The Daily Nole

Most Thrilling Wins in FSU History: First Round — No. 4 vs. No. 13

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We’ve started a new segment here at The Daily Nole and this time, we need your help. Each day, we’ll be presenting two of Florida State’s most thrilling wins of all-time, but it’s up to you to decide which FSU victory was more thrilling.

For the contest to be on the list, it needs to have been decided in the final five minutes. The implication of the victory will obviously play a role, but ultimately, the criteria is simply which contest was more thrilling to watch.

Saturday’s winner was our first upset as the 12th-seeded 2014 overtime victory over Clemson received 74 percent of the vote compared to 26 percent for our No. 5 seed — FSU’s comeback victory at Georgia Tech from 1992. That contest will go on to face the winner of our next match-up.

In Sunday’s match-up, the participants are Florida State’s 38-34 victory at Florida — the No. 4 seed in our bracket — and a thriller from Bobby Bowden’s first season as head coach as the Seminoles rallied to defeat Southern Mississippi, 30-27. The win from 1976 is our No. 13 seed.

No. 4: Florida State 38, Florida 34
Nov. 29, 2003

In a contest that had four lead changes in the second half, Florida State’s 2003 trip to Gainesville looked to be a lost cause as the Seminoles faced 4th-and-14 from their own 24-yard-line, down 34-31. Quarterback Chris Rix was able to keep the Seminoles’ hopes alive with a 24-yard strike to wide receiver Dominic Robinson to move the chains. One play later, Rix went for the jugular. Forced to roll to his right, Rix unloaded a pass toward the end zone. With Florida safety Guss Scott’s back turned, FSU wide receiver P.K. Sam was able to haul in the pass for a 52-yard touchdown with 55 seconds remaining. The Seminoles were able to tackle a scrambling Chris Leak, Florida’s quarterback, on the final play of the game to preserve the victory.

No. 13: Florida State 30, Southern Mississippi 27
Nov. 6, 1976

It was Bobby Bowden’s first year as head coach in Tallahassee and the Seminoles were just 2-6 to start September. A comeback for the ages however, would spearhead a strong finish and FSU hasn’t had a losing season since. Trailing 27-10 against Southern Mississippi in the fourth quarter, FSU running back Rudy Thomas decided it wasn’t too late to turn the contest around. Thomas cut the lead to 27-23 on touchdown runs of 10 and 4 yards. With just under five minutes to play, Thomas would put the Seminoles ahead for good with an electrifying 95-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass from Jimmy Black. The FSU defense did the rest and the Seminoles picked up their first of many fourth quarter comebacks under the man for which their field would eventually be named.

Make Your Pick

To pick which contest was more thrilling, click below to vote in our Twitter poll. If you do not have a Twitter account, you can vote by emailing TDN editor Mike Ferguson at You can also vote in the comment section below. The winner will be announced with the next first round match-up.

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