The Daily Nole

25-Year Nole Anniversary: Charlie Ward Becomes FSU’s First Heisman Winner

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This past Saturday, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray joined an elite fraternity when he became the 84th winner of the Heisman Trophy. On this day 25 years ago in New York City, Florida State had its first player ever hoist the most prestigious individual award in college football.

Sitting alongside Tennessee quarterback Heath Shuler and Alabama running back David Palmer, FSU redshirt senior quarterback Charlie Ward became FSU’s first Heisman Trophy winner on Dec. 11, 1993. Ward received 740 of 800 possible first-place votes.

For the 1993 season, Ward would complete nearly 70 percent of his passes for 3,032 yards and 27 touchdowns to just four interceptions. He also rushed for 339 yards and four touchdowns and caught a pass for 10 yards.

Ward’s magical regular season was capped with a thrilling 33-21 win over No. 7 Florida in which the redshirt senior passed for 446 yards and four touchdowns, including the 79-yard toss to Warrick Dunn to put the contest away. Ward did miss one contest against Maryland with an injury.

Ward would also win the Davey O’Brien Award, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award and Johnny Unitas Award while being named a Consensus All-American.

Although it wasn’t his best statistically, Ward did save perhaps his most memorable moment for last as he led the Seminoles down the field to set up Scott Bentley’s 22-yard field goal with 21 seconds to play in the 1994 Orange Bowl against Nebraska. The kick gave FSU an 18-16 win and a first national championship.

A 2-sport star who also played basketball, Ward elected to pursue basketball and spent more than a decade in the NBA with the New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets. Ward was elected into the FSU Hall of Fame in 1999 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Since Ward, Chris Weinke (1999) and Jameis Winston (2013) have since gone on to win the Heisman Trophy. The first for an FSU player however, came on this day 25 years ago in New York City.

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

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