Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Catch That Wasn't Ignited FSU-UF Rivalry

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Catch That Wasn't Ignited FSU-UF Rivalry

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette, Times-Union sports writer

A picture of the most exasperating moment in Gary Pajcic's football career still hangs in prominence at his Jacksonville law office. He says he keeps it around for fun and as a "conversation piece."

That picture gets Seminoles and Gators talking, all right. Thirty-five years later, it remains one of the most controversial moments in college football history. And one that may have planted the seed for this rivalry to mushroom from harmless in-state jawing into the closest thing resembling an Auburn-Alabama hatefest.

If you wonder why FSU and UF fans reserve so much animosity for one another -- especially in the last decade when both have consistently been national contenders -- it can be traced back to The Play.

That got the vexation train rolling. Fans have since taken it to a whole new level. But what happened on Oct. 8, 1966 set this rivalry in motion.

Pajcic, the former Florida State quarterback and Paxon High graduate, threw the pass that started it all. The picture shows Lane Fenner, who had just entered the game for an exhausted Ron Sellers, catching a 45-yard pass in the end zone with 17 seconds left to presumably give the Seminoles a 25-22 lead.

Sellers, FSU's star receiver, had to come out because he had just run four consecutive deep patterns off the "82" play, which called for receivers to either run a post route or go straight upfield if the defense was in three-deep coverage. Fenner ran a straight line for the end zone. As he cradles the pass, his feet are clearly in bounds as he falls to the ground ahead of Gator defensive backs Larry Rentz and Bobby Downs.

But Southeastern Conference field judge Doug Moseley didn't see it that way. As a Doak Campbell Stadium crowd celebrated Fenner's catch, Moseley ruled him out of bounds from his vantage point, approximately 20 yards behind Fenner. …

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