Florida State football is in Orlando for bowl season this year.
That’s also where it was on this day 45 years ago. In its second season under head coach Bobby Bowden, the Seminoles notched their first-ever 10-win season with a 40-17 win over Texas Tech in the Tangerine Bowl.
FSU was 9-2 and ranked No. 19 in the country as it arrived in Orlando on Dec. 23, 1977. Against 7-4 Texas Tech, things were even early on before a special teams play swung momentum.
With the contest tied 3-3 early in the second quarter, Larry Key returned a kickoff 93 yards for the touchdown that put the Seminoles ahead for good. In addition to the big return, Key rushed for 93 yards and caught six passes for 100 yards — all team-highs.
The kick return began a streak of 24 straight FSU points. Jimmy Jordan and Wally Woodham each threw two touchdown passes in the victory. Four different Seminoles caught a touchdown.
Offensively, FSU finished with 540 yards. The defense allowed 378 yards but forced four turnovers. Nat Terry and Bobby Butler each came away with interceptions. David Hanks and Willie Jones each recovered fumbles for the FSU defense.
Box Score and Recap:
Garnet and Great
With a program record for wins at 10-2, the Seminoles finished ranked for the first time since 1964 at No. 14 in the AP Poll. Over the course of his 34 years as head coach, Bowden would coach the Seminoles to 10 or more wins on 18 different occasions. It was first accomplished with a Tangerine Bowl rout of Texas Tech on this day 45 years ago.