The Daily Nole

30-Year Nole Anniversary: FSU Overpowers Eventual National Champ Miami, 24-10

Garnet and Great, FSU Football Archivist

Throughout the course of his 34-year career as Florida State head coach, Bobby Bowden’s team won a pair of national championships. As for Bowden, he was also the first coach ever to beat two eventual national champions during his career.

The first of those occasions came on this day 30 years ago.

No. 2 Miami was undefeated at 6-0 and had won four straight over the Seminoles as it arrived at Doak Campbell Stadium on Oct. 28, 1989. The Hurricanes had defeated No. 1 FSU 31-0 to open the prior season and had edged the Seminoles 26-25 in a thriller in their previous trip to Tallahassee. On that Saturday in late-October however, FSU set the tone early in a 24-10 win over its rivals.

On the first play from scrimmage, FSU All-American safety LeRoy Butler intercepted Miami quarterback Gino Torretta to give the Seminoles the ball inside the Hurricanes’ 40-yard-line. On FSU’s first play from scrimmage, running back Dexter Carter went down the sideline for a 37-yard touchdown to ignite the Doak Campbell Stadium crowd.

Torretta and the Hurricanes would answer as the freshman quarterback found Randal Hill for an 8-yard touchdown, but that would be the game’s final tie. Fullback Edgar Bennett would put FSU back in front with a short touchdown plunge on the next possession. Carlos Huerta’s 44-yard field goal with just over a minute to play in the first capped the scoring in an eventful first period, but from there on, the FSU defense would dominate.

Miami would never score again.

The Seminoles wound up forcing six Miami turnovers in the victory and coming away with a couple key stops on the goal line. Linebacker Kirk Carruthers had a night to remember with 16 tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Kevin Grant added a sack and an interception for the Seminoles. Odell Haggins, Butler, Eric Hayes and Dedrick Dodge all had big nights in the victory.

The lone touchdown of the second half came late in the third quarter after a Miami fumble at the goal line kept the Hurricanes from taking the lead. The Seminoles marched 99 yards and capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run from Amp Lee. Richie Andrews would add a 41-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

Carter’s 142 yards rushing led an FSU team that tallied 220 yards on the ground. Ronald Lewis finished with 77 yards receiving to lead the Seminoles with 51 of those yards coming on a reception to move them from out of the shadow of their own goal post.

After an 0-2 start, the home victory over Miami would serve as the highlight of the 1989 season for FSU as it won its final 10 games to finish No. 2 in the UPI Poll and No. 3 in the AP Poll. The loss served as the lone blemish for the eventual national champion Hurricanes, who capped the regular season with a 27-10 win over No. 1 and reigning national champion Notre Dame before getting the better of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

It would be seven years later before Bowden defeated another eventual national champion. It wasn’t until 2008 when Houston Nutt’s Ole Miss team defeated Florida that another coach could claim two victories over teams to go on to win the national championship. The first time it happened for FSU came on this day 30 years 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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