A native of Birmingham, legendary Bobby Bowden played the program he grew up idolizing just once. That came on this day 15 years ago as Bowden coached Florida State to a 21-14 win over Alabama in Jacksonville.
FSU was 2-1 and unranked as it arrived at Alltel Stadium on Sept. 29, 2007. Alabama, in its first year under head coach Nick Saban, was off to a 3-1 start and ranked 22nd in the country.
After a scoreless first half, it was a change at quarterback that sparked the FSU offense. In for Drew Weatherford, Xavier Lee marched the Seminoles down the field on the opening drive of the second half before finding De’Cody Fagg for a 7-yard touchdown.
Up 7-0, FSU doubled its lead early in the fourth quarter following an Alabama turnover. After FSU’s Everette Brown stripped Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson, Antone Smith found the end zone from five yards out one play later.
Down 14-0, Alabama mounted a 13-play, 91-drive that culminated in a touchdown pass from Wilson to DJ Hall. FSU needed just one play to essentially put the contest away.
From his own 29-yard-line, Lee connected with Fagg on a quick out. A misstep by an Alabama defender was all that Fagg needed to go 71 yards for the score.
Garnet and Great
In only a half, Lee finished with 224 yards passing and a team-high 59 yards rushing. Greg Carr’s 107 yards receiving on five catches for FSU led all receivers. Everette Brown led the FSU defense with two sacks. Wilson added a second touchdown pass to Keith Brown late for Alabama.
Both teams would go on to finish 7-6 in 2007, but Alabama head coach Nick Saban has since asserted himself as the best in college football. Saban has led the Crimson Tide to six national championships.
Under Saban, Alabama has also won 11 straight neutral-site regular season games. Its only loss in such contests during the Saban era came on this day 15 years ago in Jacksonville to the late, legendary Bowden and the Seminoles.