Florida State Bowl Games
1966 Sun Bowl vs Wyoming
229 to -21 Rushing Gets You Beat
After a 4-5-1 season in 1965, the Seminoles went 6-4 in '66 to earn a spot in the Sun Bowl in El Paso TX.
One of the reasons for the turnaround was sophomore WR Ron Sellers, who came as a freshman in '65 as the heir apparent to the spot played superbly by Fred Biletnikoff. Stringbean Sellers, 6'4" 190lb, presented a different image from the chunkier Biletnikoff, 6'1" 180lb.
Coach Bill Peterson got Sellers indirectly while recruiting QB Gary Pajcic, Seller's teammate at Jacksonville's Paxon High. Bob Harbison was the assistant coach assigned to rein in Pajcic. A former FSU running back told Harbison, "I believe if you take this guy Sellers, you can get Pajcic." The problem was that Harbison wasn't impressed with the skinny Sellers. "What he looks like to me is Abraham Lincoln," said Harbison. Peterson concurred. "Can't play, too fragile."
Eventually, Harbison called Peterson and told him if he didn't sign Sellers, FSU would get nobody they wanted in Jacksonville. So Peterson told Harbison to sign Sellers. Sure enough, Pajcic came with Sellers to FSU.
Florida State's 1966 Season
As a sophomore in 1966, Pajcic made Honorable Mention on the Associated Press All-American team by completing 125 of 233 passes for 1,590y.
Sellers tied for 16th in the nation in receptions with 55 but was sixth in receiving yards with 874.
The Seminoles finished the season with six wins and four losses. One of the wins was over in-state rival Miami 23-20 in Week 2 when Pajcic came off the bench to throw a 27y TD pass to Sellers that tied the game at seven. In the fourth quarter, Pajcic connected with Thurston Taylor to put FSU ahead for good 23-20.
The following week saw Florida come to Tallahassee for the first time and handed FSU a controversial 22-19 defeat.
Double-digit November wins over South Carolina (32-10), Wake Forest (28-0) and Maryland (45-21) earned the Seminoles their second invitation to the Sun Bowl in El Paso TX.
The invitation resulted from a letter that Tallahassee sportswriter Bill McGrotha and FSU sports information director Lonnie Burt wrote to the Sun Bowl's executive director before the final game against Maryland. The FSU coaching staff was startled when the invitation arrived in Tallahassee.

Coach Peterson (second from right) and C John Stephens welcomed to El Paso.
The Opponent
The Western Athletic Conference champion Wyoming Cowboys finished 9-1 with victories over Air Force, Arizona State, and Arizona.
Fifth-year coach Lloyd Eaton's squad was led by all-WAC junior 210lb RB Jim Kiick, who had rushed for 1,131y in two seasons.
Kiick would star with Larry Csonka in the backfield for the 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins. Coincidentally, the Seminoles had played against Csonka earlier in the season at Syracuse.
The Wyoming defense had allowed only 385y rushing the entire season to lead the nation.
Coach Peterson predicted it would take four touchdowns to win the 32nd Sun Bowl game on Christmas Eve. His prediction would be on target. Unfortunately, it would be Wyoming that scored four touchdowns.

1st Quarter
On a breezy day with a high temperature of 44, Wyoming drew first blood before a crowd of 24,381.
The touchdown was set up by a 32y punt return by Vic Washington to the FSU 31, where senior FB Jim Mankins, the last Seminole in his path, tackled him. QB Rick Egloff immediately hit Washington for 21y to the 10. Then Egloff tossed to FB Mike Davenport for nine more. Kiick leaped over from the one. Wyoming 7 Florida State 0 (4:43)
The stifling Cowboy defense held FSU without a first down in the opening period.

2nd Quarter
Wyoming threatened to extend their lead but K Jerry DePoyster missed a 25y field goal.
The Seminoles did not penetrate Wyoming territory until seven minutes had elapsed in the second quarter, and then it was because of a turnover.
Washington fumbled a punt, and HB Bill Moremen recovered for FSU on the Cowboy 49. On the first snap, QB Kim Hammond, in for ineffective Gary Pajcic, fired a pass to Sellers, who caught the ball on the nine, just out of the grasp of Washington, and trotted across the goal line. Frank Loner's PAT tied the score. Wyoming 7 Florida State 7 (5:21)
In the last minutes of the half, the Seminoles took the lead when junior E T.K. Wetherell (future Florida State President) took a short sideline pass from Hammond and turned it into a spectacular 59y touchdown. Florida State 14 Wyoming 7 (1:39)
FSU almost had another touchdown, but DB Walt Sumner dropped what looked like an easy interception with an open field in front of him.
Wyoming continued to the FSU 14. That's when Sumner made up for his dropped interception by streaking across the end zone and batting down an Egloff pass to an open receiver.
After two more incompletions, the Cowboys lined up for a field goal. But the holder raised up and threw an off-target pass.
Halftime score: Florida State 14 Wyoming 7

