#2 Miami 17 ... #1 Florida State 16
"If you have to use the restroom, have a little can beside
you because you're not gonna wanna miss a minute of this."
the fitting words told by Florida State's All-American defensive
back, Terrell Buckley just prior to the 1991 clash between
Miami and Florida State. In a war simply known as, "Game
of the Century II", Bobby Bowden's top-ranked (10-0)
Seminoles braced for a showdown with Coach Dennis Erickson's
second-ranked (8-0) Hurricanes. Both teams had been dominant
all season posting over twenty-five point average scoring
margins each. The Canes had the nation's top-ranked scoring
defense while the Seminoles had the third-highest scoring
offense. FSU's quarterback Casey Weldon was undefeated as
a starter, while Miami's defense remarkably had not allowed
a first half touchdown so far that season. Florida State was
the favorite, having won over the role after a fifty-one-point
outburst in Ann Arbor against the fourth ranked Michigan Wolverines.
Miami entered the game having won seven consecutive battles
against top-ranked opponents. The game featured All-Americans
on both sides of the ball, from Miami's quarterback Gino Torretta,
wideout Lamar Thomas, return specialist Kevin Williams, offensive
tackle Leon Searcy, defensive end Rusty Medearis, linebackers
Darin Smith, Jessie Armstead and Michael Barrow, safety Darryl
Williams, cornerback Ryan McNeil to Florida State's Weldon,
running backs Amp Lee and Edgar Bennett, defensive linemen
Sterling Palmer and Carl Simpson, linebackers Marvin Jones
and Kirk Carruthers, Buckley and safety Leon Fowler. Clearly,
this game was to be a war
crowd, 64,288 filled Doak Campbell Stadium on a sunny Saturday
afternoon. Miami received the ball and promptly marched the
opening drive right down the field against the Seminole defense.
The Canes went seventy-four yards aided by a fourteen-yard
pass from Torretta to fullback Stephen McGuire, a thirty-yard
burst by McGuire, a key third down run by Torretta to get
a Miami first and goal and two crucial penalties against the
Seminoles. McGuire finally bulled it in the endzone from two
yards out to give Miami an early lead. In the game's opening
ten minutes, Florida State proved the team with more butterflies
by committing two personal fouls and two holding calls. Finally,
the Seminoles settled down. A beautiful fifty-one-yard strike
from Weldon to Amp Lee set Florida State with a first-and-goal
at Miami's one-yard line. It was the longest play against
Miami all season, but the Canes held strong and FSU settled
for a Gerry Thomas 25-yard field goal to get on the board.
Both teams went back and forth, missing opportunities. Miami
receivers dropped three nicely thrown bombs from Torretta,
while FSU was done in by their own mistakes. After the first
quarter, Miami led 7-3.
in the second, FSU's defense came up big, recovering a McGuire
fumble at the Cane's 24-yard line. After a Weldon dart to
Edgar Bennett got the Noles down to the five, the Miami defense
stiffened again. Finally, on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard
line, Seminole backup fullback Paul Moore plunged into the
end zone to give FSU their first lead of the game. It was
the first touchdown Miami's defense allowed in the opening
half of a game all season.
next ten minutes, turnovers plagued both teams. Miami drove
twice inside the Florida State 30, but were intercepted on
both occasions. FSU's Terrell Buckley and Marvin Jones making
the big plays. Miami's Charles Pharms answered the call as
he picked off a Weldon throw to give Miami the ball back.
Weldon got pressure on the play from All-American Rusty Medearis
who ended the game with two of Miami's five sacks. The Hurricanes
drove to the FSU nine-yard line before penalties pushed them
back and Carlos Herta had his 41-yard FGA blocked by Seminole
Sterling Palmer. At the half, FSU led Miami 10-7.
half began with Weldon getting the wind knocked out of him
by Miami linebacker Corwin Francis. Ever resilient, Weldon
returned to march the Seminoles fifty-eight yards in thirteen
plays. Three-straight Weldon completions (two to freshman
wideout Kez McCorvey) took the Noles down to the Miami nine-yard
line. The Miami defense stiffened again, however, and FSU
settled for a 31-yard field goal by Gerry Thomas to make the
in the quarter, FSU embarked on an eleven play, ninety-yard
drive that culminated early in the fourth quarter with another
Thomas field goal to make a 16-7 Nole lead. In the third quarter,
the Seminoles controlled yardage (159-38) and possession time
(10:04-4:56), but only outscored Miami 3-0. As Miami got the
ball back trailing by nine, the Hurricanes could only look
to themselves for their difficulties on offense. On their
past four possessions, Torretta had driven Miami inside the
FSU 35-yard line resulting in two interceptions, one punt
and a blocked field goal. It was do-or-die time for Miami.
by a 27-yard run by McGuire, the Canes drove forty-four yards
in ten plays. After a clutch 45-yard field goal by kicker
Carlos Huerta, Miami cut their deficit to six with just over
nine minutes remaining. Miami forced a Seminole punt and got
the ball back with seven minutes remaining. On a beautiful
22-yard completion from Torretta to an outstretched Coleman
Bell on second-and-sixteen, Miami moved to the FSU 41-yard
line. After some tough runs by McGuire, who ended with 142
rushing and 27 receiving, Miami drove inside FSU's twenty.
Facing a crucial fourth-and-six, Torretta found Horace Copeland
(his only catch of the day) for a Miami first-and-goal at
the three-yard line. Three plays later, backup fullback Larry
Jones dove in from a yard out to give Miami the lead 17-16
with only 3:01 showing on the clock. In the second half, Miami's
offense had three possessions covering thirty-one plays and
over 150 yards.
now Weldon's time to shine. Florida State stormed down the
field to the Miami 46-yard line. Facing a crucial fourth down,
Edgar Bennett pushed forward for the FSU first. After a pass
interference call on Miami's Ryan McNeil in the FSU end zone,
the Seminoles moved down to the Miami seventeen-yard line.
Facing a third and nine with 0:29 remaining and Casey Weldon
having lost his shoe, Bobby Bowden elected to try the winning
field goal. On came Thomas who was a perfect three-for-three
on the game.
snap is back, the ball is down, here we go
. It is
Wide to the right!!!!! Wide to the Right!!!!"
players are all over the field," said Keith Jackson.
" They're going to get penalized for it, but 'So what?'
I'm sure is their attitude. "
a game for the ages. The offenses got the bells and whistles
before the game, but the defenses controlled the action for
sixty minutes. Marvin Jones said it best before the game,
"It's just total pain and disregard for one's own personal
went on to finish 12-0 after pasting Nebraska, 22-0 in the
Orange Bowl. The Hurricanes split the national championship,
Miami's fourth in nine years, with the undefeated Washington
Huskies. Florida State ended 11-2, with a loss to interstate
rival Florida, 14-9. But most people agree that this game
between Miami and FSU was the national championship in 1991
and that the Seminoles were never quite the same team after
the disappointment of this game's wide right ending.