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 Florida State Bowl Games - 1903
At least it was a "clean game."
Florida State University began in 1857 as "West Florida Seminary" in Tallahassee.
  • It was founded to be primarily a teacher-training school.
  • In 1885, the state legislature changed the name to "The University of Florida," but West Florida Seminary officials ignored the name, never officially using it or adopting it.
  • In 1901, West Florida Seminary became Florida State College.
  • Two years later, the Legislature transferred "The University of Florida" name that nobody in Tallahassee wanted to the state's agricultural college at Lake City.

Florida State College's first football game occurred on November 21, 1902.

  • W. W. Hughes, a Latin professor at FSC who had played at Vanderbilt, volunteered to coach the team. His captain was quarterback (signal-caller) A. B. Clark.
  • The squad from South Georgia Military in Bainbridge came to Tallahassee amid rumors that their roster included numerous ringers who had played for the Georgia Bulldogs.
  • Florida State scored the only touchdown, which was worth five points at that time, to gain the 5-0 victory over the "much heavier" Giants.

1902 Florida State College football team. The jerseys and pants were gold with a purple F.
Florida State played two more games that year, both against Florida Agricultural College and both ending in 6-0 scores. Each team won one of the contests, the first of which was played in Tallahassee in wind and rain and the second at the Lake City State Fair.
  • In the first game, the visitors from Lake City scored near the end of the first half but missed the extra point to take a 5-0 lead. Midway through the second half, the Aggies became increasingly upset with the officiating. First, one of their players was disqualified for slugging an FSC opponent. When FSC drove to the FAC 16, Clark "called his off-side trick play" that caused FAC to jump offside. The visitors protested the penalty to no avail. So they "held a caucus" and decided to "leave the field." The officials asked the FAC players to continue the game. When they refused to do so, the referee awarded the game to FSC by forfeit, 6-0.
  • No such dramatics marred the second game, which FAC dominated. The 6-0 final score didn't reflect the degree to which the home team controlled the action.
FSC played six games in 1903.
  • The season started with a home-and-home pair of games with the Bainbridge Giants. Florida State won 22-0 at home and 5-0 in Bainbridge. The second game was marked by controversy. Coach Hughes officiated the game, and the Giants protested several of his calls and demanded that he step down. Instead of attending the prearranged dance, Florida State left immediately after the game. Hughes never scheduled Bainbridge again.
  • East Florida Seminary in Gainesville beat FSC 16-0 in Tallahassee on Halloween Day before "a large crowd."
  • The next game, against Georgia Tech at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, resulted in a 17-0 defeat. The contest marked the first time any Florida school had played a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
  • Florida State hosted the University of Florida (an amalgamation of East Florida Seminary and the school at Lake City) on Friday the 13th of November. FSC planned on playing former Clemson star Jack "Pee Wee" Forsythe at halfback, but the visitors found out and threatened to leave if the ringer played. FSC captain A. B. Clark said his team wouldn't use Forsythe if Florida did not play its physical education director. The teams agreed and the game was played, FSC winning 12-0.

1903 Florida State College football team
The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville sponsored a post-season game pitting the two best teams in the state in a contest for the Championship Cup on Thanksgiving Day in DeLand FL.
  • The Times-Union chose Florida State and Stetson University because both had defeated Florida.
  • In a "clean game," Stetson kicked off and stopped FSC on downs. The Hatters then drove for a touchdown "made by a series of line bucks." The extra point failed, leaving the score at 5-0.
  • Stetson continued to stifle FSC until the last ten minutes of the game. "Tallahassee, by a series of line plays, claimed by Stetson to be illegal, using four men massed back of the line, made a touchdown, but failed to kick goal."
  • The game ended in a 5-5 tie.