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 Florida State Bowl Games - 1950
"A better football team beat the hell out of us."
In 1905, the state of Florida reorganized its university system.
  • The school in Tallahassee was designated as the Florida State College for Women.
  • The Florida State College football team was transferred to the school in Gainesville

The end of World War II brought an influx of veterans applying for college under the GI Bill. The Florida legislature responded by making the school in Tallahassee coed and renaming it as Florida State University.

  • Football returned to the school beginning with the 1947 season.
  • The first FSU team went 0-5 under Coach Ed Williamson, a physical education instructor.

Don Veller took over the team for 1948.

  • He had been a star halfback at Indiana in the 1930s. After serving in World War II, he became an assistant at his alma mater while working on a doctorate.
  • Veller assembled a staff of assistants known as the "Hoosier Hot Shots" because all three of them were former IU players.

The Seminoles would compete in the newly formed Dixie Conference, whose bylaws stipulated that no school could give athletic scholarships.

  • The '48 team went 7-1, the loss coming in the second game at Erskine College in South Carolina.
  • FSU defeated four of the other five football-playing conference schools: Millsaps (7-6), Stetson (18-7), Mississippi College (26-6), and Tampa (33-12).

Veller's '49 FSU squad outdid the '48 aggregation by finishing 8-1.

  • They again won the Dixie Conference championship with victories over Mississippi College (33-12), Stetson (33-14), Millsaps (40-0), and Tampa (34-7). The one loss came out of conference against Livingston State (13-6). Overall, FSU outscored opponents 270-53.
  • The Noles ran what Veller called the "Cockeyed T," which was a combination of the T formation and the old single wing. With quick shifts, the backfield moved from one to the other.
  • The top ball carrier with 745y was FB Buddy Strauss, a 5'10" 190 lb senior from Tallahassee who had played at both North Carolina and Duke. Strauss was also a good passer along with junior LHB Dick Peterson from Chicago.
  • The secondary pilfered 23 passes, the chief culprit being LE/LB Ted Hewitt who nabbed six for 104y. QB Ralph Chaudron was next with four in that era of limited substitution rules that forced starters to play both ways.

The Seminoles earned an invitation to the Cigar Bowl in Tampa.

  • The bowl's name was inspired by Tampa's #1 industry, which had been a major factor in the city's growth at the turn of the 20th century.
  • The game was started in 1950 by the local Egypt Temple Shrine as a fundraising event.
  • The opponent for Florida State, a school with 6,000 students, would be Wofford, a private school with an enrollment of 600, from Spartanburg SC.

L-R: Don Veller, Buddy Strauss, Dick Peterson, Ted Hewitt

The Opponent

Wofford rode into Tampa on a 23-game streak without a loss, including 11 opponents in 1949.

  • With a number of World War II veterans like Florida State, the Terriers outscored opponents 353-67.
  • They scored 83 points in a win over High Point and beat a Howard team that featured future FSU coaching legend Bobby Bowden at QB/DB.
  • T Elby Hammett was named first-team Little All-America while C Harvey Moyer and G Vernon Quick made the third team and HB Sammy Sewell ("a quadruple threat") and QB Bob Prevatte were on the honorable mention list.
  • The team received enough votes in the Associated Press poll to rank 25th.
  • Like the Noles' lone conquerer, Livingston State, the Terriers were bigger than the Garnet and Gold warriors by an average of 12lbs per man.
  • Coach Phil Dickens used the single wing offense that emphasized double-team blocking.
  • The Terriers were favored by anywhere from 14 to 21 points.
    Wofford coach Phil Dickens may have hurt his team's chances of winning the Cigar Bowl on the bus trip to Tampa. On the afternoon of December 28, the team exited the busses at Waycross GA and practiced for several hours on a rock hard high school field. The team expected to go out and loosen up a bit. Instead, Dickens told them, "I got a goal-line defense I want us to work on." That started the toughest scrimmage the players had ever endured. Back Phil Clark injured his ankle and wasn't able to play in the bowl game. Backup C Jim Hudson also was lost with a broken hand. Most of the players were bruised, tired, or just beat up.
Florida State's Starting Lineup
Ted Hewitt LE 5-10 172 Junior Detroit MI
Dub Kendrick LT 6-0 180 Junior Center Hill
Jerry Morrical LG 5-9 180 Senior South Bend IN
Joe Marcus C 5-9 180 Senior Uniontown PA
Bill Dawkins RG 5-11 190 Sophomore Miami
Hugh Adams RT 6-0 205 Senior Punta Gorda
Chris Banakas RE 6-1 188 Senior Pensacola
Whitey Urquhart QB 6-1 182 Senior Bonifay
Dick Peterson LH 5-9 160 Senior Chicago IL
Red Parish RH 5-10 170 Junior Bonifay
Buddy Strauss FB 5-10 185 Junior Tallahassee

