The Daily Nole

Remembering Every FSU Non-Offensive Touchdown vs. Miami

FSU athletics

Florida State will likely be double-digit underdogs on Saturday as it heads to Hard Rock Stadium to visit No. 17 Miami.

The Hurricanes rallied in the waning seconds last season to win in Tallahassee and snap a 7-game losing streak to the Seminoles. FSU however, hasn’t lost to Miami on the road since 2004.

As a big underdog, FSU would be best served to make things happen with turnovers or big plays on special teams — perhaps even scores. The Seminoles have done plenty of that in their past history with the Hurricanes. Here’s a look back at every non-offensive touchdown for Florida State in the series:

Joe Majors Starts the Scoring
Florida State 17, Miami 6
Nov. 7, 1958

1958 would be the first season that Florida State would ever beat Miami. That year, Joe Majors got the scoring started with a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown in a 17-6 victory in South Florida.

Biletnikoff Does it on Defense
Florida State 24, Miami 0
Sept. 20, 1963

After winning in 1958, it would be five years before FSU would beat Miami again and that came with some help from a non-offensive touchdown. Miami quarterback George Mira was regarded as a Heisman Trophy contender entering 1963, but the signal caller had no answer for the Seminoles and the only touchdown pass he threw of the night went the other way for a Florida State score. After catching two touchdowns from Steve Tensi in the first half, legendary receiver Fred Biletnikoff capped the scoring with a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown in a shutout victory over the rival Hurricanes.

Presidential Moment in Coral Gables
Florida State 23, Miami 20
Sept. 24, 1966

The name T.K. Wetherell isn’t unknown to Florida State fans and alumni. From 2003-10, he served as the president of Florida State University, but long before that, he was making plays on the gridiron, including a big one against Miami in 1966. In a 23-20 win over the Hurricanes, Wetherell gave FSU its first lead by taking a lateral from Bill Moremen on a kickoff return and going the final 77 yards on a 94-yard touchdown return. Thurston Taylor would score the winning touchdown for FSU on a 28-yard pass from Gary Pajcic with less than 10 minutes to play.

J.T. Thomas Slams the Door
Florida State 27, Miami 3
Oct. 30, 1970

In 1970, J.T. Thomas became the first black football player in Florida State history. In late October, he became the first player to score a touchdown for the Seminoles. After leading 6-0 at the break, Thomas capped a 21-point third quarter for FSU by returning Kelly Cochrane’s interception 29 yards for a score. It would be the only touchdown for Thomas during his FSU Hall of Fame career.

McMillan Sets the Tone
Florida State 20, Miami 17
Sept. 18, 1971

Florida State was looking for a sixth straight win over Miami as the teams met in South Florida early during the 1971 season. It wasted little time setting the tone as Eddie McMillan took the game’s opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. That would serve as the only touchdown of the game for FSU until the final quarter when the Seminoles scored 10 unanswered points to pull off a 3-point victory.

Macek Takes The Block Back
Florida State 31, Miami 21
Sept. 23, 1978

Florida State was having little success getting much going offensively at Miami in 1978 until a special teams play provided a spark. Trailing 7-0, the legendary Ron Simmons blocked a Miami punt early in the second quarter, which was returned 48 yards for a touchdown by Mark Macek to tie the game. Miami would regain the lead, but a short touchdown run by Wally Woodham midway through the third quarter put FSU ahead for good in an eventual 31-21 victory.

Henry Provides the Exclamation Point
Miami 23, Florida State 40
Sept. 22, 1979

Hope was dwindling for Miami early in the fourth quarter of the 1979 rivalry contest in Tallahassee. Gary Henry saw to it that the hope was gone. With 10 minutes to play and FSU leading 33-15, Henry caught a punt at his own 43-yard-line and made one cut before racing 57 yards for the touchdown. It capped the scoring for FSU as the Seminoles hit the 40-point mark against their rivals for the first time.

Davis Falls on It In the End Zone
Miami 35, Florida State 27
Nov. 2, 1985

The first occasion where Florida State scored a non-offensive touchdown and still lost to Miami came in 1985. Trailing 14-7 in the second quarter, the Seminoles drew even on a punt blocked by John Hadley that was fallen on in the end zone by Brian Davis. The score seemed to be a momentum changer as FSU scored 17 straight points to take the lead, but was unable to finish. Miami outscored FSU 21-3 over the game’s final 23:15.

