By Compiled by BRIAN LANDMAN and JOANNE KORTH
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 18, 2000
Today's game is the 13th consecutive meeting between Florida State and Florida as Top 10 teams. The schools played 12 times in the decade of the 1990s, more than any other schools in the nation.
NO. 8 FLORIDA STATE 45, NO. 6 FLORIDA 30: In the first meeting between the two schools as Top 10 teams, Florida billed the game the "Seminole Bowl." Barred from post-season play, the Gators considered this their bowl game with a chance for the program's first 10-win season and an outside shot at a national championship. The much-anticipated first meeting between coaches Steve Spurrier and Bobby Bowden was an offensive display as the teams combined for nearly 1,000 yards of total offense.
NO. 5 FLORIDA 14, NO. 3 FLORIDA STATE 9: Having just secured its first Southeastern Conference championship, Florida set out to snap a four-game losing streak to FSU. In a rare defensive struggle, the game was decided on a fourth-down pass batted away in the end zone by Florida free safety Will White with 2:03 left.
NO. 3 FLORIDA STATE 45, NO. 6 FLORIDA 24: After rolling up 471 yards of offense against the Gators to finish the regular season with a six-game winning streak and a 10-1 record, the Seminoles found themselves in the unlikely position of wishing Florida well in its next contest. If the Gators could knock off No. 2 Alabama in the SEC Championship, FSU might get a rematch with No. 1 Miami for the national championship. Florida lost.
NO. 1 FLORIDA STATE 33, NO. 7 FLORIDA 21: FSU senior quarterback Charlie Ward put the finishing touches on his Heisman Trophy campaign by throwing for 446 yards and 4 touchdowns, while rushing for 29 yards. Still, the game was in doubt until Ward connected on a 79-yard touchdown to his young roommate, freshman tailback Warrick Dunn, with 5:28 left. The Seminoles eked out an 18-16 win against Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to claim their first national title.
NO. 4 FLORIDA 31, NO. 7 FLORIDA STATE 31: Gators quarterback Danny Wuerffel was at his best through three quarters, throwing 3 touchdowns for a seemingly insurmountable 31-3 lead. Key word: seemingly. FSU quarterback Danny Kanell got hot, completing 18 of 22 passes for 232 yards in the final quarter, leading the Seminoles to four touchdowns and a miraculous tie. As a jab at their archrivals, the Seminoles refer to the game as "The Choke at Doak."
NO. 7 FLORIDA STATE 23, NO. 5 FLORIDA 17: In a Sugar Bowl rematch dubbed "The Fifth Quarter in the French Quarter," Kanell picked up where he left off a month earlier. He threw for 252 yards, but Dunn's brilliance was the difference. He rushed for 58 yards, caught nine passes for 51 yards and threw a dazzling 73-yard touchdown to Kez McCorvey that gave FSU a 20-3 lead.
NO. 3 FLORIDA 35, NO. 6 FLORIDA STATE 24: Enjoying their finest season, the Gators hosted the Seminoles with a chance to remain undefeated and perhaps get their first shot at a national title. Wuerffel was nearly flawless, throwing for 443 yards and 4 touchdowns. FSU tried to rally, but defensive back Anthone Lott's interception in the end zone with about 7 minutes left quashed the comeback. Coach Steve Spurrier was so relieved and excited, the first person he could find to hug was FSU's Dunn. The Gators went on to beat Arkansas in the SEC title game but were clobbered by defending national champ Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl.
NO. 2 FLORIDA STATE 24, NO. 1 FLORIDA 21: For just the fourth time in college football history, two undefeated teams met in the regular-season finale. Dunn etched his place in school history with 185 yards rushing and 24 receiving. Despite throwing for 362 yards, Wuerffel was constantly harassed by All-America defensive ends Peter Boulware and Reinard Wilson and sacked six times. (Spurrier later accused FSU coaches of instructing their players to hit his quarterback late.) The Gators, however, benefited from upsets around the nation the following week and got a national championship rematch in the Sugar Bowl.
NO. 3 FLORIDA 52, No. 1 FLORIDA STATE 20: To give Wuerffel, his Heisman-Trophy-winning quarterback, a chance against the ferocious FSU pass rush, Spurrier resorted to the shotgun for the first time in his career. Wuerffel shredded the defense for 306 yards and three touchdowns, all to receiver Ike Hilliard, and provided the coup de grace with a 16-yard scoring run. FSU trailed 24-20 early in the second half, but Dunn went out with cramps and the offense went with him. From that moment on, it was all Wuerffel and the national champion Gators.
NO. 10 FLORIDA 32, NO. 2 FLORIDA STATE 29: The Gators already had lost twice and were out of the SEC race, and the Seminoles were undefeated and on pace to at least share the national title (they were No.1 in the coaches poll). But with 2:38 left, UF quarterback Doug Johnson, who had been alternating almost every play with Noah Brindise, hit receiver Jacquez Green for a 63-yard gain. Two plays later, tailback Fred Taylor scored his fourth touchdown for a stunning upset.
NO. 5 FLORIDA STATE 23, NO. 4 FLORIDA 12: Wide receiver Peter Warrick caught a deflected pass from Marcus Outzen, who was making his second start for the injured Chris Weinke, and turned what appeared to be a sure interception into a touchdown that erased a 12-6 halftime deficit. Warrick also threw a 46-yard touchdown to receiver Run Dugans to seal the win. The defense held the high-powered Gators to just 204 yards, then the second-lowest output in the Spurrier era. When Kansas State and UCLA were upset two weeks later, the Seminoles vaulted into the national title game.
NO. 1 FLORIDA STATE 30, NO. 3 FLORIDA 23: After throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown to give the Gators the lead, FSU's Weinke calmly responded with three straight scoring drives. Quarterback Jesse Palmer's "Hail Mary" pass from the FSU 40 fell to the ground in the end zone as time ran out. FSU went on to beat Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl for its second national championship.