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1964: First AP Ranking - III

Steve Spurrier

Larry Dupree

Ray Graves

Coin toss before Florida's first game in Tallahassee

Wayne Giardino

Tom Shannon

Jack Shinholser

George D'Allesandro

Joe Avezzano
November 21, 1964 had been circled on the calendars of Seminole fans since the 1963 season ended.
  • The University of Florida had refused to play Florida State for 12 years after the former women's college started football in 1947.
  • When legislators pressured the Gators into playing their new rivals, UF insisted that all the games be played in Gainesville.
  • After six straight clashes at Florida Field, Florida was finally coming to Doak Campbell Stadium. FSU had managed just one tie in the series so far.

The Seminoles entered the fray 7-1-1 while Florida was 5-2. FSU could clinch a bowl bid with a victory while the Gators could keep their bowl hopes alive with two more games to play .

  • FSU and Florida ranked 4th and 5th respectively in total defense in the NCAA. In addition, the Gators stood at #1 in pass defense.
  • That set up an Irresistible Force vs. Immovable Object matchup because the primary weapon for the Seminoles was the Steve Tensi-to-Fred Biletnikoff aerial combo. Tensi ranked 4th nationally in passing with 110 completions in 182 attempts for 1491y and 13 TDs.
  • Freddie did Steve two notches better, ranking 2nd nationally with 55 receptions for 909y and 10 TDs.
  • The leader of the Gator offense, sophomore QB Steve Spurrier, was no slouch himself - 46-of-78 for 639y and 5 TDs. Larry Dupree, who scored the only TD in UF's 7-0 triumph the year before, complemented Spurrier's passing.
  • During the week, Florida players wore stickers on their helmets in practice reading "Never, FSU, Never." Inscriptions on the Gators' game jerseys said, "Go for Seven."
    A Gator fan even went so far as to send Peterson a wreath with a card that read, Give it to those Florida rejects in care of the Florida State dressing room.
  • The oddsmakers rated the game as virtually even. The Gators had the benefit of two weeks to prepare thanks to an open date.
  • Gator Bowl scouts would be watching both teams with interest.
    In actuality, bowl officials had told FSU that the invitation was theirs if they beat or tied Florida or even lost by fewer than 17 points. However, right before kickoff, Peterson learned that the Gator Bowl had apparently backed out of their original agreement. FSU had to win to earn the bid.

A packed house of 43,000 watched the action on a beautiful fall day.

  • The pregame atmosphere was electric.
  • "Don't let them know there is a Gator fan in the stadium!" Coach Peterson had yelled to FSU's student body during a pep rally.
  • Bill had been keeping a countdown on the locker room blackboard of the number of hours to the kickoff of the Florida game. "1" was erased just before the Seminoles took the field for the kickoff.
    When FSU students jeered the Gators as they took the field, a smiling Coach Ray Graves was heard to say, I think FSU is overemphasizing football.
    Florida cheerleaders prepared a yell. What color is FSU? The Gator section responded by waving hundreds of yellow sheets.

1st Quarter

  • Florida State sprang an unusual offensive formation, with Red Dawson shifting from E to FB. It was designed to disrupt the work of Florida's "monster" - a fifth DB who shaded to Biletnikoff's side. It seemed to confuse the Gators for a time.
    The visitors got the first break when Wayne Giardino fumbled, and Ron Purchell recovered on the 19. Tom Shannon started under C because of his experience despite the fact that he had lost his job to Spurrier earlier in the season. The senior handed the ball to HB Larry Dupree multiple times to put the ball on the 1. The next play set the tone for the day for the FSU defense. Just as the ball was snapped, MG Jack Shinholser slammed into C Bill Carr. As a result, the ball hit Shannon's thigh pad and fell behind him. George D'Allesandro fell on the ball on the 2 for the Noles. The FSU defense would bottle up Dupree the rest of the day, holding him to a paltry 20y.
    Recovering a fumble by Shannon was especially gratifying for FSU because, two years earlier, Tom had said on a TV show that he chose the Gators because FSU took Florida's rejects.
    Afterwards, Graves said the fumble was the key play. Shannon agreed. In my estimation, if we had scored then, it would have a different game.
    It was also fitting that D'Allesandro fell on the crucial bobble. He was the one who came up with the idea of calling the front of the FSU defense the "The Seven Magnificents" in 1963.
  • The Seminoles couldn't get of their territory the rest of the period. However, the Gators couldn't mount a drive either.

2nd Quarter

  • FSU finally got out of the hole when Howard Ehler recovered a Spurrier fumble at the FSU 45. On the first play, Tensi dropped back behind flawless protection and connected with Biletnikoff running free behind the secondary fpr a 55y TD. FSU 7 Florida 0 (10:57)
    A decoy most of the afternoon because of double coverage, Biletnikoff caught only one other pass.
    After punting three times in the first period, the Noles punted only once more in the entire game.
    Later in the period, Murdock missed a 34y FG.
    HALFTIME: FSU 7 Florida 0