The game was played January 2 like the other bowls because New Year's Day was a Sunday. On a clear, warm day, the crowd of 14,000, biggest in the bowl's four-year history, included 3,000 "throaty South Carolinians," including Governor Strom Thurmond.

First Quarter

Wofford returned Chris Banakas's kickoff to the 33. But after two running plays gained only 3y, Sammy Sewell quick-kicked dead on the FSU 11. Bo Manuel punted back to the Terrier 46, but a double penalty nullified the play. That proved fateful. When Manuel tried to punt again, G Vernon Quick blocked it and recovered the ball in the end zone. Dennis Barbare's PAT kick sailed wide. Wofford 6 Florida State 0
No one would have predicted that the Terriers would not score another point.

Vernon Quick recovers the punt he blocked for Wofford's touchdown.
The Seminoles dominated play the rest of the period but couldn't get on the scoreboard.
Red Parish ran the kickoff back 14y to the 19. Dick Peterson got six, then 20 more to midfield. But FB Buddy Strauss twice failed to get the short yardage needed for a first down. The Terriers took over and immediately punted to the 17.
The Noles piled up three first downs, one on Strauss's 10y pass to Norman Eubanks and the others on the running of Ken MacLean and Parish. But the drive fizzled at the Wofford 47, and MacLean punted into the end zone.
The Terriers picked up their initial first down but no more. So Sewell kicked to Ralph Chaudron at the 21. The possession started promisingly when Strauss smashed up the middle for eight, and a Wofford lineman drew a 15y penalty for kicking Buddy. But the Terriers rose up and forced a punt into the end zone.
Wofford 6 Florida State 0

L-R: Ralph Chaudron, Red Parish, Ken MacLean, Bill Dawkins, Bo Manuel
Second Quarter

Stymied during the first period, the Terrier offense came to life. Fleet HB Bob Starnes swept right end behind fine blocking for 48y to the FSU 39 where T Dwight Osha ran him down from behind. Junior Harrison ripped off 23y around left end to the 16. But the FSU defense reversed the momentum at that point. Starnes was tackled as he tried to pass and foolishly threw the ball anyway. LB Bill Dawkins snagged the pigskin at the 25 and ran 55y to the 20.
The Seminoles got another break when Strauss's pass to Eubanks was deflected into the hands of Manuel on the nine. On 2nd-and-10, Strauss rammed to the five where he was shaken up and had to leave the game. Walter Foy gained just one at right tackle. So Parish went wide around left end and cut in for the score. Jerry Morrical's kick was blocked. Florida State 6 Wofford 6
Dan McClure shanked the kickoff to give Wofford possession at their 43. But the Terriers couldn't capitalize on the good field position because Strauss threw Starnes for a 12y loss to the 31. Chaudron returned the punt 10y to the 38.
The Noles gained three first downs to the 24 before Dean Cannon picked off Strauss's pass and returned it to the 36. But again the Seminole forward wall handled their bigger counterparts and forced a punt.
Starting from the 14, the Noles raced the clock. Strauss slashed for 15 through right tackle, and Whitey Urquhart rolled out on a bootleg play for 11y to the 39. Then another break - an interference penalty on a pass put the ball on the Wofford 40. After an incompletion, Parish took the ball on a reverse and lofted a high southpaw pass down the middle. E Norman Eubanks made a great diving catch between two defenders and fell down on the two with just ten seconds left. Strauss, "a one-man gang all afternoon," bulled over from there as the horn ended the first half. Morrical converted. Florida State 13 Wofford 6

