Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Florida State Puts on Show, Whips Florida in `Ot'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Florida State Puts on Show, Whips Florida in `Ot'

Article excerpt

Before the Sugar Bowl began Monday night at the Superdome, the scoreboard read Florida 31, Florida State 31 - a reminder that this was a rematch of the bitter stalemate they had submitted to Nov. 26.

The Gators that day were chomping the Seminoles 31-3 before being seized with lockjaw and collapsing in the fourth quarter. So as the teams entered the "overtime" Monday, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden wondered, "Who's going to show up doing what?"

Answer: Both sides - and plenty of hocus-pocus and razzmatazz. In a game festooned with jaw-jacking, exotic formations and eccentric play-calling, Florida State fended off Florida to win 23-17.

"We feel very fortunate to win the ballgame," Bowden said, "because it was a ballgame we could have lost as easily as we could have won."

Maybe so, but entering the fourth quarter, this was the case: Despite muffing a series of chances to dynamite the game open, the Seminoles entered the fourth quarter with a 51-10 advantage in its last 60 minutes against the Gators - 28-0 in the final quarter of the Nov. 26 game, and 23-10 Monday.

The seventh-ranked Seminoles, the 1993 national champions, finish their unsuccessful title defense 10-1-1. Florida, ranked fifth, is 10-2-1.

The high jinks began almost as soon as Johnny Rivers finished singing the national anthem and were continual through game's end, when the clock official failed to note a Florida timeout with 46 seconds left. Time ran off the clock, players from both teams and hundreds of fans swarmed the field - and then had to be cleared to complete the game.

Before the end of the first half, each team had broken the 60-year Sugar Bowl record for longest pass in a game. By game's end, multiple records fell, including: Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel's 394 yards passing, and the two teams combining for 774 yards passing and 54 completions.

Each apparently had peeled open a flag football playbook for the game: In the first half alone, Florida ran a receiver reverse pass, tried to execute the hook-and-ladder, and twice used a formation that featured just five players in the middle of the field.

Relatively conservative Florida State, meanwhile, featured a center snap to the tailback - and the ol' overhand-lateral-to-the-tailback-who-throws-a-bomb-off-the-receiver' s-hands- caroming-off-the-linebacker's-helmet, back-to-the-receiver-in-full-stride-for-a-touchdown.

"I couldn't believe they would call it," said the smiling tailback, Warrick Dunn. …

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