Despite letting another big lead evaporate, Florida State notched its first ACC win on Saturday with a 35-24 home victory over Louisville at Doak Campbell Stadium.
The win marked the second straight season that FSU’s first win in conference came against Louisville. That led us to wonder how often — prior to Saturday — the Seminoles’ first ACC win came against the same opponent in consecutive years since they entered the conference in 1992:
Duke was the victim of Florida State’s first ACC win in each of the Seminoles’ first two years in the conference. In FSU’s first game as a member in 1992, it blasted the Blue Devils 48-21 at Doak Campbell Stadium. FSU quarterback Charlie Ward overcame four interceptions to account for five total touchdowns, including three to Kez McCorvey. Safety Leon Fowler returned a Duke interception 94 yards in the victory.
After blanking Kansas in East Rutherford to open FSU’s 1993 national championship season, the Seminoles opened ACC play with a 45-7 win on a muddy field in Durham. Ward passed for 272 yards and accounted for three total touchdowns in the win. Sean Jackson rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown. As Fowler did the year prior, FSU linebacker Derrick Brooks returned a Duke interception for a score.
Duke served as Florida State’s ACC opener in four of FSU’s first five years as a member of the conference and its season opener in 1995 and 1995. The Blue Devils actually gave up a home game to open the 1995 season against the Seminoles in Orlando. Danny Kanell passed for 275 yards and four touchdowns in the 70-26 victory. Warrick Dunn and Rock Preston each eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark while Andre Cooper and E.G. Green did likewise as receivers. Pooh Bear Williams had a pair of short touchdown runs.
The 1996 season did begin in Tallahassee as Florida State again blasted Duke, 44-7. Thad Busby threw a pair of touchdown passes and Dee Feaster returned a punt 59 yards for a touchdown. The story for FSU was the defense, which held Duke to just 91 total yards. Peter Boulware had 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Daryl Bush had a pair of recoveries.
Georgia Tech (1999 and 2000)
Florida State’s first ACC wins of the 1999 and 2000 campaigns were highly-competitive contests with Georgia Tech. In a top-10 match-up at Doak Campbell Stadium in 1999, the Seminoles persevered for a 41-35 victory over the Yellow Jackets despite Georgia Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton going 22-for-25 passing for 387 yards and five total touchdowns. Chris Weinke finished with 262 yards passing and three touchdowns while wide receiver Peter Warrick accounted for 167 yards from scrimmage and two scores. For the FSU defense, ends Jamal Reynolds and Roland Seymour combined for five tackles for loss, three sacks and a forced fumble.
The 2000 contest in Atlanta wasn’t supposed to be competitive, but was as FSU prevailed, 26-21. The Yellow Jackets led 15-12 after three quarters before Weinke, the eventual Heisman Trophy winner, found Robert Morgan for the go-ahead 30-yard touchdown. A short run by William McCray extended the lead to 11 before Georgia Tech answered with a George Godsey touchdown pass to Jon Muyres. Stanford Samuels would help seal the win with a key late pass break-up on fourth down.
After losing in overtime to kick off the 2004 season, Florida State won back-to-back Labor Day openers over Miami by a field goal. In 2005 in Tallahassee, FSU snapped a 6-game losing streak to the Hurricanes with a 10-7 victory. Miami looked like it would again force overtime late as kicker Jon Peattie lined up for a short field goal, but a bad snap helped preserve the win. Fullback James Coleman scored the only touchdown of the night for FSU. Kamerion Wimbley had a pair of sacks for an FSU team that tallied nine total.
FSU trailed 10-3 entering the final quarter of the 2006 contest — which would be its final trip to the Orange Bowl — but drew even early in the fourth quarter on a short touchdown run by fullback Joe Surratt. Gary Cismesia’s 33-yard field goal with just over eight minutes remaining in the game put the Seminoles ahead for good in a 13-10 victory. Michael Ray Garvin sealed the win for the Seminoles with a late interception of Miami quarterback Kyle Wright. Linebacker Buster Davis finished with 12 tackles, 3.5 for loss and two sacks to lead the FSU defense.
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 [email protected].