25-Year Nole Anniversary: FSU Football Rolls North Carolina in Top-5 Matchup, 20-3
Photo courtesy of Garnet and Great/Florida State Football Archivist

25-Year Nole Anniversary: FSU Football Rolls North Carolina in Top-5 Matchup, 20-3

Over his two stints as North Carolina head coach, Mack Brown, a Florida State alum, has never defeated his alma mater.

The matchup that got the biggest spotlight, however, came on this day 25 years ago. In a top-5 contest dubbed as perhaps the biggest in ACC history, the second-ranked Seminoles went into Chapel Hill and rolled the No. 5 Tar Heels, 20-3.

Both teams were 8-0 as they made their way to Kenan Memorial Stadium on Nov. 8, 1997. The contest never lived up the hype, but FSU certainly did.

The game’s only two touchdowns came in the first half and on the arm of FSU quarterback Thad Busby. Busby’s 8-yard pass to Melvin Pearsall gave FSU a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. His 14-yard toss to E.G. Green in the second doubled the advantage.

Sebastian Janikowski added two field goals — one in the second and one in the third quarter — to cap the FSU scoring. The story for the Seminoles, however, was the defense.

FSU held the Tar Heels to just 73 total yards, including a negative-28 rushing. On the other side, Travis Minor rushed for 128 yards for the Seminoles. As a defense, FSU finished with nine sacks and 15 tackles for loss.

Greg Spires was responsible for four sacks and five stops for loss. Andre Wadsworth tallied three of each. Shevin Smith, Dexter Jackson and Samari Rolle all recorded interceptions in the win.

The Seminoles had blanked North Carolina 13-0 the year prior in Tallahassee. A field goal early in the fourth quarter from Josh McGee would keep that from happening again.


Recap and box score:

Garnet and Great


FSU would start 10-0 before a loss to Florida in the regular-season finale. The Seminoles responded by rolling past Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl to finish 11-1 and ranked No. 3.

For North Carolina, the loss would serve as its only blemish during an 11-1 season that ended with a Gator Bowl rout of Virginia Tech. It came in a top-5 matchup on this day a quarter-century ago.

Mike Ferguson is the lead writer for Double Fries No Slaw. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.

Mike Ferguson

Mike Ferguson is the lead writer for Double Fries No Slaw and has more than 10 years of experience in online and print journalism. Mike graduated from Florida State University in 2009 and has had his work featured at numerous prominent publications such as Fox Sports, the Associated Press, Athlon Sports, Yahoo Sports and Sports Illustrated among others. Prior to joining Double Fries No Slaw, Mike was the founder and editor of The Daily Nole. He also serves as the managing editor for Fifth Quarter and is a contributor for Athlon Sports, Fish Stripes and Orlando Pinstriped Post. Mike and his wife Jennifer reside in Haines City, Fla. and have two daughters.