The Daily Nole

25-Year Nole Anniversary: Dunn Does in Gators

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Saturday’s annual rivalry game between Florida State and Florida did not end the way the Seminoles had hoped, but on this day 25 years ago came arguably their most memorable moment in the series as an eventual Heisman Trophy winner and a talented freshman silenced the storied Swamp of Gainesville.

FSU was ranked No. 1 in the country and had national championship aspirations as it made its way to Gainesville to take on No. 7 Florida on Nov. 27, 1993. The Gators had never lost at home to that point under fourth-year head coach Steve Spurrier.

For most of the day, it looked as though Florida State might cruise to victory. The Seminoles led 27-7 at one point, but Florida was gaining momentum after a pair of touchdowns, including a juggling scoring strike from Terry Dean to Jack Jackson with less than six minutes to play.

With the lead now just six, FSU was stifled on the first two plays of the ensuing possession and faced 3rd-and-10 from its own 21-yard-line and with a raucous crowd of more than 85,000 working against it.

On the third down play, quarterback and eventual Heisman winner Charlie Ward was flushed to his left before flipping the ball to freshman running back Warrick Dunn, who got one block and raced down the sideline for a 79-yard touchdown.

“We were getting ready to go back out on the field,” Clifton Abraham, a starting cornerback on the 1993 team, told The Daily Nole over the summer. “Florida was the loudest stadium I had ever been in and it had never been louder before that play. They had all the momentum. When Charlie threw that ball, it was just a blessing.”

“One of the things I remember most is when they missed those tackles and everybody could see that he was going to score, our fans behind us suddenly sounded louder than theirs,” center Clay Shiver recalled. “You knew — because they knew — that it was over.”

Ward would finish the day with 446 yards passing, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Kez McCorvery was on the receiving end of two of those scores while Tamarick Vanover got the scoring started by hauling in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Ward. Dunn led the Seminoles with 140 yards receiving while receiver Matt Frier also eclipsed the 100-yard mark receiving with 126 yards.

Defensively, end Toddrick McIntosh and linebacker Chris Cowart combined for four sacks of the five FSU sacks. James Colzie and Corey Sawyer each came away with interceptions in the 33-21 victory. As a team, the Seminoles held the Gators to a negative-33 yards rushing.

The victory ended a 23-game home winning streak for Florida and ultimately propelled Ward to the Heisman Trophy and FSU to an Orange Bowl showdown – which it would win – against Nebraska for the national championship. The 79-yard catch for Dunn was just the beginning of a legendary career, but arguably still his most memorable moment. It came on this day 25 years ago.

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

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