Seminoles Sidelines - VIII
Auburn Fires the Last Shot


Pat Dye


Pat Washington


Brent Fullwood scores the game's first TD.


Derek Schmidt


Eric Thomas


Louis Berry


Lenny Chavers


Pete Panton


Collis Campbell


Brent Fullwood


Jessie Hester


Darrin Holloman


Hassan Jones


Kyle Collins


Jeff Parks

"Offensive Showcase," "Shootout," "Fireworks Show."
  • These were terms headline writers and reporters used to describe Florida State's clash with Auburn Saturday night, October 13, 1984.
  • Tigers coach Pat Dye labeled it "unbelievable" and "unexpected."
  • Birmingham News writer Charles Hollis called it "the best tennis match in town." You score, I score, you score, I score. And, for the team with the last serve, it was game, set, match.

Two Deep South football teams proud of their defenses combined to score 83 points.

  • 58,671, the largest crowd ever to watch a game in Doak Campbell Stadium, saw 1,063y of offense.
  • The lead changed hands three times in the last 11 minutes.

The Seminoles came into the game undefeated.

  • After rising to #6 in the AP poll with five wins to start the season, FSU dropped to 9th after a 17-17 tie at Memphis State in a game in which the Noles may have been looking past those Tigers toward the next set of Tigers to come to town.
  • Auburn started the season ranked #1 but dropped fast after losing their first two games, 20-18 to defending national champion Miami and 35-27 to Texas. But victories over Southern Miss, Tennessee, and Ole Miss moved the Plainsmen up to #16.
  • In his 1992 autobiography, Dye wrote this: Tallahassee is the toughest place we've been to play. The noise is unbelievable. And you are going to be up against a great team and a great coach.
  • Dye would be without RB Bo Jackson - out for the season following shoulder surgery.
  • Bowden: Auburn is as good as any team in the country. Despite losing Jackson, I think they have adjusted well and are back in the race.

The visitors started the scoring.

  • Q1: Auburn's junior QB Pat Washington, a day after his 21st birthday, picked up a bobbled snap and threw 51y to Freddie Weygand on the Tigers' second play from scrimmage. That placed the ball on the 3. The Nole D made it difficult, but Brent Fullwood leaped into the EZ from the 1 three plays later. Auburn 7 FSU 0 (13:01 left in Q1).

    Freddie Weygand rejoices after catching one over Eric Riley.
    The Seminoles responded with a drive capped by Derek Schmidt's 40y FG. Auburn 7 FSU 3 (7:59)
    Auburn LB Jim Bone recovered Greg Allen's fumble at the Noles' 39 to set up a 36y FG by Robert McGinty. Auburn 10 FSU 3 (2:41)

  • Q2: The Tiger D stopped a potential scoring drive by sacking QB Eric Thomas twice for losses totaling 15y after the Noles had moved to the Auburn 25. Instead of getting points, FSU punted on 4th down from the 40. Louis Berry hit a good one that rolled out on the 6.
    That indirectly led to a TD. Lenny Chavers blocked Lewis Colbert's punt. The ball rolled out of bounds at the 3.
    The Noles scored two plays later on a 7y pass from Thomas to Pete Panton. Auburn 10 FSU 10 (9:24)
    But the tie didn't last long. Following the kickoff, Collis Campbell took a pitchout around the right side, slowed to let the blocking develop, then bolted down the sidelines for a 69y TD. Four Noles got a hand on him but hardly slowed him. McGinty missed the extra point, his first miss of the season after 13 in a row. Auburn 16 FSU 10 (9:04)
    Florida State tried a dipsy-do on the kickoff, but a long run was called back because of an illegal forward pass. That put them in a hole from which they didn't escape. Soon after, Trey Gainous returned Berry's punt 7y to the FSU 39.
    From there, the Tigers rolled into the EZ in seven plays. Washington's passes sparked the drive, and Fullwood did the honors on a 5y run. A pass for the two-point conversion failed. Auburn 22 FSU 10 (5:43)
    The Noles came right back with a 73y TD bomb from Thomas to Jessie Hestor, who had beaten the secondary and was racing in the clear when he caught the perfect throw. Auburn 22 FSU 17 (5:03)
    Shortly before halftime, FSU tried a 57y FG that was blocked.
    Total offense for the first half: FSU 242 Auburn 240

The second half started with a bang.

