This post originally appeared on The Daily Nole on July 20, 2016
There will be no shortage of talent on the Florida State roster in 2016, but the Seminoles will also face their fair share of opposing talent as well. According to Bovada odds-makers, FSU will face three of the top 14 preseason candidates to win the Heisman Trophy, including the favorite in Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Watson’s odds are listed as 7-to-2 to win the award while Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly is listed at 12-to-1. Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya’s Heisman chances are listed at 33-to-1. Like Kelly, FSU running back Dalvin Cook is given a 12-to-1 chance to win the nation’s most coveted individual award.
Historically, Florida State has faced eight players to win the Heisman Trophy in their Heisman year. The Seminoles faced some Heisman winners like Florida’s Danny Wuerffel, Steve Spurrier and Tim Tebow multiple times and others like BYU’s Ty Detmer the year after he we won the award, but we decided to look just at how Heisman winners fared against FSU during their Heisman year and ranked each performance.
Below are the results:
9. Gino Torretta (Miami, Oct. 3, 1992)
Stats: 20-for-48 passing, 252 yards, 2 touchdown passes, interception
The 1992 FSU-Miami game at the Orange Bowl will forever be remembered for Dan Mowrey’s missed field goal as time expired, but the Seminole defense did a good job holding Miami quarterback Gino Torretta in check for most of the day. Torretta complete just under 42 percent of his throws for the day, but did lead Miami from a 16-10 fourth quarter deficit. Torretta’s 33-yard touchdown pass to Lamar Thomas with under seven minutes to play put the Hurricanes ahead for good. Miami would add a safety before holding on after Mowrey’s miss, 19-16.
8. Desmond Howard (Michigan, Sept. 28, 1991)
Stats: 4 receptions, 69 yards, 2 touchdown catches
Eventual Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard caught a pair of touchdowns against the Seminoles in Ann Arbor in 1991, but FSU also caught a pair of scores from Michigan quarterbacks. Both cornerback Terrell Buckley and defensive end Toddrick McIntosh returned interceptions for scores in the 51-31 FSU victory. The 51 points was the most an opposing team had ever hung on Michigan in the “Big House”.
7. Danny Wuerffel (Florida, Nov. 30, 1996)
Stats: 23-for-48 passing, 362 yards, 3 touchdown passes, 3 interceptions
In a match-up of the nation’s top two teams at Doak Campbell Stadium in 1996, Florida senior quarterback Danny Wuerfel was hit, intercepted and hit some more. The eventual Heisman winner complete fewer than half of his passes, but nearly led Florida back from an early 17-0 deficit. The Gators twice drew to within three, but a failed onside kick with just over a minute to play allowed FSU to run out the clock in a 24-21 victory.
6. Steve Spurrier (Florida, Oct. 8, 1966)
Stats: 16-for-24 passing, 219 yards, 3 touchdown passes
The 1966 game at Doak Campbell Stadium will be forever known by Florida State fans for the touchdown that wasn’t. With the Seminoles trailing 22-19 late, a long pass from Gary Pajcic to Lane Fenner looked to serve as the winning touchdown, but was miraculously ruled incomplete. Though the loss still stings for FSU fans to this day, Florida’s eventual Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and future head coach performed admirably. Steve Spurrier passed for 219 yards and three scores, including the 41-yard game-winner to Larry Smith with less than 11 minutes remaining.
5. Vinny Testaverde (Miami, Nov. 1, 1986)
Stats: 21-for-35 passing, 315 yards, 3 touchdown passes, 2 interceptions, 2 touchdown rushes
On the road against top-ranked Miami, Florida State held tough for a half as the Seminoles took a 17-14 lead into the Orange Bowl locker room. In the second half however, quarterback Vinny Testaverde caught fire accounting for four touchdowns as the Hurricanes outscored the Seminoles 27-6 in a 41-23 victory. Testaverde would go on to win the Heisman Trophy, but his final pass of the year was intercepted in the end zone as Miami lost 14-10 to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl for the national championship.
4. Bo Jackson (Auburn, Oct. 12, 1985)
Stats: 30 carries, 176 yards, 2 touchdown rushes
Florida State’s visit to Auburn in 1985 wasn’t a pleasant one as the Seminoles were handled 59-27. A big reason behind the rout was Auburn running back Bo Jackson who ran by and over FSU defenders all day long. The 32-point defeat finished tied for the largest loss ever for the Seminoles under head coach Bobby Bowden.
3. Danny Wuerffel (Florida, Jan. 2, 1997 — Sugar Bowl)
Stats: 18-for-34 passing, 306 yards, 3 touchdown passes, interception, touchdown rush
Danny Wuerffel and Florida fared much better against Florida State the second time around during the 1996 season. After losing to FSU in the regular season finale in Tallahassee, 24-21, Florida got a second shot at its rivals thanks to an SEC Championship victory over Alabama and a Texas upset of Nebraska in the inaugural Big XII Championship. In the Sugar Bowl rematch, Florida scored the game’s final 28 points to run away from the rival Seminoles, 52-20. Wuerffel passed for more than 300 yards and accounted for four touchdowns in the victory as Florida went on to claim its first national championship.
2. Marcus Mariota (Oregon, Jan. 1, 2015 — Rose Bowl)
Stats: 26-for-36 passing, 338 yards, 2 touchdown passes, interception, 8 carries, 62 yards, touchdown rush
The first-ever College Football Playoff game featured a pair of Heisman winning quarterbacks in Florida State’s Jameis Winston, the 2013 winner, and 2014 winner Marcus Mariota of Oregon. On a day where not much went wrong for the Ducks, it was the Oregon signal-caller that shone brightest. FSU hung tough for a while, trailing 18-13 at halftime and 25-20 early in the second half before the Ducks closed the game with 34 unanswered points, thanks largely to five second half turnovers from the Seminoles. Mariota accounted for three scores and 400 total yards in the victory as Oregon advanced to the national championship where it lost to Ohio State.
1. Tim Tebow (Florida, Nov. 24, 2007)
Stats: 19-for-28 passing, 262 yards, 3 touchdown passes, 13 carries, 89 yards, 2 touchdown rushes
In the regular season finale in 2007, the Florida State defense had absolutely no answer for Florida’s Tim Tebow. The sophomore quarterback accounted for five total touchdowns and more than 350 total yards as Florida handled the Seminoles in Gainesville, 45-12. Tebow would go on to become the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy.