Flashback Friday: Ward-to-Dunn helps cement FSU's first ever title

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By: Ryan Kelly | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
July 13, 2018

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCTV) -- One. More. Win.

That’s all that separated the 1993 Seminoles of Florida State (10-1) and a shot at the national championship that had eluded them for so long. A date with destiny that seemed long overdue after a decade of heartbreak and near misses for Bobby Bowden and the Tribe.

That one win would mean everything for the ‘Noles, but then again it always does against the Florida Gators.

UF (9-1) was under the command of fourth-year coach Steve Spurrier, who had taken his alma mater from the scandal ridden underperformer of the 1980’s and molded the orange and blue into the SEC powerhouse many consider it to this day.

Spurrier’s innovative “fun and gun” offense had catapulted the Gators into a new era. A new era that saw UF rebrand their longtime home at Florida Field as “The Swamp” and since that change, Spurrier’s Gators were a perfect 23-0.

Bowden’s Seminoles’ were led by soon-to-be Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward and the Seminoles’ “Kentucky Derby” offense was the most potent in the country, finishing the ‘93 campaign averaging a blistering 41 points per game.

With WR standout Kez McCorvey and future NFL Hall of Famer Warrick Dunn bolstering the garnet and gold, FSU’s offense was as advertised.

Despite the two being offensive powers, FSU and UF’s defenses are never to be overlooked with both Mickey Andrews and Ron Zook’s unit offering superstars like Derrick Brooks, Kevin Carter and Devin Bush just to name a few.

The Seminoles started the game as they started and finished most: Dominant. By the end of the third quarter, FSU amassed a 20-7 lead and the Tribe seemed as though it was destined for victory.

The Gators had other plans, however, and the Seminoles’ long awaited title shot would again be put in jeopardy.

FSU fullback William Floyd fumbled the football inside the Gator 10 on what appeared to be the dagger drive resulting in a three minute, 94-yard drive for Florida, to cut the lead to 20-14.

Florida State got the ball, but Florida gained the momentum as a capacity crowd roared to keep an almost half decade undefeated home streak alive and kill its’ arch rivals shot at history.

Ward’s first two passes were both be batted down and the Seminoles faced a 3rd and 10 from their own 21.

What happened next was history.

Ward found Dunn in stride on a play-action fake, and the freshman took the ball 79 yards into the endzone for one of the most famous plays in the history of the rivalry, and the program.

The clock hit zero and one of the best chapters in the six-plus decades of one of college football’s greatest rivalries had been written.

The Seminoles, with the victory, broke Florida’s incredible home winning streak at 23 games and earn the right to play Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, one more win away from another piece of history.



 
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