3rd Quarter
Wyoming matched FSU's 14-0 second quarter edge with a 14-0 third quarter advantage. The Cowboys took the second half kickoff and drove 74y in four plays to tie the game.
After Kiick gained eight, Egloff swept to the FSU 47. Kiick smashed for another eight before Egloff threw to Jerry Marion, who raced untouched for the 39y touchdown. DePoyster's PAT knotted the score at 14.
The Seminoles' possession didn't start well. Moremen took a pitch intending to throw a halfback pass, but a heavy rush dropped him for a 14y loss to the six. Two plays later, John Hosack got off a nice punt to the FSU 48.
Two plays later, Wyoming took the lead when Kiick broke through a gaping hole in the right side of the FSU line and tore 43y to the end zone. Wyoming 21 Florida State 14
After an exchange of punts, FSU's offense went backwards. First, Pajcic was sacked for a 11y loss. Then he pitched to Mankins who tried to hand off to Wetherell for a reverse. But the exchange resulted in a fumble that Wetherell tried to run with only to lose 18y to the four. So Hosack punted weakly from the end zone, the ball traveling only 21y to the 25.
But the Cowboys couldn't take advantage. They made one first down before bogging down, and DePoyster missed a 25y field goal.
Florida State got a big break when Kiick fumbled a handoff, and MG Larry Pendleton fell on the ball at the Wyoming 24.
Moremen gained five, then seven for a first down at the 24. Mankins gained two more to end the period.
Wyoming 21 Florida State 14

L-R: Walt Sumner, Larry Pendleton, Bill Cox, Larry Green

4th Quarter
The Cowboys thwarted FSU again. After Moremen lost five, LB Bob Aylward intercepted Hammond's pass to end the threat.
Wyoming drove to the FSU 31 before DePoyster missed a field goal.
Pajcic came back in at quarterback. He hit Sellers for 12 and Bill Cox for eight. Mankins then took a draw play handoff to FSU's 47.
On third down, Pajcic threw to Sellers, who fumbled the ball when tackled. The ball rolled 20y to the five where E Chip Glass recovered for a 48y gain to give the Seminoles an excellent chance to tie the score.
But the Cowboys would have none of it. Larry Green gained 2y to the three, but Moremen was thrown for a 3y loss on a sweep. Two passes misfired, and Wyoming took over on downs.
DePoyster got the Cowboys out of a hole by booming a punt 46y to the FSU 49. The pass rush pushed the Noles back to their 34 after three plays. So Hosack punted to the Wyoming 26.
The Cowboys moved from there to the clinching touchdown. Kiick's 45y run and two 15y penalties on the defense moved the ball quickly to the FSU 30. After a sweep gained 18, another penalty put the ball at the seven. But a holding penalty moved Wyoming back to the 18.
Then came one of the most frustrating plays of the afternoon. On fourth down at the four, Egloff, finding no receiver open, decided to run and sailed into the end zone untouched. Wyoming 28 Florida State 14 (2:42)
Hammond then led the Seminoles on a desperation drive. He completed two passes to Sellers, one to Wetherell, and then one to Thurston Taylor for a gain of 29 to the 22. On the next snap, Kim found Sellers down the sideline for a touchdown. FSU went for two, but Hammond's pass to Mankins fell incomplete. Wyoming 28 Florida State 20 (1:09)
Wyoming recovered the onside kick and ran out of the clock.

L-R: Bill Moremen, Kim Hammond, T.K. Wetherell, Chip Glass

To no one's surprise, the MVP Award went to Kiick who called it "the best Christmas present I've ever had." He scored two touchdowns, rushed for 135y on 25 carries, and caught four passes for 42y.
The astounding rushing statistics summarized the game:
Wyoming 229, Florida State -21 (a Sun Bowl low)
Peterson cited Wyoming's two quick touchdowns in the third quarter as the turning point.
Coach Eaton said, "I felt we had to play good ball in the second half defensively. Florida State has tremendous receivers, and that sophomore team will be heard from many times."

Ron Sellers

Gary Pajcic

Bob Harbison

Thurston Taylor

Jim Kiick

Lloyd Eaton

Jim Mankins

Rick Egloff

Jerry DePoyster

John Hosack