Flashback Friday: It all came down to a kick

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By: Ryan Kelly | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
July 20, 2018

For the third straight year it all came down to a kick. After back to back years of losing to rival Miami and potentially losing shots at the national title, Florida State needed a ball to go through the uprights to give the Seminoles a victory in the 1994 Orange Bowl.

A kick that not only meant a victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers but for the vindication of the FSU program that had for years scaled the mountain of college football but never reached its peak.

The ‘Noles and Huskers were two of football’s biggest offensive juggernauts of the 1990’s, making stars out of talented quarterbacks like Heisman Trophy winners Charlie Ward and Tommie Frazier. But, the game played on New Year’s Night, 1994 was anything but explosive.

FSU’s “fast break” offense and Nebraska’s famous I-option attack had taken a back seat to Mickey Andrews’ Tribe and Charlie McBride’s “Blackshirts.”

Both teams had uncharacteristically struggled to find the endzone in a game that featured only three touchdowns, with the Seminoles unable to find paydirt until the second half.

The two squads matched field goal for field goal when Huskers’ placekicker Byron Bennett nailed a 27-yard kick to put Nebraska ahead 16-15 with just over a minute to play.

The final Seminole drive started at the 35, and it was all on Ward’s offense (who were outgained by Nebraska, 389-333) to drive 65 yards and give the ‘Noles a final shot at the title that had eluded them for decades.

Nebraska contributed to the Seminoles effort, committing two costly 15-yard penalties on the final Florida State drive. The ‘Noles were able to manage another 30 yards before stalling at the Huskers’ five yard line.

And so, for the third straight year, it all came down to a kick.

Bobby Bowden put the game in the hands of freshman placekicker Scott Bentley to chip in a 22-yard shot to give the Seminoles the lead with just over 20 seconds to go.

The tension high, the stakes higher and the thoughts of FSU’s past misses inescapable as Bentley would set up to attempt to give the Tribe the lead.

Bentley drilled the kick and was subsequently mobbed by a number of teammates to give the ‘Noles what seemed to be a game winning 18-16 lead with 21 seconds to play.

Osborne’s Huskers, who had also long been deprived of the summit of college football, didn't go away quietly.

Frazier connected with Trumane Bell for a 29-yard reception to put the Cornhuskers in field goal range when it appeared time had expired.

A celebratory Seminole squad stormed the field before being told that Nebraska had called timeout with just a second remaining.

It would all come down to a kick.

The pressure had shifted to Bennett, who faced a 45-yard field goal to give the Huskers a title.

Bennett’s kick sailed wide left as time expired and the Seminoles celebrated.

It all came down to a kick.

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