  • Q3: Fullwood took the kickoff at the goal line and roared out to the 25 where he was hit by two Seminoles and fumbled forward. Three Garnet-shirted defenders and two white-shirted War Eagles converged on the ball but succeeded only in popping it up to Auburn's Ed Graham who ran 60y untouched to the EZ. Auburn 29 FSU 17 (14:43)
    FSU embarked on a 66y drive that culminated in a 10y run by Darrin Holloman on a reverse. Auburn 29 FSU 24 (11:22)
    Later in the period, Thomas passed 13y to Hassan Jones to put the Seminoles ahead for the first time all evening. A pass from Thomas to Jones added two points. FSU 32 Auburn 29 (5:51)
    Coach Dye cost his team a chance for at least three points. After completing a long pass to Weygand to the FSU 18, Washington ran into the EZ, but the War Eagles were nailed for clipping. When Dye argued the call, the officials flagged him not once but twice for unsportsmanlike conduct.
    Dye in his autobiography: We used a split officiating crew, half SEC, half All-South independents ... There were always problems between the two crews. ... Anyway, the score is raging back and forth and, finally, we get in the third quarter. They run a reverse. The Florida State QB clips our defensive end. The official on our sideline was standing right on top of the play. And I'm close enough to talk to him. He said he saw the hit was a clip, but it wasn't his call to make. It was the referee's. And the referee - both these two officials were Independent officials - the referee said it was a clean block. I mean the QB hit our end, dead center, right in the back. They scored, and they went ahead.
    So we took the ball, and we came right back down the field and scored. But the last 12 yards, Pat Washington ran a bootleg, or waggle, where we fake one way and pull both guards the other way, and Pat got outside. The strong safety came up and played the run, and our guard actually hit him right in the numbers on his chest, knocking him out of bounds; as he fell, the kid turned his back and might have ended up being pushed from behind.
    Now the same official who wouldn't call clipping on the other side of the ball, throws his flag: 15 yards. No touchdown.
    I'm trying to get this official to explain to me why he could call clipping on our run and couldn't call it on Florida State's run. I get a 15-yard penalty. Well, that's 15 yards for the clip, and 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct on me. I'm still trying to get him to explain, and he calls the referee over there, and I'm trying to get
    him to explain, and he drops his flag, so that's another 15 yards. I look up at the scoreboard, and it reads: first down and 55 yards to go. I turned to (offensive coordinator) Jack Crowe, and I said: "You got a good first-and-55 call?"
    The Tigers' possession ended with a punt from their own 41.
  • Q4: Early in the quarter, Florida State extended its lead on a 34y FG by Schmidt. FSU 35 Auburn 29 (13:43)
    The Tigers put together a 77y, nine-play drive to go ahead again. Kyle Collins ran the final 10y around LE, diving at the pylon. Auburn 36 FSU 35 (
    10:47)
    Undaunted, the Seminoles responded with a 76y march of their own in eight plays. A 15y pass from Thomas to Jones regained the lead. Bowden ordered a two-point conversion, a move that proved costly when Thomas was sacked. FSU 41 Auburn 36 (7:44)
    The defenses finally restored some order to the proceedings, each side forcing a punt.
    Finally, Auburn took over at its 24 with 3:20 remaining. Washington completed clutch passes for a total of 53y to Weygand to the 29 and TE Jeff Parks to the 13. In between, Pat ran 6y on a bootleg on 4th-and-3 from the 30 to keep the drive alive. Fullwood then got loose around RE from the 13 to the 5. From there, Brent took a quick pitch and, finding no room at RT, broke it outside and, with two Seminoles converging, hurled his body at the flag. An errant pass kept Auburn one-point up. Auburn 42 FSU 41 (0:48)
    Dye: The Independent officials made one too many rulings, and it ... might have cost FSU the game. We got the ball, behind, with two minutes to go. ... We completed a 35-yard pass, but the officials didn't stop the clock while they moved the chains, the way they are supposed to. I called the referee over. I said, "You need to put about 10 or 12 seconds back on the clock." I was wanting all the time we could have to get the ball in the end zone. The referee shook his head; he wouldn't do it ... We scored with 48 seconds left to play.
    We kicked off. Gerald Robinson sacked their quarterback, Eric Thomas, two times for minus 27 yards. ... And the last play of the game, he completed a long pass to about our 25 or 30 yard lne. It put them in field goal range, and they were only one point behind, 42-41. But they had
    no time left. If the referee had put those 12 seconds back on the clock in the last two minutes, like he was supposed to, FSU might have beaten us.
    I don't know if I could live through another game like it.

Postgame

Florida State

  • Bowden recalled the previous year's 27-24 loss. This was a tough loss to take. We had our chances, but I'll tell you, this Auburn football team never quit. Just like last year, they just came back and snatched that victory. It was not a broken play this year or broken coverages, they just did it. ... I hated to lose this game, especially for our kids. They played their everlasting hearts out.
    Bowden three years later: The thing I remember most about that game was their quarterback had not been an effective passer anytime before. But he was against us. On the first play he threw that ball way downfield and we had perfect position, but Freddy Weygand took the ball away from our guy ... I had felt we would beat Auburn in Tallahassee.

Auburn

  • Dye: This game was unbelievable. We've never ever been in one like this one. Florida State's probably used to these ... we're not. I didn't expect it at all ... Lord, have mercy. This was the all-timer. ... This game tonight, considering how our players fought back, may be as satisfying as any game I've ever been associated with. I don't know enough words to describe how happy I am for this football team. I saw this team come up with big play after big play in the second half to win this game.
    Dye recalled: Collis Campbell played the game of his life at halfback. And Pat Washington played good, I mean, good. You got to picture it down there at night: the crowd's on top of you in that steel stadium. A wild Indian, painted all over, rares up on a horse and throws a flaming spear in the ground. Drums are beatin'. That damn chant is goin' in the stands. They got a huge flaming feather on the scoreboard that measures the noise level, and it's lit up like a world war. Now all you go to do is go out there and whip one of the best football teams in America.
  • Fullwood on the game winner: That's probably the biggest touchdown I've ever scored in my life. This is the greatest feeling in the world. We beat a damn good football team tonight. But then we're a damn good football team too.
  • Washington completed only 8 of 23 passes but for 199y without an INT. We really needed it bad on that last drive. We united as an offense, and there was no way they were going to stop us.

Watch Auburn highlights of the game


Auburn fans celebrate victory.
References: In the Arena, Pat Dye with John Logue (1992)
Seminoles!: The First Forty Years, Bill McGrotha
Where Tradition Began: The Centennial History of Auburn Football, Wayne Hester (1991)
Profile: Warrick Dunn - I
Future Seminole RB Warrick Dunn was born in New Orleans in 1975 but grew up in Baton Rouge from infancy.
  • He was the oldest child of Betty Smothers, who would have six children by three different fathers, none of whom were involved in the rearing of the children.
  • Warrick wrote in his autobiography, Mom met the man who would become my father while running track at Scotlandville (High School). Apparently he was also an incredible athlete ... Mom was just eighteen when she had me, and obviously that put an end to her athletic career.
  • He also recalled his mother's dedication to her family. It wasn't uncommon for my mother ... to work fourteen- to sixteen-hour days. As a Baton Rouge police officer, Mom often took on off-hours security work at department stores, convenience stores, and football games to make ends meet ...
  • As the oldest child, Warrick took on much of the responsibility of looking after his siblings while his mother worked long hours.
  • Because he was the "man of the house," Warrick became his mother's best friend and vice-versa.

Warrick showed exceptional athletic ability from an early age.

  • Whether it was foot races, bicycle races, baseball, football, or basketball, Dunn excelled.
  • His career in organized football started at age nine. His coach didn't want to give Warrick a uniform because he thought he was too small. Naturally, I was the smallest player on the football field and weighed all of fifty pounds soaking wet ...This marked the first time in a journey that has continued until today, where I had to prove myself because of my size.
  • Size was no problem with the K-Y Track Club at Southern University.
  • Warrick attended various public and private schools in Baton Rouge through eighth grade.

Dunn's life changed dramatically when he moved to Catholic High School as a freshman in 1989.

