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No. 1 Florida State Seminoles (10-1) 33, No. 7 Florida Gators (9-1) 21 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field, Gainesville, Florida Nov. 27, 1993 The Seminoles handed Florida its first loss at home under head coach Steve Spurrier. Florida State senior quarterback Charlie Ward, who went on to win the Heisman Memorial Trophy, amassed 475 yards of total offense, completing 38 of 53 pass attempts for 446 yards and four touchdowns. The Seminoles took a 13-0 lead before Florida got on the scoreboard with an 11-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Danny Wuerffel to senior wide receiver Willie Jackson with 7:20 to go in the first half. Florida trailed 27-7 in the fourth quarter, but the Gators wouldn't go down that easily. Junior quarterback Terry Dean, who replaced an ineffective Wuerffel, threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jackson, closing the gap to 27-13. The Seminoles appeared poised to score again, driving 57 yards to the Florida 9-yard line, but junior fullback William Floyd fumbled and the Gators recovered. Sophomore wide receiver Jack Jackson caught a 31-yard touchdown pass with 5:52 left in the game, cutting FSU's lead to six points. Facing a third-and-10 at FSU's own 21-yard line, Ward eluded a pair of Florida defenders as he rolled to his left on the play-action fake and threw to true freshman running back Warrick Dunn, who sprinted 79 yards along the FSU sideline for the game-winning touchdown. Florida State's defense was stifling, recording six quarterback sacks and holding the Gators to a school-record minus-33 rushing yards. Spurrier had won 23 consecutive games in "The Swamp," where Florida hadn't lost since a 24-17 decision against the Seminoles in 1989 -- the season before Spurrier returned to his alma mater.
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No. 4 Florida Gators (9-1) 31, No. 7 Florida State Seminoles (9-1) 31 Doak S. Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida Nov. 26, 1994 This was the tie that Florida State fans will forever say felt like a win and Florida fans will forever say felt like a loss. Florida led 24-3 at halftime and 31-3 headed into the fourth quarter. Then Florida State took over, tying the NCAA record for a fourth-quarter comeback in the game that Florida State fans affectionately refer to as the "Choke at Doak." Senior fullback Zack Crockett barreled into the end zone from 5 yards out to cut the lead to 31-10 with 12:59 remaining. After forcing Florida to punt on its next series, the Seminoles took over at the FSU 40-yard line and trimmed the score to 31-17 on a 6-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Danny Kanell to sophomore wide receiver Andre Cooper with 10:04 remaining. The Seminoles forced the Gators to punt again and Kanell led his team on another scoring drive, culminating with his 3-yard rushing touchdown with 5:25 remaining. It was now a one-possession game. Florida State sophomore cornerback James Colzie made a diving interception of a pass from Florida's Danny Wuerffel to set up the final score -- a 5-yard touchdown run from junior tailback Rock Preston. The extra point by senior kicker Dan Mowrey tied the game at 31 apiece. The game ultimately led the NCAA to institute overtime, beginning with the 1996 season.
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No. 7 Florida State Seminoles (9-1-1) 23, No. 5 Florida Gators (10-1-1) 17 Sugar Bowl, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans Jan. 1, 1995 After tying in the previous meeting a little more than a month earlier, the Seminoles settled the score against the Gators with a 23-17 win in the first-ever bowl game between the rivals. Dubbed the "Fifth Quarter in the French Quarter," the Sugar Bowl was the backdrop for the game that kept Florida State's streak of consecutive 10-or-more-win seasons alive. Florida's Judd Davis and Florida State's Dan Mowrey traded field goals in the first quarter, which ended with the game tied 3-3. The Seminoles stripped the football from Florida freshman running back Fred Taylor, setting up the first of three FSU scores in the second quarter. FSU's Warrick Dunn completed his first collegiate pass on a trick play, connecting with senior wide receiver 'OMar Ellison for a 10-3 lead. Senior wide receiver Kez McCorvey caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Danny Kanell later in the quarter to put the Seminoles ahead 17-3. However, Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel retaliated with an 82-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Ike Hilliard for the Gators' first trip to the end zone. Mowrey's 24-yard field goal gave the Seminoles a 20-10 halftime lead. The only points of the third quarter came on Mowrey's career-long 45-yard field goal, giving the Seminoles a 23-10 lead. Florida got back in the game in the fourth quarter after Wuerffel, who was sacked five times in the game, directed a 17-play, 80-yard drive that ended when the sophomore scored on a 1-yard sneak to bring the Gators within six with 3:47 left to play. The Gators got the ball back with 2:27 remaining and one last chance to win it, but senior linebacker Derrick Brooks intercepted a Wuerffel pass to seal the victory for the Seminoles. It was the eighth consecutive season that the Seminoles finished with at least 10 wins and ranked among the top four in the country. Dunn, playing in his home state of Louisiana, was the game's MVP.
