30-Year Nole Anniversary: Ward Rallies FSU Past Clemson in First ACC Road Game, 24-20
Photo courtesy of Garnet and Great/Florida State Football Archivist

30-Year Nole Anniversary: Ward Rallies FSU Past Clemson in First ACC Road Game, 24-20

Come October, Florida State football will look to end a six-game losing streak to Clemson. Despite the skid, FSU is 20-14 all-time against Clemson and 17-12 since joining the ACC.

The Seminoles’ first ACC clash with the Tigers, however, didn’t come easy.

On this day 30 years ago, Charlie Ward’s late touchdown pass to Kevin Knox propelled FSU to victory in its first ACC road game at “Death Valley”, 24-20.

Despite finishing with more than 300 total yards of offense, things didn’t go well for Ward most of the night in what would serve as his first road start on Sept. 12, 1992. Ward was intercepted four times by the Clemson defense. In the third quarter, linebacker James Trapp returned a Ward interception 39 yards for a touchdown to give Clemson its first lead, 13-10.

FSU would regain the lead on a Ward touchdown pass to Matt Frier late in the quarter, but thanks to a 35-yard touchdown pass from Richard Moncrief to Terry Smith, Clemson held a 20-17 lead late in the contest. For FSU, the decisive drive began at its own 23-yard-line with less than six minutes to play.

On what would be a 77-yard march, Ward was 5-for-5, capping the drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Knox with just 2:08 remaining. In addition to passing for 258 yards, Ward also led the Seminoles with 53 yards on the ground. Knox led FSU with six catches for 72 yards. William Floyd scored FSU’s only rushing touchdown.

John Davis’ interception on the final Clemson drive would ultimately put the game away. Tommy Henry also recorded an interception in the win. Ken Alexander led the Seminoles with 10 tackles.

All four of FSU’s ACC road games in its first season as a member of the conference came against ranked opponents. The first required heroics from an eventual Heisman Trophy winner on this day three decades ago.


Garnet and Great



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.