This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.
Because we've planning to run a series on this next week, today we are going with some of the top defensive performances in FSU history. This from author Fsued:
I arrived at this list using three main sources - my own noggin, the great info at nolesfan.com and Bill McGrotha's priceless book "Seminoles! The First Forty Years!" There were some statistical discrepancies between McGrotha's book and nolesfan.com - when I encountered those I shamelessly went with the stats that were either gaudiest or best made my case.
I tried to avoid merely ranking the best performances statistically. For instance, the interception record for FSU in one game is Mario Edwards' four vs. Wake Forest in 1998. But that didn't even make the list, mainly because, back then, Wake [was awful] and there was really nothing any FSU defensive player could do against them to merit making history.
I also ignored careers and focused just on games - for that reason, some very big names did not make the list. Remember, this is best single game performances by a Seminole. So, below is the countdown - feel free to discuss and even debate, but if you try to tell me I'm wrong I'll simply stick my fingers in my ears and start singing the "nah nah nah nah nah" song.
Next week, Fsued will unveil his top ten, but for today, here are his honorable mentions for the best defensive performances in FSU history:
Sept. 19, 1964 - Bill McDowell has 16 tackles (11 unassisted) and at least one sack as FSU shuts out Miami 14-0 to start its 9-1-1 season capped by a Gator Bowl berth. McDowell also forced a fumble for the FSU defense which would record 3 straight shutouts to start the season. FSUED musings: Some argue this was FSU's best defense (I rank it third - more on that later).
Oct. 23, 1976, FSU linebacker Jimmy Heggins recorded 21 tackles - an amazing 17 of them unassisted, in a 31-19 FSU loss at Auburn. FSUED musings: This one is definitely statistically based - we lost the game, but 17 UA tackles is sick.
Oct. 28, 1989, Kirk Caruthers - LB Kirk Caruthers racks up 16 tackles - 11 unassisted - picks off two passes and recovers a fumble in FSU's infamous 24-10 upset of "flagheaded" Bernard Clark and arch-rival Miami. The Noles forced 6 turnovers on the night of the top-ranked Canes.
Sept. 29, 1990 Erroll McCorvey has 8 tackles, 2 PBU, 1 INT and a 77 yard fourth-quarter fumble return to seal a 39-28 win vs. Virginia Tech. FSUED musings: No recollection of this game whatsoever, but that's a lot of stuff.
So, what are your top moments or performances in FSU history? These can come from offense or defense. Your choice.