The Daily Nole

81 Days Until FSU Football: Chris Weinke’s 81 Career Touchdowns

Bob Rosato/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

81 days are left until Florida State football debuts against Virginia Tech. As part of the offseason, we’re doing a countdown that highlights players, games, and specific moments from Florida State football history.

On Wednesday, it was Florida State’s victory in the 1982 Gator Bowl that started its ongoing bowl streak.

Today, it’s former quarterback Chris Weinke and his 81 total career touchdowns while at Florida State.

If one ever wants to confuse their friends who know college football, tell them that Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke were a part of the same 1989 recruiting class. It’s true: both of Florida State’s first two Heisman Trophy winners were on the same depth chart at one point.

Instead of staying around, Weinke decided to sign a contract with the Toronto Blue Jays and try his hand at baseball. He eventually realized his baseball career was going nowhere, and decided to re-enroll at Florida State in 1997.

It didn’t take long for Weinke to assume the starting role. As a sophomore in 1998, he combined for 20 touchdowns and helped lead the Seminoles to a 9-1 record before getting injured against Virginia. Florida State would still go on to appear in the national championship, but it fell to the Tennessee Volunteers after its offense failed to produce in the Fiesta Bowl.

The 1999 national championship season is where Weinke took the next step forward. He threw for over 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns, albeit with 14 interceptions. Weinke was a gunslinger in every sense of the word, and head coach Bobby Bowden knew that he could rely on his arm to propel the offense. He saved arguably his best performance for last by throwing for four touchdowns and 329 yards in the Sugar Bowl for the national championship against the Virginia Tech Hokies — a 46-29 FSU victory.

His 2000 season was where the national awards started pouring in. Weinke unleashed for 34 total touchdowns and over 4,000 passing yards, becoming the oldest Heisman Trophy winner at age 28. He also won the Davey O’Brien Award and the Johnny Unitas Award. Despite this, the Seminoles ultimately fell in the Orange Bowl for the national championship to the Oklahoma Sooners, 13-2.

Weinke’s legacy has stood the test of time nearly two decades later. In addition to his national championship ring and individual awards, Weinke’s numbers are a mainstay in the FSU record books. He holds the records for passing yards in a career (9,839), season (4,167 in 2000), and single game (536 vs. Duke in 2000), as well as career passing touchdowns (79), total career touchdowns (81), and total career offensive yards (9,473).

It is unlikely that we ever see a player like Weinke come around again. The closest yet was Brandon Weeden at Oklahoma State back in 2010 and 2011, but even his numbers are slightly below Weinke’s. 81 career touchdowns for a quarterback is an impressive feat that very few in the modern game can match.

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