Florida State Bowl Games
1967 Gator Bowl vs Penn State
A Tale of Two Halves
Senior QB Kim Hammond had been redshirted his first year at Florida State. Then he threw only six passes his sophomore year behind starter Ed Pritchard as FSU finished 4-5-1.
Hammond played more his junior year, completing 54 of 104 as backup to Gary Pajcic. Hammond finally got his chance in the Sun Bowl when he took over from an ineffective Pajcic in the second quarter and threw three touchdown passes in the 28-20 defeat.
Coach Bill Peterson recalled, "Hammond told me, 'Coach, I'm wasting my time here.' And I told him he could do one of two things. He could quit or he could be ready. He was ready."
Even with Pajcic back for his senior season, Peterson installed Hammond as his quarterback for 1967.
Florida State's 1967 Season
The Seminoles got off to a disappointing start when the Houston Cougars trounced them 33-13 in the Astrodome.
But it's amazing what another week of practice can do. The next Saturday FSU traveled to Birmingham and tied #2 Alabama 37-37. Footage of the game shows Bear Bryant on the sideline doing a great Vince Lombardi imitation: "What the hell is going on out there?"
Undefeated in 21 straight games, the Crimson Tide gave up as many points in that one game as they did during the entire 1966 regular season.
Peterson feared a letdown the following week. "Unless we forget about Alabama, and quickly, we stand to get beat on our own field." His fears were well-founded as North Carolina State won 20-10.
Little did anyone know that the 0-2-1 Seminoles would not lose another game.
The streak started with a 19-18 victory over Texas A&M on a rainy night in Col­lege Station. The rain let up the second half, and FSU opened up its passing game to pull out the 19-18 victory when a late fumble recovery led to Bill Moreman's 27y touchdown run.
Next came three straight home games.
With Hammond hobbled by a knee injury, the Noles shut out South Carolina 17-0.
Texas Tech fell 28-12, followed by a 24-12 victory over Mississippi State.
After a 26-7 road win over Memphis State, the Seminoles defeated visiting Vir­ginia Tech 38-15 with Coach Peterson at home with a leg problem.
That cleared the decks for the annual finale against Florida (6-2) in Gainesville. A Gator Bowl berth against Penn State awaited the winner.
The Seminoles had beaten the Gators just once since the series started in 1958 after the legislature ordered Florida to schedule FSU.
With FSU nursing a 14-9 lead and backed up to its own eight early in the fourth quarter, Hammond trotted back onto the field. He had been knocked dizzy in the second quarter and stayed on the bench until Peterson summoned him in the tight situation.
On the first snap, Hammond launched a bomb that WR Ron Sellers caught for a 51y gain. Two plays later, he fired to Sellers in the end zone for a 21-9 lead. That allowed the Noles to survive a late Florida touchdown.
The Opponent
39-year-old Joe Paterno took over the Penn State football program in 1966 after the retirement of Rip Engle after 16 years.
The Nittany Lions' season mirrored FSU's in that they started shakily but ended on a seven-game winning streak.
After a 5-5 finish in '66, Paterno's second season started with a lackluster 23-22 loss to Navy. He decided he could not win with the seniors. To replace them, he turn­ed to his sophomores whom he recruited the previous year.
The change paid off immediately as the Lions traveled to steamy Miami and beat the Hurricanes 17-8.
UCLA came across the continent the next week and won 17-15, but Paterno con­sidered the game a sign of improvement since the Bruins had trounced PSU 49-11 the year before.
Led by the "Sophomore Wonders," the Nittany Lions would not lose again, with the only close game being a 13-8 nail-biter against #3 North Carolina State. The season culminated in a 42-6 trouncing of archrival Pittsburgh.
In his autobiography, Paterno ex­plained what happened during the 1967 season. "By the time of the Gator Bowl, even though other coaches hadn't figured out what we were doing, word had spread that Penn State was sure as hell doing something on its defense that was working. ... Suddenly, football was not as much a game of one team's biggest guys beating up on the other team's biggest guys. It became more a game of intelligent, well-trained players making fast decisions and staying coordinated. They had to read what was going on, quickly and accurately, and had to react with their minds as well as their bodies."
Kim Hammond was one of the top quarterbacks in the nation. How would he fare against the vaunted Nittany Lion defense?
Paterno made wholesale defensive changes during two weeks of secret practices before traveling to Florida. He changed his lineup to stymie the FSU passing game and used formations the Lions had never used before. To make his defense quicker, he moved three players to new positions and had DB Tim Montgomery "roaming the outfield."
He also installed new looks on offense. He moved Ted Kwalick, an All-American tight end, to wingback. "We had to get the ball to Kwalick to win," Paterno ex­plained. He also installed some crazy formations, including one that resembled a "Y".
The Game
The Gator Bowl record crowd of 68,019 would see the Seminoles outgain the Nittany Lions 418-244y but have to settle for a tie. Penn State scored all its points in the first half while FSU tallied all theirs in the second.
 1st Quarter
FSU won the toss and moved quickly into PSU territory. Hammond completed two passes to HB Bill Moreman, one to 6'4" FL Ron Sellers and one to the other flanker, 6'5" Lane Fenner to overcome a 15y penalty. Finally, on fourth down from the 25, the Seminoles lined up for a field goal. But it was a fake as Hammond, kneeling to hold, jumped up and threw to Moreman at the 10, but Montgomery broke it up as Paterno intended.

