The Daily Nole

Most Thrilling Wins in FSU History: First Round — No. 6 vs. No. 11

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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.

Tuesday’s winner was the No. 7 seed — Florida State’s controversial 2014 victory over Notre Dame — which received 74 percent of the vote. It eliminated the No. 10 seed which was the 1988 Fiesta Bowl.

Wednesday’s match-up is a pair of walk-off ACC victories. The No. 6 seed is the 2003 double-overtime victory over N.C. State. It will be paired with our 11th-seeded contest, the 2010 home victory over Clemson.

No. 6: Florida State 50, N.C. State 44 (Double overtime)
Nov. 15, 2003

With the ACC on the line for both schools, Florida State and N.C. State squared off at Doak Campbell Stadium in what would be the highest scoring match-up FSU would play all season. The Seminoles trailed 20-10 early on, but would battle their way back behind an outstanding rushing day from the 3-headed monster of Greg Jones, Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker. N.C. State and quarterback Philip Rivers however, always seemed to have an answer. After Booker’s 71-yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave FSU a 27-23 lead, the Wolfpack answered with a Rivers touchdown. Chris Rix’s 15-yard strike to P.K. Sam would give FSU the lead heading into the final quarter and a Xavier Beitia field goal would extend the lead to seven, but with less than four and a half minutes to play, Rivers found Tramain Hall for the tying 44-yard touchdown. FSU was able to melt the clock and set Beitia up with a 32-yard field goal attempt, but his kick was blocked as time expired and the contest went to overtime even, 37-37. After Rix and Rivers traded touchdown passes in the first overtime, the FSU defense did what it couldn’t seem to do in regulation and that was get a stop. On 4th-and-1, N.C. State elected to go for it, but Rivers’ pass went off the hands of receiver Jerricho Cotchery. The Seminoles would need only two plays to reach the end zone as Washington carried the ball to the left side for a score, giving FSU the victory and its 11th ACC title in 12 years.

No. 11: Florida State 16, Clemson 13
Nov. 13, 2010

Florida State and Clemson each needed a win to keep their ACC title hopes alive when the teams met at Doak Campbell Stadium late in 2010. With quarterback Christian Ponder injured, the Seminoles were forced to turn to experienced backup E.J. Manuel, but it was the defenses that dominated most of the night. Jamie Harper scored from 26 yards out on Clemson’s opening drive, but both offenses would fail to find the end zone over the next two quarters. With FSU trailing 10-6, the Seminoles temporarily asked Manuel to forget about making plays with his arm and use his legs to march FSU down the field. With just over 10 minutes to play, Manuel’s 8-yard touchdown run capped an 85-yard drive and put the Seminoles ahead, 13-10. With time ticking away, Clemson drove deep into FSU territory, but was forced to settle for a Chandler Catanzaro field goal with 53 seconds remaining. The game appeared headed for overtime, but with just seconds to play, Manuel found Rodney Smith for an 18-yard gain to the Clemson 37-yard-line. With three seconds remaining, kicker Dustin Hopkins trotted on to the field to attempt a 55-yard field goal. Hopkins’ kick split the post as time expired and FSU walked away with an improbable 16-13 victory.

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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