FSU’s Top 5 Moments at “Steve Spurrier Field”
Ross Obley/Florida State athletics

FSU’s Top 5 Moments at “Steve Spurrier Field”

This article originally appeared on The Daily Nole on June 11, 2016

Florida State’s biggest rival, the University of Florida, took it upon itself Thursday to rename their football field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium after Steve Spurrier and with good reason.

Spurrier not only brought Florida its first Heisman Trophy as a quarterback in 1966, but as head coach from 1990-2001, Spurrier brought Florida six SEC championships along with the school’s first national title in 1996.

Over the years however, Spurrier had trouble beating his rivals from Tallahassee. Against the Seminoles, Spurrier was 5-8-1 as Florida’s head coach and 5-9-1 if Spurrier’s loss to FSU as head coach of South Carolina in the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl is included. Here’s a look at the best five moments for FSU at the field that now bears the name of one of the Seminoles’ biggest nemeses over the years:

5. Bowden’s First Win Over Florida (Dec. 3, 1977)

When Bobby Bowden came to Florida State in 1976, the Seminoles were 2-15-1 all-time against rival Florida and losers of eight straight. The Gators got the better of Bowden’s boys in 1976, but in the future legend’s first visit to The Swamp, it was Seminole domination from the start. Quarterbacks Jimmy Jordan and Wally Woodham combined to pass for more than 300 yards while Larry Key rushed for 143 yards on the ground. FSU held the Gators to just 200 yards of total offense and outscored its rivals 20-0 in the second half to walk away with a 37-9 victory.

4. FSU Rallies in the Swamp (Nov. 20, 1999)

For the second time in as many trips to Gainesville, it had begun to look as though Florida would ruin FSU’s hopes of playing for a national championship. FSU led 13-9 at the break, but Bennie Alexander’s 43-yard interception return of a Chris Weinke pass had the Gators ahead 16-13 in the second half and momentum wearing orange and blue. After drawing even on a 54-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski, FSU took control of the game with consecutive touchdowns from Jeff Chaney and Marvin Minnis. Florida’s comeback hopes fell short when a deflected Hail Mary pass fell out of the reach of a Florida receiver as the Seminoles won 30-23. FSU would go on to complete its first perfect season under head coach Bobby Bowden and win its second national championship.

3. Benjamin Unstoppable in Rout (Nov. 30, 2013)

Florida State’s largest margin of victory ever in Gainesville came during its national championship season of 2013. Florida was in the midst of its worst season in three decades, but that didn’t make FSU’s 37-7 rout any less sweeter. Through the early parts of the game, the Gators held tough, but once receiver Kelvin Benjamin got going, there was no turning back. Benjamin finished with nine catches for 212 yards and three receiving touchdowns — all career-highs. Benjamin beat Florida deep, short and everywhere in between. The biggest highlight of the day for Benjamin was a 45-yard touchdown grab in which he would break six Florida tackles on his way to the endzone.

2. Rix to Sam (Nov. 29, 2003)

What was once a 17-6 lead for Florida State had been erased and with under two minutes to play, FSU trailed 34-31 and faced 4th-and-14 from its own 24-yard-line. With time to throw, FSU quarterback Chris Rix found an open Dominic Robinson for 24 yards to keep the Seminoles’ hopes alive. On the very next play, Rix was flushed to the right before heaving a pass into the end zone. With Guss Scott’s back to the play, Florida State wide receiver P.K. Sam hauled in the 52-yard touchdown with 55 seconds to play, giving the Seminoles an improbable 38-34 in one of the most exciting games in series history.

1. Dunn Down the Sideline (Nov. 27, 1993)

It appeared the tide had shifted on a hot afternoon in Gainesville in 1993. No. 1 FSU’s 27-7 lead had been shrunk to six and eventual Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Charlie Ward was facing third down and a long 10 from his own 21-yard-line with under six minutes to play. With the offense barely able to hear the snap count, Ward was forced to his left before hitting a freshman running back named Warrick Dunn on the sideline. Dunn raced 79 yards for a touchdown and the raucous crowd at the place known as The Swamp became eerily quiet. The Seminoles would collect a 33-21 victory and go on to beat Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to seal their first national championship.

Honorable Mention

First Win in Gainesville (Nov. 25, 1967)

It was 1967 before FSU ever won at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The Seminoles used three total touchdowns from quarterback Kim Hammond to down their rivals, 21-16.

Lyles, Whiting Run Wild (Nov. 23, 1979)

FSU scored 17 points in the fourth quarter of the 1979 match-up to break a 10-10 tie and defeat Florida 27-16. The FSU rushing combination of Mark Lyles and Michael Whiting combined for 274 yards on the ground and a pair of touchdowns.

Big Second Half Propels Noles (Nov. 28, 1987)

No. 3 FSU entered the contest in The Swamp as a big favorite in 1987, but trailed 14-9 at the break. The Seminoles rallied in the second half, thanks to two short touchdown runs by fullback Dayne Williams in a 28-14 FSU win. The Seminoles would go on to beat Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl to notch what would be the first of 14 straight top-5 finishes.

Willis Tosses Three TDs in FSU Victory (Dec. 2, 1989)

In legendary Florida running back Emmitt Smith’s final game in Gainesville, it was FSU quarterback Peter Tom Willis who stole the show. Willis passed for 319 yards and three touchdowns as FSU downed its rival, 24-17.

Cismesia Sets a School-Record (Nov. 24, 2007)

There weren’t many positives for Florida State in the 45-12 loss to eventual Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and the Gators, but one of the few was a school-record. On the final play of the first half, FSU senior kicker Gary Cismesia knocked through a 60-yard field goal, beating the previous school-record held by Sebastian Janikowski by four yards.

27-2 (Nov. 28, 2015)

Next to 4-8, 27-2 is a set of numbers Florida State fans love to cite. In the most recent contest between FSU and Florida, the Seminoles held their rivals to the fewest points ever in the rivalry. Dalvin Cook rushed for 183 yards and two scores for FSU.

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.