The Daily Nole

59 Days Until FSU Football: Peter Warrick Returns Punt 59 Yards for Score in National Championship

Bill Frakes /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Only 59 days remain until Florida State football kicks off the 2018 season. As part of the offseason, we’re doing a countdown that highlights players, games, and specific moments from FSU football history.

On Thursday, it was former fullback Lonnie Pryor going for a career-long 60-yard touchdown in the 2013 Orange Bowl.

Today, it’s former wide receiver Peter Warrick returning a punt 59 yards for a touchdown in the 1999 national championship game.

Younger college football fans know all about Ted Ginn Jr. returning a kick for a touchdown vs. Florida or Kenyan Drake doing the same vs. Clemson. But before those two, there was Peter Warrick vs. Virginia Tech in the 2000 Sugar Bowl.

Warrick already had the numbers, the iconic plays, and the general talent to be considered one of the best players in both FSU history and college football history. The 1999 national championship was his last chance to bring home the coveted crystal ball and totally cement his legacy as an all-time great.

Whether it was by receiving or punt returning, Warrick put on an absolute spectacle in the national championship. That includes the 59-yard punt return for a touchdown that gave FSU a 28-7 early in the second quarter.

The Seminoles were feeling good about a 21-7 lead after a Ron Dugans touchdown. They had also just stopped Michael Vick and the Hokies’ offense deep in Virginia Tech territory. Virginia Tech lined up to punt from its own 21-yard-line to a waiting Peter Warrick at the 40-yard line.

The ball took one bounce near midfield and it looked like Virginia Tech had the return covered up. By the time Warrick picked it up at the 41-yard-line, there was a defender just three yards away.

But it’s Peter Warrick.

He immediately cut to the left to evade the first defender, then cut right back towards a small opening in the mass of Hokies running towards him. Somehow, some way, he slipped by the entire return coverage team and raced down the sidelines for his second score of the game. He made Virginia Tech (and many others) look like they were running in slow motion.

That 59-yard punt return may have been the play that put Virginia Tech in too deep a hole. Obviously it fought back and actually took a 29-28 lead going into the fourth quarter. Warrick’s incredible juggling catch for a touchdown later in the game helped put the contest away.

Warrick went on to combine for 220 yards and three touchdowns in his ultimate performance as a Seminole. FSU won the contest 46-29 to secure a 12-0 season, second national championship and the only perfect season under legendary head coach Bobby Bowden.

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