5 Best Season-Opening Victories
By Bob Thomas, Associate Sports Information Director
The top-ranked Seminoles prepare to open the 2014 season Saturday against a formidable Oklahoma State program that has amassed 41 wins over the last four seasons. With the benefit of hindsight (final records, rankings, etc.), here is a look back at Florida State’s five best season-opening triumphs.
1. No. 2 FSU 23, No. 15 Texas A&M 14 (1998)
The Seminoles made the trek to Giants Stadium for the Kickoff Classic in the debut start of 24-year-old sophomore QB Chris Weinke against a stout Aggies defense. Weinke connected with MVP Peter Warrick on the go-ahead TD pass, Sebastian Janikowski booted three field goals and the FSU defense held A&M to 166 total yards. The Aggies went on to win the Big 12 Championship and finish 11-3 with a No. 11 final ranking against the Seminoles (11-2), who lost to Tennessee in the first BCS National Championship game at the Fiesta Bowl.
2. No. 14 FSU 10, No. 9 Miami 7 (2005)
The Seminoles snapped a five-game losing streak against their rivals behind a defense that registered nine sacks, intercepted two passes and benefitted from two missed field goals and a botched third attempt in the waning minutes. Fullback James Coleman scored on a 1-yard run and Gary Cismesia kicked a field goal in the first quarter for all the points the ‘Noles would need. Miami would win its next eight games, finish 9-3 and No. 17 following a Peach Bowl loss to LSU. FSU would go on to win the inaugural ACC Championship game.
3. No. 4 FSU 41, Virginia 17 (1994)
Danny Kanell passed for 330 yards and four touchdowns in his debut as the full-time starter and the defending national champion Seminoles scored 20 second quarter points to run away from the Cavaliers at Doak Campbell Stadium. Kez McCorvey caught 11 passes for 107 and two TDs and Sam Cowart led the FSU defense with 13 tackles. Virginia would rebound to finish the season with a 9-3 record and a No. 15 final ranking after beating TCU in the Independence Bowl.
4. No. 1 FSU 44, No. 19 BYU 28 (1991)
FSU QB Casey Weldon out-dueled Ty Detmer, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, as the Seminoles prevailed in a Pigskin Classic shootout at Anaheim Stadium. Edgar Bennett scored three times and rushed for 98 yards while Weldon threw for 268 and two scores. FSU’s defense limited Detmer and the Cougars to 229 yards through the air. BYU recovered from three straight losses to open the year and finished 8-3-2 and No. 23 after tying Iowa in the Holiday Bowl.
5. No. 1 FSU 41, Louisiana Tech 7 (1999)
Peter Warrick’s breath-taking 20-yard touchdown run snapped an early 7-7 deadlock and quarterback Chris Weinke passed for 242 yards and a pair of TDs to freshman Anquan Boldin. The Seminoles began their wire-to-wire run to a national title by holding Louisiana Tech QB Tim Rattay in check, forcing three turnovers. The visiting Bulldogs would rebound to finish 8-3, highlighted by their shocking win over eventual SEC champion Alabama in Birmingham.