The Daily Nole

30-Year Nole Anniversary: Buckley Fools Syracuse on Punt Return TD

FSU athletics

Florida State’s legendary Bobby Bowden had a reputation for being willing to go to the trick play throughout his 34 years as head coach of the Seminoles.

The most memorable was the infamous “puntrooskie” to slip past Clemson in 1988 when Leroy Butler broke off a 78-yard run on a fake punt. The following season, it was another future All-American FSU defensive back who fooled a ranked team and it came on this day 30 years ago.

After opening the 1989 season with losses to Southern Mississippi and Clemson, the Seminoles had won two straight to get back into the polls at No. 22 as they entered the Carrier Dome to face 17th-ranked Syracuse. When all was said and done, FSU prevailed 41-10, but the lasting memory came from future Jim Thorpe Award winner Terrell Buckley midway through the third quarter.

FSU was in control, leading 20-3 with just over six minutes to play in the third quarter as the Orangemen lined up to punt. Buckley would catch the Ken Hawkins punt near his own 30-yard-line. Buckley stood there motionless to lead Syracuse players and his own head coach to believe that he had fair caught the football.

As players let their guards down, Buckley took the ball left and then down the middle of the field for a 69-yard touchdown on a play that came to be known as the “Foola from Pascagoula”. The return served as the first of two non-offensive touchdowns for FSU as Butler would return an interception 87 yards for a score just over three minutes later.

The FSU defense dominated the day with nine sacks and five forced turnovers. Butler had a pair of interceptions while linebacker Kirk Carruthers recorded a team-high 12 tackles. Shelton Thompson and Odell Haggins combined for 3.5 sacks.

On the offensive side of the ball, Peter Tom Willis passed for 215 yards and a touchdown to Terry Anthony, who led the Seminoles with 87 yards receiving. Dexter Carter and Amp Lee each rushed for touchdowns as FSU rushed for 178 yards to just 91 for Syracuse. The play from the contest that most will remember however, came on special teams and on this day three decades ago.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at

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