The Daily Nole

25-Year Nole Anniversary: Seminoles Rock the Big House

Bernstein Associates

Florida State legendary head coach Bobby Bowden turned the Seminoles from doormat to national power during his tenure, largely by his willingness to go into hostile territories and stand toe to toe with the nation’s best.

There were plenty of examples of that throughout Bowden’s 34-year tenure, but one of the most significant road victories for FSU under the legend came on this day 25 years ago.

On Sept. 28, 1991, top-ranked Florida State visited Michigan Stadium, better known as “The Big House” and scored more points than any visitor ever against No. 3 Michigan. Behind a stellar performance from running back Amp Lee and two defensive touchdowns, FSU defeated the Wolverines, 51-31.

It took the Seminoles less than a minute to set the tone for the contest as Terrell Buckley returned an interception from Michigan quarterback Elvis Grbac 40 yards for a touchdown to give Florida State an early 7-0 lead. Michigan battled back throughout the first half, but two touchdown runs from Florida State’s Amp Lee, including an electrifying 22-yard run at the end of the first quarter, gave the Seminoles a 31-23 lead heading into the locker room.

Florida State quarterback Casey Weldon finished the day with 268 yards passing and touchdown throws to three different receivers, including two in the second half to push the FSU lead at 44-23. As Buckley did to set the tone early on, it was a defensive touchdown that would ultimately put the game away.

After Michigan cut the lead to 44-31, FSU defensive end Toddrick McIntosh returned a Grbac interception 49 yards for a score with under four minutes to play.

While the FSU offense was tallying nearly 500 yards, the defense forced five Michigan turnovers, three sacks and held eventual Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard to four catches for 69 yards receiving. Howard did however, score twice.

Kirk Carruthers led the defense with 14 total tackles while McIntosh added a sack and two tackles for loss to go with his interception return for a touchdown. Buckley, who would go on to record 12 interceptions that year and win the Jim Thorpe Award, had two picks in the win for the defense. Lee ended the day with 201 yards of total offense, including 122 on the ground.

Weldon would finish the 1991 season as the winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and runner-up to Howard for the Heisman Trophy. The 20-point defeat at the hands of the Seminoles would be the only loss for Michigan during the 1991 regular season.

Both teams would go on to finish in the top 10, but it wasn’t until 2010 that another team beat FSU’s mark for most points scored in Ann Arbor as Northwestern fell to the Wolverines 67-65 in three overtimes. The Seminoles still hold the record for points scored there by a visitor in regulation.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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