Think about memorable moments for Florida State football in Gainesville during Bobby Bowden’s tenure and Warrick Dunn’s touchdown catch down the sideline in 1993 or Chris Rix’s hookup with P.K. Sam in 2003 are likely among the first that come to mind. Bowden’s first trip as head coach of the Seminoles, however, was also a successful one.
It came on this day 45 years ago. Bowden picked up his first win over the rival Gators, 37-9.
FSU was 8-2 and ranked No. 19 as it arrived at Florida Field on Dec. 3, 1977. Florida was 6-3-1 and riding a 2-game winning streak. The Gators had won nine straight in the rivalry.
FSU never trailed, but didn’t put the game out of reach until the second half. The Gators never found the end zone, but used a pair of field goals to cut what was once a 14-point deficit to 17-9. In less than a 9-minute stretch that spanned the third and fourth quarters, FSU scored three touchdowns.
Touchdown passes from Jimmy Jordan to Roger Overby bookended a short touchdown run from Mark Lyles. Although FSU pulled away gradually, it dominated the game. The Seminoles finished with 578 yards of offense to just 200 for Florida.
Jordan passed for 240 yards and three scoring tosses to Overby. The first touchdown came on a 35-yard toss from Wally Woodham to Kurt Unglaub. Overby (six catches, 124 yards) and Mike Shumann (five catches, 111 yards) had big days receiving while Lyles rushed for 142 yards and a score of his own. Mike Kincaid recovered a fumble for the Seminoles on what would be Florida’s only turnover.
Box Score and Recap:
Garnet and Great
The 28-point romp not only snapped a 9-game skid in the series, but it began a 4-game winning streak for the Seminoles in the rivalry. The victory put FSU at 9-2 for the season, tying a school record for wins. FSU would eclipse that and collect its first 10-win season with a 40-17 rout of Texas Tech in the Tangerine Bowl.
In his 34 years as FSU head coach, Bowden’s teams would beat the Gators 17 times. The only time Florida was kept out of the end zone came in Bowden’s first trip to Gainesville and on this day 45 years ago.