Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Florida State Puts a Knot on Florida 28-Point Rally Nets 31-31 Tie; Gators' Title Hopes Damaged

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Florida State Puts a Knot on Florida 28-Point Rally Nets 31-31 Tie; Gators' Title Hopes Damaged

Article excerpt

Nobody left Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday quite sure what had been the most astonishing: No. 4 Florida racing to a 28-point lead, No. 7 Florida State wiping it out in about 11 minutes, or Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden choosing to go conservative after the final touchdown.

Bowden's decision to kick the extra point, with 1 minute 45 seconds and two timeouts left, led to the 31-31 tie that almost surely cost both teams a chance at the national championship.

"I think probably our tie wasn't his tie," Bowden said. He was referring to Florida coach Steve Spurrier, whose team had the better chance for the ultimate prize that the Seminoles won last season.

Past and present Florida State players on the sideline were shouting and signaling for a 2-point try after tailback Rock Preston scooted into the end zone from 4 yards. If his assistants also had tried to pressure Bowden, that wouldn't have mattered, either, he said.

"They have nine votes, one each," Bowden said jokingly. "I have 10. I simply did not want to lose, not after coming from that far behind. And it nearly worked."

Florida State got the ball back with 22 seconds still left - and Danny Kanell quickly completed a 19-yard pass to midfield. However, he ran instead of throwing the ball away on the next play, and failed to get a first down that would have stopped the clock while the first-down marker was reset. Time expired before the Seminoles could run another play.

Spurrier had the best perspective of the wild affair, saying: "It looked like we were a lot better than them, then it looked like they were a lot better than us.

"Hopefully, we'll learn that you are never too much ahead."

The crowd of 80,210 saw as many explosive plays and as much drama as could be imagined. Kanell completed 40 of 53 passes for 421 yards and one touchdown; Florida's Danny Wuerffel was 21 for 36 for 304 yards and three touchdowns. …

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