The Daily Nole

FSU Football: Top 5 Offensive Performances in Orange Bowl

Steve Musco/FSU athletics

Florida State’s Capital One Orange Bowl contest against Michigan is more than a week away as FSU hopes to notch its fifth straight 10-win season. The Seminoles have a rich history at the Orange Bowl having played in the annual bowl in Miami on nine prior occasions.

Here’s a look at the five greatest offensive performances for FSU players in the Orange Bowl:

5. Charlie Ward, QB
Florida State 18, Nebraska 16
Jan. 1, 1994
24-for-43 passing, 286 yards
The Orange Bowl against No. 1 Nebraska wasn’t 1993 Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward’s finest game of the season, but when the Seminoles needed him, he came through. Down 16-15 with 1:16 to play, Ward marched FSU 60 yards to the Nebraska 5-yard-line, setting up kicker Scott Bentley’s game-winning field goal with 21 seconds to play. The Cornhuskers would get a chance to win it on a long kick from Byron Bennett, but it sailed left as time expired. FSU would go on to claim its first national championship.

4. Willie Reid, WR/PR
Florida State 23, Penn State 26 (3 OT)
Jan. 3, 2006
4 catches, 55 yards, 7 punt returns, 180 yards, touchdown
Fresh off an ACC Championship upset of No. 5 Virginia Tech, the Seminoles were again healthy underdogs as they faced third-ranked Penn State in the Orange Bowl. The Nittany Lions looked to be in control early up 7-0, but Willie Reid let Joe Paterno’s team know it was in for a dogfight. With just over four minutes to play in the first half, Willie Reid took a Penn State punt 83 yards for a touchdown to knot the score. Penn State would go on to win in three overtimes, thanks to a pair of missed field goals by FSU’s Gary Cismesia, but Reid finished the evening with 235 all-purpose yards.

3. Sean Jackson, RB
Florida State 27, Nebraska 14
Jan. 1, 1993
17 carries, 101 yards, touchdown, 4 catches, 61 yards
Running back Sean Jackson was never quite as heralded as the likes of Amp Lee who came before him or Warrick Dunn who came after, but to conclude the 1992 season, Jackson was near unstoppable. On just 21 touches, Jackson accounted for 162 yards and one score. His 11-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter capped the scoring for FSU.

2. Danny Kanell, QB
Florida State 31, Notre Dame 26
Jan. 1, 1996
20-for-32 passing, 290 yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Florida State’s streak of eight straight 10-win seasons looked to be in jeopardy in the fourth quarter of the 1996 Orange Bowl as the Seminoles trailed Notre Dame, 26-14. In his final game however, Danny Kanell was determined to go out a winner. In less than a 4-minute span, Kanell fired a pair of touchdown passes to rally the Seminoles. The first — an 11-yard strike to E.G. Green — cut the lead to five. With more than six minutes to play, Kanell and Andre Cooper hooked up for not only a 3-yard touchdown, but the ensuing 2-point conversion as FSU went on to notch its ninth straight top 5 finish.

1. Lonnie Pryor, FB
Florida State 31, Northern Illinois 10
Jan. 1, 2012
5 carries, 134 yards, 2 touchdowns
Lonnie Pryor was hardly the workhorse in the final game on his FSU career, but to say he maximized his touches would be a grand understatement. In the 2013 Orange Bowl against BCS buster Northern Illinois, Pryor touched the ball just five times, scoring twice on runs of 60 and 37 yards. Pryor would go on to be named the game’s most outstanding player as FSU won its first BCS bowl in 13 years.

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

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