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No. 2 Florida State Seminoles (10-0) 24, No. 1 Florida Gators (10-0) Doak S. Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida Nov. 30, 1996 For only the fourth time in college football history, the No. 1 and No. 2 teams met in a regular-season finale when the top-ranked and undefeated Gators came to Tallahassee favored against the second-ranked and undefeated Seminoles. Florida State got off to a quick start when safety Shevin Smith intercepted Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel in the end zone on the Gators' opening drive. The Seminoles took over and scored the first points of the game on a 26-yard field goal by senior kicker Scott Bentley. Defensive end Peter Boulware blocked Florida's first punt of the game on its next possession, setting up a 3-yard touchdown run from fullback Pooh Bear Williams to give the Seminoles a 10-0 lead. Another defensive stand and a big pass from junior quarterback Thad Busby to freshman wide receiver Peter Warrick set up another FSU touchdown 32 seconds later. Busby's 1-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Melvin Pearsall gave FSU a 17-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Wuerffel threw three interceptions in the first half, but the senior quarterback rallied his team in the next 15 minutes as the Gators outscored FSU 14-0 in the second quarter. Wuerffel threw a pair of touchdown passes to sophomore wide receiver Jacquez Green, but the Gators missed a potential game-tying 53-yard field goal on the last play of the half. After a scoreless third quarter, the Gators missed another field goal -- this one from 43 yards out -- that would have tied the game in the fourth quarter. When the Seminoles got the ball back, they went on an 11-play, 75-yard drive to take a 24-14 lead. Williams scored on a 1-yard plunge on the last of three straight carries during the drive. Wuerffel, who went on to win the Heisman Memorial Trophy, connected with junior wide receiver Reidel Anthony in the end zone, cutting FSU's lead to 24-21 with 2:28 left, but the Seminoles ran out the clock to preserve its undefeated season. Wuerffel was sacked six times and knocked to the turf several times throughout the game, prompting Florida head coach Steve Spurrier to accuse the Seminoles, who led the Atlantic Coast Conference in penalties, of deliberating trying to injure his quarterback. The win assured FSU of a spot in the Sugar Bowl to play for the national championship. There the Seminoles would face a familiar foe in an unlikely rematch.
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No. 3 Florida Gators (11-1) 52, No. 1 Florida State Seminoles (11-0) 20 Sugar Bowl, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans Jan. 2, 1997 The third-ranked Gators got their payback in a 52-20 rout of No. 1 Florida State in the Sugar Bowl to give Florida its first national championship in school history, just 33 days after having their title hopes dashed with a 24-21 loss to the Seminoles. Heisman Memorial Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel threw three touchdown passes to junior wide receiver Ike Hilliard and scored on a 16-yard run on the way to the lopsided victory. The Seminoles only trailed 10-3 at the end of the first quarter and 24-17 at halftime, but their offensive threat was missing for most of the second half. Warrick Dunn, playing his last game for the Seminoles, was responsible for Florida State's lone touchdown -- a 12-yard run in the second quarter to keep the game within reach -- but he was hobbled by cramps and carried the ball just once after the break. Florida State senior kicker Scott Bentley notched a 45-yard field goal for the first points of the second half, cutting Florida's lead to 24-20, but it would be the last time the Seminoles would score. Wuerffel, who had been sacked six times in the earlier meeting, operated mainly out of the shotgun this time, completing 18 of 34 passes for 306 yards. FSU linebacker Daryl Bush and defensive end Peter Boulware were battling the flu and received intravenous fluids during the game. The 52-20 defeat was the largest loss by a No. 1 team in a bowl. The loss also ended an NCAA-record 11-game bowl winning streak and 14-game unbeaten streak in bowl games for FSU.
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No. 10 Florida Florida Gators (8-2) 32, No. 1 Florida State Seminoles (10-0) 29 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field, Gainesville, Florida Nov. 22, 1997 The 10th-ranked Gators played the role of spoiler against top-ranked Florida State, knocking their rivals out of national championship contention with a 32-29 victory in the regular-season finale for both teams. Florida State appeared to be on its way to a second straight perfect regular season when kicker Sebastian Janikowski drilled a 20-yard field goal to give the Seminoles a 29-25 lead with 2:38 left to play. But the Gators found a way to pull it out in "The Swamp." Sophomore quarterback Doug Johnson found junior wide receiver Jacquez Green on a 63-yard pass on the first play after the Gators got the football back. That set up a 1-yard touchdown run by senior Fred Taylor -- his fourth score of the game -- two plays later to put the Gators back on top. Florida scored on its opening possession but missed the extra point to take a 6-0 lead. The Seminoles then scored 17 unanswered points off a 15-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by senior linebacker Sam Cowart, a 28-yard field goal by Janikowski and a 5-yard touchdown catch by tight end Melvin Pearsall. Momentum swung in Florida's favor again just before halftime as the Gators scored twice in the second quarter to reclaim the lead. Johnson connected with junior receiver Travis McGriff on a 6-yard touchdown pass, and Taylor scampered into the end zone with 4:13 left before halftime. Janikowski nailed a 31-yard field goal with 10:32 left in the third quarter, giving the Seminoles a 20-18 lead, but Taylor raced 61 yards for a touchdown on Florida's next possession to give the Gators a 25-20 advantage. Florida State freshman running back Travis Minor scored from 18 yards out with 5:24 left in the third quarter, but the Seminoles failed to convert a two-point attempt. Janikowski then tacked on FSU's final three points late in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough. The Gators alternated between senior Noah Brindise and sophomore Doug Johnson on almost every play as the quarterbacks combined for 336 passing yards. Taylor finished with 162 rushing yards -- the most allowed by FSU's defense all season -- and four touchdowns in what many Florida fans consider to be the greatest game ever played at "The Swamp."
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