The Daily Nole

FSU’s Top 5 Moments vs. Notre Dame

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Florida State and Notre Dame will meet for just the ninth time on Saturday night in South Bend, but prior occasions in the series have been significant.

Two of the previous six regular season match-ups have featured top 5 teams and two prior meetings have been in bowl games. As usual, we look at the top five moments in the series for FSU.

Narrowly missing the list was Rick Stockstill’s game-winning touchdown pass to Michael Whiting with 10 minutes to go in the first meeting between the schools in 1981.

5. Dunn’s Game-Winner in Orlando
Notre Dame 16, (8) Florida State 23
Nov. 12, 1994

One year after Notre Dame handed national champion Florida State its only loss of the season, the Fighting Irish were significant underdogs in a neutral-site contest in Orlando, but had upset on their minds. Despite being outgained 517 to 221 in the contest, Notre Dame looked to be on the verge of taking the lead with 5:17 to go when Ron Powlus hit Derrick Mayes for the tying touchdown. The extra point however, was missed and the game remained tied. FSU running backs Warrick Dunn and Rock Preston each eclipsed 160 yards rushing in the win and with 2:53 to play, Dunn scampered in from five yards out to put the Seminoles ahead for good.

4. Champs Sports Comeback
(25) Florida State 18, Notre Dame 14
Dec. 29, 2011 (Champs Sports Bowl)

For three quarters, the Florida State offense had been able to muster very little against Notre Dame. A long kickoff return by Lamarcus Joyner had set up a field goal, but the Seminoles trailed 14-3 after three. In the final period, quarterback E.J. Manuel and wide receiver Rashad Greene would come to life. FSU was able to cut the lead to five on an 18-yard strike from Manuel to Bert Reed on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Seminoles went ahead for good on a 15-yard touchdown completion from Manuel to Greene after FSU linebacker Nigel Bradham had come away with an interception to set up excellent field position. Safety Terrence Brooks intercepted Notre Dame’s Tommy Rees to seal the win. FSU had trailed 14-0 early. The comeback at the time was the largest in FSU bowl history.

3. South Bend Shutout
(5) Florida State 37, Notre Dame 0
Nov. 1, 2003

Nearly 10 years after Florida State fell in South Bend in what was dubbed “The Game of the Century”, the Seminoles made their first return and proceeded to hand Notre Dame its second worst home loss in program history. FSU left with a 37-0 victory behind quarterback Chris Rix’s 327 yards passing and three touchdowns. Craphonso Thorpe was on the receiving end of two of those scores, finishing with 217 yards receiving on seven receptions. FSU led 23-0 at the break and 30-0 after three. Cornerback Leroy Smith put the exclamation point on the shutout with a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown with less than nine minutes to play.

2. Orange Bowl Rally Prolongs Bowl Win Streak
(8) Florida State 31, (6) Notre Dame 26
Jan. 1, 1996 (Orange Bowl)

Florida State had already set a record for consecutive bowl wins with 10, but that streak was very much in jeopardy as the Seminoles faced Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl to conclude the 1995 season. FSU led 14-10 at the break, but the Fighting Irish had responded with 16 straight points to lead 26-14 with less than 12 minutes to play. That’s when quarterback Danny Kanell and the FSU offense kicked it into high gear. It took less than six minutes to erase the deficit as Kanell connected with E.G. Green and Andre Cooper on scoring strikes. Kanell finished the evening with 290 yards passing and four touchdowns, including three to Cooper. Warrick Dunn rushed for 151 yards in the victory while Wayne Messam led FSU receivers with six catches for 103 yards. Sean Hamlet, a safety, had FSU’s only interception and linebacker Todd Rebol had its only sack, but it was Reinard Wilson who put the game away by forcing an intentional grounding for a safety with 2:02 to play.

1. Offensive Interference Negates the Game-Winner
(5) Notre Dame 27, (2) Florida State 31
Oct. 18, 2014

With just seconds remaining in a 2014 top-5 match-up, it appeared as though Notre Dame had just made the play to end defending national champion Florida State’s 22-game winning streak. FSU took its first lead of the night with under eight minutes to go on Karlos Williams’ short touchdown plunge. With 13 seconds remaining in the game, Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson had apparently hit Corey Robinson for the game-winning 2-yard score on 4th-and-goal. Unfortunately for the Fighting Irish, offensive pass interference was called. On the very next play, FSU linebacker Jacob Pugh intercepted Golson in the end zone to preserve the 31-27 victory and extend the Seminoles’ winning streak to 23 games. Pugh finished the night with two picks while linebacker Terrance Smith had two sacks. Quarterback Jameis Winston passed for 273 yards and a pair of scores in the victory.

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

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