The Daily Nole

Most Thrilling Wins in FSU History: First Round — No. 7 vs. No. 10

Ross Obley/FSU athletics

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.

Monday’s winner was our No. 2 seed — the 2014 BCS National Championship — which garnered a resounding 97 percent of the vote, beating the No. 15 seed of last year’s win over Miami. The BCS title game against Auburn will move on to face the winner of the next match-up.

Tuesday’s match-up features a pair of games that took place 27 years apart, but ended with an almost identical final score. The No. 7 seed is FSU’s thrilling 2014 victory over Notre Dame in a match-up of top 5 teams while the 10th seed is a win that helped establish the Seminoles as a national power — the 1988 Fiesta Bowl.

No. 7: Florida State 31, Notre Dame 27
Oct. 18, 2014

It was No. 2 Florida State against No. 5 Notre Dame in a prime time contest where teams traded scores for most of the night. Most of the way, it was Notre Dame who had the lead. It seemed as though every time the Fighting Irish would jump in front however, FSU had an answer. Notre Dame led 17-10 at halftime, but after a pair of third quarter touchdowns for the Seminoles, the game headed to the final quarter knotted at 24. After Kyle Brindza put Notre Dame back in front 27-24 with a long field goal, FSU took its first lead of the night as Karlos Williams capped 10-play, 75-yard drive with a short touchdown run. But the Notre Dame defense stiffened and with about three minutes to go, the Fighting Irish began what would be their final drive in Florida State territory. It looked as though Florida State was going to get the job done after linebacker Terrance Smith sacked Notre Dame’s Everett Golson to force a 4th-and-18. With the game in the balance however, Golson scrambled to his right and found Corey Robinson for a 20-yard gain and a first down. With 17 seconds to play, Notre Dame faced a 4th-and-goal from the FSU 2-yard-line. Again, Golson and Robinson hooked up for what appeared to be the winning score with 13 seconds remaining, but the Fighting Irish were called for offensive pass interference, pushing Notre Dame back to the 17-yard-line. With one last chance to get Notre Dame into the end zone, Golson’s pass was intercepted by FSU’s Jacob Pugh as the Seminoles held on.

No. 10: Florida State 31, Nebraska 28 (1988 Fiesta Bowl)
Jan. 1, 1988

In a Fiesta Bowl match-up of top 5 teams, Florida State fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter, but rallied with 21 straight points in the second, thanks to two touchdown passes from Danny McManus to Herb Gainer and a short touchdown run from Dayne Williams. Nebraska however, would not go quietly as the Cornhuskers scored a pair of third quarter touchdowns to take a 28-24 lead into the final quarter. The score would remain until the 3:07 mark when McManus found Ronald Lewis for the go-ahead touchdown. The Seminoles would force Nebraska into 4th-and-long on the ensuing possession and make the tackle to secure the victory. The win for FSU allowed the Seminoles to begin a streak of 14 straight seasons finishing in the top 5.

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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