Carter Goes the Distance
Florida State 23, Miami 41
Nov. 1, 1986

Dexter Carter and big plays against Miami seemed to go hand-in-hand. The first installment came on a kickoff return late in the first quarter of the 1986 contest. Carter took a lateral from returner Keith Ross and took it the final 90 yards for a touchdown return that began five yards deep in the end zone. The touchdown knotted the score at 14, but that would be the last time that FSU would find the end zone. The Seminoles led 23-21 after three, but were outscored 20-0 in the final quarter.

Alphonso Williams returned a blocked punt for Florida State against Miami in 1987. (Newspaper Archive Photo)

Williams Returns the Block
Miami 26, Florida State 25
Oct. 3, 1987

In the top-5 match-up in 1987, defensive backs Martin Mayhew and Alphonso Williams collaborated on a blocked punt for a touchdown that gave the Seminoles a 16-3 lead in the third quarter. After Mayhew blocked a Miami punt, Williams scooped it up and went the final five yards. The Hurricanes would ultimately win the game in a thriller.

Vanover Takes the Opening Kickoff Back
Florida State 16, Miami 19
Oct. 3, 1992

Tamarick Vanover channeled his inner Eddie McMillan during the 1992 contest between top-5 teams by returning the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. Unfortunately for FSU, that would be its only touchdown of the day. Dan Mowrey’s 39-yard field goal sailed wide for FSU as time expired in a 19-16 loss.

Bush Puts It Away
Miami 10, Florida State 28
Oct. 9, 1993

Defense dominated the second half of the top-3 match-up in 1993 as Florida State clung to a 21-10 lead as the clock winded down toward five minutes. That’s when Devin Bush put the game away by intercepting a Frank Costa pass and returning it 40 yards for a touchdown to cement the victory and help snap a 3-game losing streak to the Hurricanes.

Shevin Smith Scoops and Scores
Florida State 34, Miami 16
Oct. 12, 1996

The first touchdown of the 1996 contest between FSU and Miami in South Florida would come from the defense. With FSU leading 3-0 in the first quarter, Vernon Crawford stripped Miami running back Danyell Ferguson of the ball before safety Shevin Smith picked it up and raced 54 yards for the touchdown to give the Seminoles a 10-0 lead in an eventual 18-point victory.

Boulware Caps the Scoring
Miami 49, Florida State 27
Oct. 13, 2001

The game was well in doubt in Tallahassee late in 2001, but FSU linebacker Michael Boulware did make the final score look a bit more respectable. After a mishandled snap by Miami holder Freddie Capshaw on a field goal attempt, Boulware was able to scoop up the football and go 73 yards the other way to cap the scoring as FSU lost its first home game in a decade.

Cromartie Provides the Only Offense
Florida State 10, Miami 16 (Overtime)
Sept. 10, 2004

The only touchdown for Florida State in the 2004 contest pushed back by Hurricane Frances came from cornerback Antonio Cromartie. With the Seminoles leading 3-0, Cromartie picked up a Roscoe Parrish fumble and raced 61 yards the other way to give FSU a 10-0 lead. Florida State would not score again before falling 16-10 in overtime for its sixth straight loss to the rival Hurricanes.

Verdell Returns Wright Pick
Miami 37, Florida State 29
Oct. 20, 2007

It had been 14 years since Florida State had returned an interception for a touchdown against Miami, but that changed at Doak Campbell Stadium in 2007. After falling behind 14-3, FSU regained the lead with a touchdown run by quarterback Xavier Lee and an interception that was returned 45 yards by FSU linebacker Toddrick Verdell in the second quarter on a pass from Miami quarterback Kyle Wright. The Hurricanes however would have the last laugh with a Kirby Freeman touchdown pass with 1:15 to play and a defensive touchdown 11 seconds later.

White Gives FSU the Lead
Miami 38, Florida State 34
Sept. 7, 2009

With Florida State trailing 24-23 to open the 2009 season with under 12 minutes to go, the defense needed to make a play and cornerback Greg Reid and defensive end Markus White did just that. On a called pass play, Reid got to Miami quarterback Jacory Harris as he let the ball go, causing it to float up in the air. White was able to corral it and race 31 yards the other way to put FSU in front. Miami’s Graig Cooper would score the game-winner with 1:53 to play.

Reid Houses a Punt
Miami 19, Florida State 23
Nov. 12, 2011

The last non-offensive touchdown for Florida State in the series came in electrifying fashion from cornerback Greg Reid. On a punt that bounced inside the FSU 20, Reid fielded the ball, made one cut and went 83 yards the other way to give the Seminoles a 17-7 lead. That would be the final touchdown that the Seminoles needed as kicker Dustin Hopkins and the defense did the rest in the 23-19 victory.

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

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