  • I was zoned for Istrouma Senior High School, but the best education and best athletic teams were at Catholic High. It was an easy decision for Mom. She wanted me to be a Catholic High School Bear.
  • But attending CHS brought a culture shock - dress code, nightly homework, requirements for community service, a yearly retreat.
  • The yearly tuition was just under $6,000, which my mom couldn't afford, but she paid as much as she could when she could.
  • It took him some time to adjust academically. To be eligible to play sports, each student needed at least a C average. My average hovered around a D, if not below, my first nine weeks as a freshman. Now, D wasn't for dummy in my case. D was for doggone lazy with a capital D.
  • He started at QB for the JV team and the team was undefeated until Dunn was ruled ineligible for the final few football games because of poor grades. Also, he didn't run track that spring.
  • Betty challenged her son: Was he going to show everyone at Catholic High that he could make good grades or did he want to return to public school and save her the tuition money?
  • Warrick buckled down and slowly dug himself out of trouble. By the end of his freshman year, he had pulled his GPA up to 2.4.

Warrick played varsity football for three years starting in tenth grade.

  • As a sophomore, he was beaten out for the TB position by his good friend Kevin Franklin.
  • Warrick: I admit that didn't sit too well with me. I was a jack-of-all-trades my sophomore and junior years and played primarily QB my senior year. Coach (Dale) Weiner wanted my versatility at QB because we ran the option offense ... I didn't have a great arm, but I guess I had enough overall talent to make the offense work and throw the football when I needed to. But I wasn't a happy camper. My first love was to play at tailback ...
  • Dunn started at CB his junior year before switching to QB as a senior. He also put in time at FB and receiver and even returned kicks his final year.
  • The Bears reached the 1990 Class 4A state championship game but were clobbered by Ruston High 52-10 in the Superdome. Warrick ended the year with 1,541 rushing yards on 155 carries and 21 TDs. He also passed for 701y and four TDs. He averaged 27.7y per kickoff return and had 27 tackles and three INTs on defense. He made All-State in the highest classification (5A). He also earned a Honorable Mention All-USA by USA Today. However, Kevin was named to the first Parade All-American team.
  • He also helped CHS win state track titles his sophomore year (indoor and outdoor) and senior year (outdoor). Legendary coach Pete Boudreaux used Warrick for the lead leg on the 4 x 100 relay team that set a school record. Individually, he finished third in state as a junior with a 10.5 in the 100m and second in the 55 m indoor (6.40).

Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming rated Dunn the ninth-best TB and the third-best "athlete" in the nation.

  • Plenty of college coaches visited the school to recruit Kevin and Warrick. That number included LSU, Texas, Alabama, Florida State, Southern Cal, and Tennessee.
  • He and his mother planned his recruiting visits to determine where he would fulfill his childhood dream. They scheduled a drive to Tuscaloosa for the first Saturday in the new year.

But a catastrophe January 7, 1993, two days after Warrick's 18th birthday, changed his life forever.

  • 36-year-old Betty Smothers, acting as an off-duty officer escorting a businesswoman to a bank to make a night deposit, was killed by three armed robbers. Suddenly, Warrick became the head of his family.
  • He told a family friend, Greg Brown, that I planned to stay home and take care of my family, that college football was no longer an option. Greg told me my mother wouldn't be happy with that decision.
  • The Catholic High community rallied around him. Coach Weiner was struck by Warrick's maturity. He called it remarkable, saying he would have though I was a forty-five-year-old man in charge. I was businesslike, absorbed in the details that needed to be done for our family.
  • Pete Boudreaux encouraged Warrick to go to college and play football. Betty's mother would look after his sisters and brothers.

Dunn decided to continue with the plan he and his mother had crafted.

  • Greg Brown accompanied him on his official visit to Florida State two weeks after Betty's death.
  • I had a genuine connection with Coach Bowden when we met in his office, and I immediately knew I wanted to be a Seminole. Coach said he would try to take care of me, and I believed him. I also knew Mom wanted me to be a Seminole, too. There were many people who believed I needed to stay at home and attend Louisiana State, and I admit the thought crossesd my mind, too. But as I sat in Coach Bowden's office and looked around, I knew. FSU felt like the perfect fit.
  • On National Signing Day, less than a month after his mother's murder, Dunn became part of Florida State's recruiting class that was voted #1 in the country.
  • Warrick was criticized by some in Louisiana who said he owed the community for the help and support it showed following his mother's death. The implication was that he should have taken LSU's offer as Kevin Franklin did.

To be continued ...

References: Running for My Life: My Journey in the Game of Football and Beyond, Warrick Dunn and Don Yaeger (2008)

Young Warrick Dunn


Betty Smothers and her son,
Warrick Dunn


Dunn at Catholic High


Dale Weiner


Pete Boudreaux


Warrick's grandmother


Kevin Franklin