by Peter Tom Willis in 1989. Former Buccaneer Scott Milanovich had a decent day against the Seminoles, throwing for 163 yards and two touchdowns. One of the touchdowns, a 50-yarder to Walt Williams, made it 28-20 in the third quarter. But FSU pulled away with three consecutive touchdowns. "Maryland's offense beat our defense,'' FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "If Maryland can get 20 points on us, Notre Dame can get 40.'' He was almost right.
Game 10, Nov. 13, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.:
NOTRE DAME 31, FLORIDA STATE 24
No. 1 FSU vs. No. 2 Notre Dame. The weather is cloudy and 58 degrees, balmy for Indiana in November. Charlie Ward is back in the lineup for the Seminoles, but it doesn't matter. Notre Dame dominates the first three quarters, then withstands a fourth-quarter FSU comeback to hold on. The Seminoles had the ball at the Notre Dame 12-yard-line in the last seconds and down by a touchdown. Ward's pass to Kevin Knox in the end zone is knocked away by defender Shawn Wooden. Fans storm the field. Notre Dame rushed for 239 yards, including 165 in the first half. Lee Becton led the Irish with 122 yards and a touchdown. Adrian Jerrell scored on a 32-yard reverse and Jeff Burris scored two rushing touchdowns to help Notre Dame. FSU trailed 24-7 in the third quarter, but got it to within a touchdown with 2:26 remaining when Ward hit Kez McCorvey on fourth and goal from the Notre Dame 20. FSU got the ball back at its own 37 with 51 seconds remaining and no timeouts. Ward threw three consecutive completions to get in position, but the drive fell short. "This is the best football team we've beaten since I've been in coaching,'' Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz said.
Game 11, Nov. 20, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee:
FLORIDA STATE 62, N.C. STATE 3
Poor, poor N.C. State. The Wolfpack had the bad timing of coming to Tallahassee after FSU suffered a crushing loss to Notre Dame and before a rivalry game against Florida. To make things worse, just hours before, the Seminoles watched Boston College kick a last-second field goal to beat Notre Dame 41-39. Bad timing. A convincing win would mean FSU would solidify its No. 2 ranking. This was convincing enough. FSU racked up 553 yards of offense and the defense forced six turnovers. Quarterback Charlie Ward, playing his last home game, threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown. Kevin Knox caught two touchdowns, and William Floyd, Matt Frier, Clarence "Pooh Bear'' Williams, Warrick Dunn and Clyde Allen also scored. FSU finished the ACC season 8-0 and Bobby Bowden recorded his seventh straight 10-win season. Off to Gainesville.
Game 12, Nov. 27, Florida Field, Gainesville:
FLORIDA STATE 33, FLORIDA 21
A then-state record crowd of 85,507 crammed Florida Field. The Gators, 9-1 and ranked seventh by the Associated Press, had never lost in the Swamp under coach Steve Spurrier (23 games). And with 5:58 remaining, Florida only trailed 27-21 after a 99-yard drive. But if one play stands out for FSU fans during the 1993 season it was this one: Third-and-10 from its own 21. Charlie Ward drops back and looks for Kez McCorvey, who is covered. Ward scrambles to his left, and Warrick Dunn, a secondary receiver out of the backfield, scrambles with him. Ward lofts a pass over Florida linebacker Ed Robinson and into the arms of Dunn. Dunn sprints down the sideline, gets a block from Tamarick Vanover, and scores a 79-yard touchdown. The Swamp went quiet. Game over. "I thought I was going to puke,'' Bobby Bowden said. "It was just a fabulous play.'' FSU managed to stop Florida's running attack (minus-33 yards). Top rusher Errict Rhett gained 7 yards on seven carries. Nebraska (11-0) ended the season ranked No. 1. FSU is No. 2, well ahead of No. 3 West Virginia. A date in the Orange Bowl against the Cornhuskers awaits.
Game 13, Jan. 1, 1994, Orange Bowl, Miami:
FLORIDA STATE 18, NEBRASKA 16
FSU is a 16-point favorite, but this game is much closer than that. The Seminoles offense sputters most of the game, and it takes a 22-yard field goal by Scott Bentley with 21 seconds left, and a missed Nebraska field goal with one second, to win the game. Bentley kicked four field goals to tie an Orange Bowl record. The winning drive started on FSU's 35 with 1:16 remaining. Quarterback Charlie Ward, who was named the Heisman Trophy award winner, completed a 9-yard pass to Warrick Dunn and William Floyd converted a 1-yard fourth down run to keep the drive alive. Ward completed a 21-yard pass to Dunn and a personal foul by Nebraska put the ball on the Cornhuskers 18. Two plays later Kez McCorvey was tackled in the end zone for an interference call that put the ball on the Nebraska 3. After one play, Bentley came in to kick the game winner. Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier completed a 29-yard pass to Trumane Bell that put the Cornhuskers in field goal range with a second left. Byron Bennett's 45-yard field goal was hooked left, and the Seminoles had their first national championship in school history. St. Petersburg's William Floyd scored the only FSU touchdown on a 1-yard run to cap a 67-yard drive in the third quarter. Floyd decided after the game he would forgo his senior season to turn pro. Lawrence Phillips scored on a 12-yard run after FSU's drive and Bennett kicked a 27-yard field goal to give Nebraska a 16-15 lead. "I just guess it was our time,'' Bobby Bowden said. "I guess there is such a thing as law of averages.''