The Daily Nole

FSU Football: Top 5 Defensive Performances in Orange Bowl

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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 defensive performances for FSU players in the Orange Bowl:

5. Jerome Carter, S
Florida State 14, Miami 16
Jan. 1, 2004
5 tackles, tackle for loss, 0.5 sacks, interception
After losing to Miami during the regular season, the Seminoles fell to the Hurricanes again in the Orange Bowl, but it wasn’t because of Jerome Carter. Carter did just about everything that night for FSU, including returning a Brock Berlin interception 30 yards to set up FSU’s first touchdown.

4. Derrick Alexander, DE
Florida State 18, Nebraska 16
Jan. 1, 1994
11 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, pass break-up
In the Orange Bowl to decide the 1993 national championship, the Seminoles held Nebraska’s potent option attack to just four yards per carry and Derrick Alexander, a senior defensive end, was a big reason why. Setting the edge for FSU, Alexander finished with 11 tackles, a team-high, including two for loss as the Seminoles would go on to win their first national championship.

3. Reggie Herring, LB
Florida State 7, Oklahoma 24
Jan. 1, 1980
16 tackles, forced fumble
Florida State’s dreams of a national championship may have died in grand fashion against Oklahoma to conclude the 1979 season, but there were few plays that Reggie Herring didn’t make. Herring recorded 16 tackles, including 12 solo stops against J.C. Watts and the Sooners’ option attack. Herring also forced a fumble in the loss.

2. Tay Cody, CB
Florida State 2, Oklahoma 13
Jan. 3, 2001
2 tackles, interception, forced fumble
Tay Cody couldn’t conclude his All-American senior season with a second straight national championship, but he did all he could to keep FSU in the game. Cody forced a fumble and came up with the only interception for the Seminoles, which he returned 19 yards. Unfortunately for Florida State, it wasn’t enough.

1. Paul Piurowski, LB
Florida State 17, Oklahoma 18
Jan. 1, 1981
12 tackles, 2 forced fumbles
The Orange Bowl to conclude the 1980 season will go down as one of the most heartbreaking bowl losses in FSU history, but Paul Piurowski was a man possessed for FSU. Piurowski finished with a team-high 12 tackles and was responsible for two of Oklahoma’s five turnovers. Unfortunately, Piurowski’s defense couldn’t stop J.C. Watts on the final Oklahoma drive as Watts threw the game-winning touchdown and 2-point conversion.

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

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