TALLAHASSEE — When the Seminoles chose Florida graduate Gene Deckerhoff to be their radio broadcast voice in 1979 over the late Tom Mees, who went onto ESPN, and Craig Sager, who calls NBA games for CBS, they probably weren't envisioning he'd still be at work 33 years later.
But here he was, calling his 400th Florida State football game Saturday. Add the 1,032 FSU basketball games and 466 Tampa Bay Buccaneers games, and Deckerhoff has called just under 1,900 contests in his career.
He has been behind the microphone for three national championship games and lists the Seminoles' 2000 Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech first on his list of top-10 games. In the No. 10 spot is the 2009 Gator Bowl, a 33-21 win over West Virginia that was Bobby Bowden's last game as coach. After the first quarter ended, his top-five calls, starting with a 75-yard Deion Sanders punt return for a touchdown and ending with 1988's "puntrooski" that sealed a 24-21 win over Clemson, were played on the jumbotron to the crowd's delight.
Recent airline flight cuts at smaller airports, such as the Tallahassee Regional Airport, have made Deckerhoff's job tougher, he said, and he has had to drive to Atlanta twice this year after an FSU night contest to catch a Sunday flight to a Bucs game. But if he could call 400 more Seminoles' games, he would.
"If the good Lord says I can, that'd be great," Deckerhoff, 66, said. "I love doing both Florida State and Tampa Bay, and I'd love to do both as long as I can stay healthy."
LOCAL IMPACT: Two Tampa Bay area players made appearances on offense for FSU.
WR Christian Green, a redshirt freshman and Tampa Catholic alumnus, caught two passes on the opening drive, but only one officially counted.
On second and 13 from the Seminoles' 27-yard line, Green lined up in a five-receiver set. QB EJ Manuel found him open down the right sideline, and Green was tackled around the Cavaliers' 30-yard line. A holding call on LT Zebrie Sanders, though, turned a potential 50-yard gain into a 10-yard penalty.
Manuel went back to Green on the next play, but the quick swing out to the right side, Green's 22nd catch of the year, was stopped for a 4-yard loss. FSU punted two plays later. Manuel threw at Green again on a deep sideline route on second and 10 midway through the second quarter, but the throw was out of bounds.
Green caught one pass in the second half, a 6-yarder on the final drive.
Plant alumnus and true freshman James Wilder Jr. came in for the first time on a third-and-1 play from the FSU 38-yard line early in the second quarter. Lined up in the I-formation, Wilder took the handoff but was stopped by DE Jake Snyder at the line of scrimmage and came up short.