With a legion of fans chanting and chopping, Florida State wide receiver Wayne Messam stood at midfield clutching a clump of Orange Bowl sod in each hand.
"We're going to bury them in our cemetery as soon as we get back to Tallahassee," Messam said.
The site in Sod Cemetery had been picked out, the services planned, for years. And years. And years. But the Seminoles hadn't beaten the Hurricanes on the road since 1984.
FSU finally put the most frustrating drought in school history to rest with a convincing 34-16 win against the No.
6-ranked Hurricanes, emphatically stamping itself as a national-championship contender.
"We wanted to erase history tonight," said Warrick Dunn, who rushed for a season-high 163 yards on 22 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown run.
The Seminoles had lost five consecutive games here thanks largely to the struggles of first-year starting quarterbacks. Brad Johnson, Charlie Ward and Danny Kanell all lost the first time facing the 'Canes on the road. Next up: Thad Busby, who needed a career day against Clemson last weekend to save his starting job.
"I thought about it coming into the game," he said, referring to the well-documented quarterback jinx, "but I knew we had a great team."
Especially on defense.
Cornerback Troy Saunders' interception in the opening minutes set up a Scott Bentley field goal, and safety Shevin Smith followed with a fumble return for a score. On FSU's next series, Dunn zipped by blitzing linebackers en route to an 80-yard score and a 17-0 first-quarter lead.
Quarterback Ryan Clement rallied the Hurricanes with two touchdown passes to Yatil Green to cut the deficit to 20-16 at halftime. But Busby, an invigorated offense and a revitalized defense took control.
"History doesn't win games," said Messam, a senior. "Players win games."