3rd Quarter

  • The Gators began the half with another mistake. Marquis Baeszler fumbled the kickoff, and D'Alessandro was Johnny on the Spot again at the 34. FSU moved to the 15 before bogging down. So Murdoch booted a 24y FG. FSU 10 Florida 0 (10:37)
    When FSU again held the FSU 10 Florida 0, Tensi sailed one to Biletnikoff that might have been a 60y TD. All alone, Freddie caught the ball at the UF 37 but stumbled and fell out of bounds for a 23y gain. When the drive stalled, Murdoch missed a 54y try with 6:30 left.
    FSU's defensive line, led by Shinholser, continued to squelch Florida's running game, limiting the Gators to a net of 57y rushing.
    The Seminoles recovered four of Florida's five fumbles in the game and intercepted two passes. FSU had three turnovers - two fumbles and an INT.
    If Florida planned to put a concentrated rush on Tensi, as it had most other passers that season, execution verged on a total failure. Steve had ample time to throw on almost every attempt. He was dropped for a loss just once.
    Peterson recalled: The rumor got around that somebody was going to pay $5,000 to whatever Gator got Tensi out of the game. Well, we talked about that, and the importance of protecting the passer. And one of our guards, Joe Avezzano, got up and said, "Coach, Steve can wear a tuxedo if he wants - nobody is going to touch him."
    Late in the period, E Charley Casey got behind the FSU secondary but dropped the ball in stride to cancel a sure TD.
    END OF Q3: FSU 10 Florida 0

4th Quarter

  • Thanks primarily to an 18y completion to Floyd on the first play of the period and two slashing runs by Wayne Giardino for 22y, the Noles drove close enough for Murdock to boot a 34y FG. FSU 13 Florida 0 (12:03)
    The Gator offense finally got untracked and sustained a drive without committing a turnover. Spurrier found Casey for 10, then 14 to the FSU 47. Two plays later, Steve hit Jack Harper for 35y to the 6. On the next snap, Jack bulled into the EZ from there. FSU 13 Florida 7 (9:03)
    There seemed to be plenty of time left for the Gators to stop FSU and get the ball back, but Graves decided to try an onside kick. However, the move backfired. G Larry Williamson covered it for FSU on the Florida 48. Tensi promptly connected with Floyd for 26y. Four plays later, Murdock socked home a 40y FG. His three FGs for the game and nine for the season were both FSU records. FSU 16 Florida 7 (6:42)
    Seminole fans could finally relax a bit, still knowing that Spurrier wouldn't quit. But two INTs, by Winfred Bailey and Bill McDowell, stymied the Gators.
    Herman: They said Spurrier cried after that ball game.
    Red Dawson
    recalled: When I first went to Florida State, they had a sign in the cafeteria where we ate lunch. It was a big print that said, "This space reserved for the first team that defeats Florida." My freshman season, we beat the Florida freshmen. We demanded our picture be put up there, and it was. They found a bigger place for the first varsity team to defeat Florida, and we got that one, too.

Immediately after the game, Florida State accepted an invitation to the Gator Bowl, opponent to be determined.

Bill McGrotha started his article on the game in the next day's Tallahassee Democrat like this:
The girls' school did it! ... Oh, did it ever do it!

To be continued ...

Larry Williamson

Charley Casey

Howard Ehler

Winfred Bailey

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Seminole Sidelines Archives – I

Birth of the Seminoles
Dedication of Doak Campbell Stadium
Bear Was Fit to be Tied
Rock Bottom in Tallahassee
First Season
"Our team cheated ... and we still couldn't beat him."
First Bowl Game
Bobby Wouldn't Quit

Seminole Sidelines Archives – II

#1 Fan
1988 Fiesta Bowl
Are You Stupid?
Birth of the Sod Cemetery
Fred Biletnikoff
Birth of the Fast Break Offense
Memorable Game: LSU 1991
First Air Trip
First SEC Win
First Peach Bowl

Seminole Sidelines Archives – III

He Coulda Been a Star
When Johnny U Came to Tallahassee
Bobby's First Gator Win
"Most Memorable Month"
A Stand for the Ages
The "Dirty Jerseys" Game
27 Fumbles in One Game

Seminole Sidelines Archives – IV

Offside? OK, Do It Again.
Florida 1960
Two Backups Beat ASU
Profile: Ron Sellers
Colossal Upset - Almost
Losing Streak Finally Ends
First - Renegade Appears
"The Most Bizarre of His Victories"
Notre Dame Comeback #1
Notre Dame Comeback #2

Seminole Sidelines Archives – V

First Victory over Miami
Birth of "Huff the Magic Dragon"
Can Anybody Here Snap the Ball?
Same Foe, Same Score
A Big Win
First Win at Auburn
Bobby's Ties (I-IV)

Seminole Sidelines Archives – VI

#1 vs #2 Miami 1991
#1 vs #2 Notre Dame 1993
#1 vs #2 Nebraska 1994 Orange Bowl
#1 vs #2 Florida 1996
#1 vs #2 Tennessee 1998
#1 vs #2 Virginia Tech 1999
#1 vs #2 Oklahoma 2000

Seminole Sidelines Archives – VII

First Game against Florida
First Game at Michigan
Maybe the Video Wasn't Such a Good Idea
Live by the Rooskie, Die by the Rooskie
Profile: Jameis Winston

First Undefeated Season (I-IV)
"The Zaniest Game in Miami's History"
When Bowden Faced Saban

Seminole Sidelines Archives – VIII

Auburn Fires the Last Shot
Profile: Warrick Dunn - I, II, III, IV

Seminole Sidelines Archives – 1979 Bobby's First Undefeated Season

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