Buddy Strauss (44) plunges over as the first half ends.

Third Quarter

The biggest threat either team mounted came midway through the period when the Seminoles roughed the kicker on a punt and were penalized to their 47. Starnes threw a pass to the 20. James Gordon and Eubanks went up for it, and the official awarded the pigskin to Wofford. Starnes threw to QB John Fleming for 5y. Then the Terrier tailback gained only two on two tries. On fourth down, Urquhart knocked down Starnes's pass in the end zone.
After an exchange of punts, the period ended with FSU in possession on their 42.
Florida State 13 Wofford 6

Fourth Quarter

Florida State got a break right away. First, Manuel boomed a punt 63y into the end zone. From the 20, TB Jimmy Brock fumbled a low pass from center, and Morrical recovered on the eight. Strauss gained two, then one. After Urquhart drove to the three, Parish tried a fourth down left end sweep but was stopped at the 1' line.
As was customary in those days, Sewell immediately kicked out of danger, Chaudron returning from his 48 to the 37.
FSU failed to make any headway, and Manuel dropped back to punt on fourth down hoping to pin the Terriers inside their 10. But his punt was partially blocked, and Sewell returned it 16y to the 34. Starnes caused consternation among the Seminole faithful when he almost broke into the clear before being tackled at the FSU 48. But the defense stiffened, and Sewell kicked out on the 25.
Hoping to use up most of the remaining time, Florida State got more than it bargained for. Strauss runs around a 13y pass from Urquhart to Parrish put the ball on Wofford's 45. Buddy kept banging away at the middle of the exhausted defense to move to the 10. When he was shaken up and replaced, the Seminole fans gave him a tremendous ovation. Parish lost two before Manuel scampered to the five with only a minute to play. The stands were chanting "We Want Strauss." So Coach Veller sent him back into the game. But the ball went to Parish on a reverse. He cut inside tackle and scored standing up with less than a minute remaining. Morrical's kick was blocked again.

The Seminoles finished with 22 first downs to just six for Wofford. FSU gained 309y and held the Terriers to 152, with just 27 coming in the second half.


Florida State

Coach Don Veller praised his team. "They saved their best game of the season for this Cigar Bowl contest, and I'm really happy and glad. The kids played the kind of ball we knew they were capable of showing here in Tampa. They scrapped from the start and were still in there scrapping at the end. It is really hard to believe. Wait just a minute until I catch my breath." He continued, "Pick out any individual stars? No, I'll say that every man in a Seminole uniform today was the star. Everyone played the best game possible, and we are happily proud of them all. The only thing I told them before the game was, 'You can't be licked if you don't want to be,' and they played that type of ball game.
On the opponent: "Coach Phil Dickens has a nice ball club, and they are well coached. They played a good scrapping game, and I'm sorry their winning streak had to end, but I'm certainly tickled over our win."


Coach Phil Dickens: "A better football team beat the hell out of us. They just had a better ball club and gave us a sound thrashing. We had a couple of bad breaks on passes, but that wasn't the reason we lost. They just had a better team. I was hoping they wouldn't score in that last quarter to keep it from looking too bad. The people have treated us wonderfully down here. Our boys had a wonderful time - maybe too good a time from the looks of the score."

E Earl Hoffmeister recalled, "You hate to second-guess your coach, but we played the bowl game in Waycross. We had better personnel and coaches, but I guess they were just hungrier."