Kim Hammond fires a pass to Sellers.
The Seminoles were back in business when QB Tom Sherman ran out of the pocket but fumbled, and T Joe Kinnan recovered for FSU at the 33.
But Montgomery struck again three snaps later when he picked off a Hammond throw and raced 42y down the sideline to FSU's 42.
After an exchange of punts, Penn State moved to a field goal. Sherman hit Kwalick for 11 and a screen pass to Dan Lucyk for 13. Pittman zipped up the middle for 14 and a first down at the six. But a 1y plunge, a 4y tackle for a loss by DE Bob Menendez, and DB Chuck Eason's knockdown of a pass to Kwalick in the end zone made it fourth down. So Sherman booted a 27y field goal. Penn State 3 Florida State 0

L-R: Bob Menendez, Chuck Eason, Chip Glass, Thurston Taylor
 2nd Quarter
Hammond started the next possession by launching a bomb to Sellers that the flanker had his hands on. But Bob Capretto broke up the completion. Two straight 11y completions, to Chip Glass and Thurston Taylor, put the pigskin on the PSU 44. But three plays later, the Noles faced fourth-and-one at the 35. Continuing his hell-for-leather approach, Peterson called for a fake punt, but P Bill Cheshire's short pass to Sellers left FSU short of the line to gain.
The Noles quickly got the ball back on a punt at their 44. But HB Bill Gunter bobbled a pass over the middle, and Neal Smith intercepted as he fell. The Lions moved from there to the game's first touchdown.
After a short completion and two Pittman runs, the Lions were hit with a back­field-in-motion penalty. So on fourth down from the 14, Sherman tried a field goal that sailed wide. But FSU was offsides to make it just 2 1/2y for the first down. So Sherman put the ball on his hip, drifted back, and threw to Jack Curry, who caught the ball in the corner of the end zone behind DB Mike Page. Sherman's PAT made it 10-0 Penn State with 4:42 left in the half.

Hammond back to pass.
Instead of Florida State getting points on the board before halftime, the Lions scored again.
A 17y pass to Sellers put the Tribe at their 47. But Hammond, trying to escape a safety blitz by Smith, was thrown for a 19y loss. So Cheshire punted to the 18.
A trap play sprang Pittman loose for a 36y gain to the FSU 46. Sherman then threw to Lucyk at the 36. Four plays later, the Lions went for it on fourth down. Sherman seemed to be trapped as he faded to pass, but two tacklers missed him, and he scampered to a first down at the 12 with 0:55 on the clock. A strike to Kwa­lick alone in the end zone and Sherman's extra point made it 17-0 Penn State.
FSU had time to drive to the PSU 49, but another interception, this one by Pete Johnson, gave Sherman a chance to throw a completion to the FSU 30 as the half ended.
Halftime score: Penn State 17 Florida State 0

Ron Sellers avoids a Penn State tackler.
3rd Quarter
Florida State needed a break or two to get back in the game. They got a big one early in the third quarter from an unexpected source - the Penn State head coach.
Regular placekicker Grant Guthrie had a tender knee. So backup Randy Logan kicked off. The boot was short, and Penn State started from their 38.
But FSU had made halftime defensive adjustments, and the Lions went three-and-out. Bob Campbell shanked a punt that traveled only 18y to FSU's 35.
Hammond started with a bomb to Sellers that just missed. Then he threw short to his favorite receiver again for 10y to the 45. Moreman gained five, then broke away for 18 more to the 32. A quickie to Sellers gained eight. Runs by Larry Green and Hammond moved the chains to the 20. Fenner caught a pass to the 12, and More­man latched onto one for a first down at the three.

Hammond hands off to Larry Green.
But just when it looked like FSU would break their scoring ice, Penn State stop­ped Green at the one, then stuffed him again a foot short of the goal line. Ham­mond fumbled on a sneak but recovered for no gain. Then Hammond tried a rollout only to be chopped down by Jim Litterelle at the five to turn the ball over on downs.
Pittman ran twice to move the ball to the 13. On third down, he was stopped a foot short of the first down at the 15. That's when Paterno made his fateful decision to go for it on fourth down.
Sherman tried a quarterback sneak and met a stonewall. When everyone was unpiled, the ball was spotted inches short of the line to gain.
After the game, Sherman insisted that he made the first down. "I went up (center Bill) Lenkaitis' back, and I was over the 15y line. Then someone grabbed me by the seat of the pants and pulled me back."
Paterno said, "It was a very debatable call until I see the movies."
FSU defensive coordinator Bill Harbison referred to his call on the sneak as "the best call I ever made." He admitted that up to that point he had been "fooled a time or two" by PSU's offense. When the third down play ended inches short, Harbison had his punt return team ready to go in, but when he saw that Penn State did not send its punter onto the field, he changed his strategy. But instead of calling for a safe and more conservative defensive alignment, he called for his "goal line defense."
In later years, several FSU defensive players admitted that PSU got the first down but were denied the first down by a poor spot by the officials.
DB Johnny Crowe recalled that LB Mike Blatt actually pushed the quarterback back about a half yard from his forward momentum position and kept him from inching forward to his original spot under the pile of bodies.
A few years later, Harbison visited Penn State for a meeting with Coach Paterno. Harbie noticed a sign displayed in the coach's office: "When in doubt, punt." He ranks that as one of his fondest memories in his coaching career.
The Seminoles weren't to be denied this time. On second down, Hammond con­nected with Sellers on the five, and he dodged across the goal line. Guthrie's con­version cut the deficit to 17-7 with 3:58 left in the quarter.
Lightning struck again on the kickoff when Pittman fumbled when hit by Blatt, and Joe Benson recovered for FSU at the PSU 22. On third down, Hammond tossed to Moreman who sprinted to the 1' line. Hammond dove over from there, and Guthrie added the point. Penn State 17 Florida State 14 (2:49)
Penn State's bad luck continued when DB Tommy Warren picked off a Sher­man aerial at midfield.
But the Noles could not capitalize. After hitting Moreman to the 41, Hammond threw long for Sellers, but that man Montgomery struck again, catching the over­throw at the one.
Penn State ran twice to the three as the quarter ended. Penn State 17 FSU 14

