The Daily Nole

22 Days Until FSU Football: Scott Bentley’s 22-Yard FG Lifts FSU to First National Title

Bill Frakes /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

There are 22 days left until Florida State football starts the 2018 season. As part of the offseason, we’re highlighting players, games, and specific moments from FSU football history.

On Saturday, it was former running back Travis Minor, who wore No. 23 and handled the unenviable task of replacing a legend with effort deserving of admiration.

Today, it’s former Florida State kicker Scott Bentley’s 22-yard field goal in the final minute of the 1994 Orange Bowl to lift the Seminoles to an 18-16 victory and their first national championship.

Bentley came to FSU in 1993 as a highly-touted freshman from Colorado, but throughout the course of the season, Bentley had struggled when it came to consistency. Bentley had made three kicks earlier in the evening on Jan. 1, 1994, but it looked like it may be the Nebraska kicker that played the role of hero.

With 1:16 to play, Nebraska kicker Byron Bennett connected from 27 yards out to give the No. 2 Cornhuskers a 16-15 lead over No. 1 FSU. That left matters into the hands of Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Charlie Ward and the Florida State offense.

Thanks to a fourth down conversion on a short run by fullback William Floyd, a 21-yard completion to running back Warrick Dunn followed by a personal foul and a pass interference penalty, Ward had moved the Seminoles inside Nebraska’s 10-yard line with less than 30 seconds to play. Enter Scott Bentley.

Regarded as the nation’s top high school kicker out of Colorado, Bentley was recruited to fix FSU’s kicking woes. The Seminoles fell to Miami in 1991 on a last-second miss by kicker Gerry Thomas, 17-16. The next year during the 1992 regular season, FSU fell to Miami at the Orange Bowl, 19-16, on a last-second miss by Dan Mowrey.

At the same location where FSU had suffered its only loss the year prior, Bentley was given a 22-yard attempt from the right hash mark to silence the ghosts of past failures. The snap was good and so was the kick. With 21 seconds left, the Seminoles led 18-16.

Scott Bentley’s 22-yard field goal gave FSU its first national title. (Photo from old newspaper archive)

Bennett would get another chance for Nebraska after a long pass and the officials’ decision to put time back on the clock. His 45-yard attempt however, sailed wide and FSU was victorious. When the final polls were released, Florida State and legendary head coach Bobby Bowden were national champions for the first time.

Since Bentley, FSU has had a number of great kickers come through Tallahassee. The Seminoles have four Lou Groza Awards to their name, which is more than any other school. To this day however, one would be hard-pressed to find a bigger make than Bentley’s 22-yarder in the 1994 Orange Bowl.

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

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply