Florida State Bowl Games
 1968 Peach Bowl vs LSU
"Nobody has gotten to our passer like LSU did."
Florida State's 1968 Season
Bill Peterson's ninth Seminoles team finished the regular season 8-2. The losses were to Florida, 9-3, when the Gators held Peterson's aerial circus to 17 fewer points than they scored in any other game that season. The other loss also came at home to Virginia Tech 40-22. The key victories were 24-14 at Maryland, 48-7 at North Caro­lina State, and a 40-20 upset of Houston.
The Seminoles were led by junior quarterback Bill Cappleman, who had the best season of any FSU passer: 162-for-287 for 2,410y and 25 TDs. His main target, All-American Ron Sellers, broke the national record for career pass receiving yardage with 1,496 on 86 receptions. Tom Bailey led the team in rushing with 570y.
Cappelman, Sellers, DB John Crowe, T Jack Fenwick, and LB Dale McCullers were select­ed to the 1st team All-South Independent Team.
The Opponent
LSU finished the regular season with a 7-3 record and the #19 ranking in the final Associated Press poll. The Tigers' conquerors were Miami 30-0, Archie Manning and Ole Miss 27-24, and Alabama, 16-7. The victories included four over Southwest Con­ference foes – Texas A&M (13-12), Rice (21-7), Baylor (48-16), and TCU (10-7), in addition to traditional foes Kentucky (13-3), Mississippi State (20-16), and Tulane (34-10).
The inagural Peach Bowl game matched two head coaches who had been assistants on Paul Dietzel's staff in Baton Rouge in the 1950s – Charlie McClendon of LSU and Peterson.
When defensive assistant Bill Beall left after the regular season to become head coach at Baylor, McClendon assumed the responsibility of preparing the secondary for its biggest test of the season. "They do an exceptional job of throwing the ball, and we're just going to have to be in the path of what they throw," said Mac. "Our defense is going to have to rise to the occasion."
Florida State ruled as a touchdown favorite.
The Game
The 35,545 fans that came to Georgia Tech's Grant Field on a cold, rainy night (42º with wind gusting to 25 mph) were rewarded with a game that caused the UPI reporter to ask: "What is the Peach Bowl going to do for an encore? The first annual Peach Bowl was a dilly."

Left: Ron Sellers. Middle: FSU RB Tom Bailey leaps over LSU defenders.
Right: Don Peterson makes crucial reception during FSU's first quarter scoring drive.
(Florida State University Renegade Yearbook Class of 1969)
First Quarter
The game couldn't have started any better for the Seminoles.
Florida State's opening kickoff bounced along the slippery turf to LSU upback Mark Lumpkin, who dropped it. John Crowe recovered for FSU at the LSU 31. A flag was thrown as the ball was snapped on the next play, causing some Tigers to relax momen­tarily. FSU FB Tom Bailey didn't relax at all. He raced down the sideline for a touch­down that stood because the penalty was against LSU. Florida State 7 LSU 0 (14:46)
Each of LSU's first three possessions ended with a turnover. Southpaw QB Mike Hill­man sparked a promising drive starting with a pass to Bob Hamlett for 11y with 15 more added for roughing the passer. Next Mike connected with his favorite receiver, Tommy Morel, to the FSU 22. But on third-and-11, a heavy rush forced Hillman to throw wildly down the middle, and LB Bill Lohse made a diving interception at the 13.
After forcing a three-and-out, the Tigers got the ball back at their 46. Aided by another 15y penalty and a Hillman-Morel connection for 13y, LSU reached the FSU 22. FB Kenny Newfield romped to a first down on the 10. But on the next snap, New­field fumbled the pitch, and sopho­more LB Dale McCulers claimed the ball for the Seminoles at the 15.
LSU's next possession began with a 20y run by Maurice LeBlanc to the FSU 36. However, he fumbled when hit, and junior DB Mike Page grabbed the ball for the Seminoles. To add to the Tiger woes, Gerry Kent, LSU's regular season defensive MVP who had worked for a month to cover Sellers, was injured on a punt return and lost for the evening. The Tigers double-teamed Sellers the rest of the way. The All-American would snare only one reception in the first half. As McClendon explained after the game, "the injury changed our defensive strategy and forced us to rush the passer more." The strategy worked. As Coach Peterson admitted afterward, "Nobody has gotten to our passer like LSU did."
After the teams exchanged punts, Florida State started from their 25. Cappleman, back to pass, ran behind an array of blockers to the LSU 41. Then SE Phil Abraira snared a pass to the 24.
Florida State 7 LSU 0
Second Quarter
On the second play, Cappleman used Sellers to clear out several defenders and tossed to RB Bill Gunter coming out of the backfield into the open area down the right sideline for a 21y touch­down. The PAT try sailed wide, which would have a ripple effect as the game progressed. Florida State 13 LSU 0 (14:50)
Three straight possessions resulted in no first downs for either team. That's when trouble start­ed for FSU. Cappleman was sacked for a loss of six to the 14. Then a dou­ble reverse that lost seven and an incompletion forced a punt that resulted in what both coaches called the turning point in the game. Craig Burns fielded Bill Cheshire's weak punt at the 39, wiggled his way through the first wave of Seminoles, and rolled into the end zone to cut the FSU lead to 13-7.
A holding penalty and sacks on consecutive plays forced another Seminole punt. Starting from their 33, LSU moved to the FSU 16 behind Hillman's passing – 22y to Newfield – and Danny LeBlanc's running. But the Garnet and Gold defense rose up and pushed the Tigers back to bring on Mark Lumpkin for a 32y field goal. Florida State 13 LSU 10
The Seminoles dodged a bullet just before halftime. Bill Thompson's pick of a Cap­pleman pass gave LSU possession on their 42. E Bill Stober snagged passes for 18 and 20y to make it first-and-10 at the FSU 20. But the next three plays gained only nine. Following a delay of game penalty, Lumpkin's attempt to tie the score sailed wide from the 24 in the last seconds of the half.
Florida State 13 LSU 10

L: Bill Gunter tripped up at the sideline. R: Jim Tyson stopped after short gain.
(Florida State University Renegade Yearbook Class of 1969)
Third Quarter
LSU came out in clean jerseys and dominated the third quarter, holding the potent Seminole offense to just one first down. Sacking Cappleman for a 12y loss to the 18, the Tigers forced a punt. Then they drove 51y to the go-ahead touchdown. The key play was a 28y pass from Hill­man to Tommy Morel, who made a spectacular catch with Page all over him. From the 12, Mike then rifled another bullet to the two to Ham­lett, who dragged two defenders over the goal line. LSU 17 Florida State 13 (10:54)
The Seminoles still couldn't move, but a fine punt put LSU on its 19. LeBlanc's running moved the pigskin to the 43 but no further. Quickly forcing another punt thanks to a sack inside the 10, the Tigers, using a nine-man front on kicks, pressured Che­shire into a 22-yarder to the FSU 45. Little Freddie Haynes, playing only briefly in Hillman's place, completed a short pass and made a 5y run before Hillman returned with a play from the sideline that resulted in a 25y strike to Mo­rel to the 11. Two plays later, Mike found Stober all alone in the back of the end zone.
LSU 24 Florida State 13
Fourth Quarter
The Seminoles needed a spark, and their passing duo provided it. Cappleman threw for most of the yardage on a 72y, 13-play touchdown drive. Sellers snagged passes for 11y and 14 for a first down at the LSU 12. On third down, an interference penalty made it first-and-goal at the two. After the Tigers stuffed a run for no gain, Cappleman tossed into the left flat, Ron making a leaping catch at the side of the end zone. Frye hit him hard in midair, and it appeared to some that Sellers came down out of bounds, but the officials ruled otherwise. FSU went for two, but Burns picked off the pass. LSU 24 Florida State 19 (10:35)
Another short FSU kickoff proved poison for the Tigers. A clothesline tackle caused RB Glenn Smith to lose the ball to FSU junior DE Ron Wallace on the LSU 37. After a penalty, Cappleman hit sophomore TE Jim Tyron for 31y, then tossed the ball to Sel­lers, who caught it falling over backward for another first down at the 12. On fourth-and-two from the four, Cappleman blooped a pass into the end zone to Sellers, who  stretched his 6'4" frame over Frye's 5'11" to put FSU back in front. This time the Seminoles completed the two-point conversion pass. Cappleman rolled right, turned, and threw back to senior TE Chip Glass wide open in the left side of the end zone. Florida State 27 LSU 24 (6:15)

L: Early action. M: Chip Glass catches fourth quarter touchdown pass.
R: Tom Bailey misses pass on crucial fourth quarter play.
(Florida State University Renegade Yearbook Class of 1969)
The Tigers responded with a relentless drive deep into FSU territory. First, Jim West returned the short kickoff 19y to the 39. On LSU's first offensive snap of the period, LeBlanc gained four, then three before Hillman connected with Stober for 14. But after Maurice got another seven on two runs, the Tigers went backward thanks to a 15y holding penalty.
That set up the most talked-about play of the game for LSU. Hillman threw toward Morel who made a miraculous catch despite being sandwiched by two defenders for a first down at the 18. Two snaps later, the lefty quarterback faked a handoff, put the ball on his hip, and rolled right. With the defense still expecting him to pass, Mike kept run­ning until he went out of bounds at the three.
LeBlanc needed only one try to knife into the end zone. Danny explained, "That play was de­signed to make a first down or two points after a touchdown. But the play went so well we decided to use it then. Give the credit to our offensive line. They knocked them down like bowling pins all night." LSU 31 Florida State 27 (2:39)

Danny LeBlanc scores winning touchdown for LSU.
(Louisiana State University Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1969)
Trailing by four thanks to multiple missed PATs, the Seminoles needed a touchdown. Capple­man passed for two first downs, but S Don Addison nailed the receiver after only a 1y gain on the next completion. Facing pressure up front and tight coverage, Bill misfired on his next two throws. On fourth down from the LSU 44, he put the ball on Sellers' hands a step from the sideline at the 20. But Frye leaped and tipped it away at the last moment. Asked how much hand he got on the ball, Frye replied, "This much," sticking up a little finger and laughing. "I knew they'd be throwing the ball to him, and I had to be ready. … That Sellers is the best. He's just great."
Coach Peterson was philosophical in defeat. "Good football teams win the close ones, and LSU is a good football team. I was proud of the way our kids kept coming back." However, "we just couldn't get any consistency on offense." He also said, "I was worried at the half that we wouldn't be able to keep up with their substituting, and they wore us down late."
Coach McClendon quoted his 10-year-old son, who came to his side after the game and yelled, "Daddy, we just get tough in the second half, don't we?" Charlie added, "I'm proud of this squad for coming up with a real big win. This coaching staff won't ever forget it. We did a good job on Sellers early in the game, but he came back to prove what a great player he is. It took a tremendous effort on the part of our entire squad to win this one, and we made adjustments well during the game. … I think we beat them at their own game [passing]."