Seminole runner goes over the top.
 4th Quarter
Paterno ordered a third-down punt that John Crowe returned 8y to the 28. But a personal foul penalty on Blatt moved the ball back to the 43. A Penn State player hit Blatt late, and FSU drew the penalty when Blatt retaliated.
Hammond threw to Sellers twice to the 35, then the 24. But on fourth-and-five at the 23, Guthrie tried a field goal that missed.
The FSU defense again held the Nittany Lions without a first down in the second half as Paterno played it safe by calling three straight Pittman runs that gained only three. But Pittman flipped the field with a booming 68y punt over the head of the returner to the nine.
With Penn State guarding against the bomb, Hammond repeatedly threw short to Sellers out to the 48. But finding his receivers covered, Hammond took a sack back at the 37. Two passes put the ball back on the 48, and Peterson ordered a punt.
Penn State took over at their 21 with 4:17 remaining. The Lions finally made a first down in the second half, but three plays later, Pittman was stopped inches short at the 41. Not gambling this time, PSU punted to Warren who returned to the FSU 31 with 1:48 on the clock. That set the stage for one of the greatest clutch drives in Florida State history.
Hammond to Fenner on a slant-in from the left to the 41 to make it second and inches.
Incompletion over the middle
Hammond, under center to sneak for the first down, breaks through and runs 21y to the PSU 38. The Seminoles call their last time out with 1:05 left.
Hammond to Fenner again on the same slant-in from the left to the 25.
Hammond over the middle to Moreman to the 14. First down.
Quick down and out on the left to Fenner, who steps out of bounds at the eight to stop the clock with 0:29 left.
Hammond rolls right and throws incomplete to Moreman slanting out of the backfield.
Throw to Sellers in the near right corner of the end zone is knocked away at the last split-second by Frank Spaziano to prevent the touchdown. Fourth and four with 20 seconds left.
Guthrie kicks a 25y field goal to tie the game with 12 seconds remaining.
After a touchback, Sherman threw long but DB Mike Page stole it for FSU at their 37 as the clock ran out.
Paterno minced no words when questioned about his third quarter decision to try a fourth-down quarterback sneak on his own 15 leading by 17. "I blew it. I've been around football long enough to know better. The kids wanted to try it, and I didn't think anybody could stop a sneak on us."
Joe added: "I said if we could get four interceptions and throw Hammond for four losses, we'd win. Obviously, I wasn't right.
"I believe Florida State is the best passing team I've ever seen. I was pleased with the way we took the bomb away from them, though they had one and didn't hang onto it.
"This is a funny ball club. I don't know how to put my finger on it, but we get ahead and get tight. We get a little bit cautious."
Peterson explained his decision to kick the tying field goal rather than go for a winning touchdown.
"My first thought was to go for the gamble. We coaches discussed it, and then I decided not to let the kids waste that comeback on a defeat. I decided to go for the field goal, and every one of the kids I saw shook my hands and said it was the right call. If we were the ones who were 17 points ahead, I'd have gone for the win. But the way we came back, I felt I couldn't throw it away."
Kim Hammond, who set Gator Bowl records for passes (53), completions (37), and yards (362), backed his coach 100%.
"It would be too much of a shocker to lose after we came back like that."
Ron Sellers, whose 14 receptions set a Gator Bowl record, was just glad he didn't have to make the decision.
"You're never satisfied with a tie, but I sure don't like losing."
Seminoles! The First Forty Years, Bill McGrotha (1987)
Paterno by the Book, Joe Paterno with Bernard Asbell (1989)
Greatest Moments in Penn State Football History, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (1996)
What It Means to Be a Seminole: Bobby Bowden and Florida State's Greatest Players, Mark Schlabach (2007)
FSU's Sons of the Sixties: A Case for the Defense – The Seven Magnificents and the Forgotten Four, John Crowe and Dale McCullers (2019)


Kim Hammond

Bill Moreman

Ron Sellers

Joe Paterno

Tim Montgomery

Ted Kwalick

Lane Fenner

Mike Pittman

Grant Guthrie

Neal Smith

Randy Logan

Larry Green

Mike Blatt

Joe Benson

Tommy Warren

John Crowe

Mike Page