With Florida State nursing a 14-9 lead, and backed up to its own 8-yard line early in the last quarter, Kim Hammond trotted back onto the field here Saturday afternoon and quickly produced the points that, in the last analysis, cut down the fighting Florida football team 21-16.
This one was high, suspense drama from beginning to end...but none of many vivid moments topped Hammond's splendid heroics.
After leading the Seminoles to a 14-3 lead, the quarterback had been knocked dizzy on Florida State's second series in the second quarter. He stayed on the bench until Coach Bill Peterson nodded to him in the afore-mentioned tight situation.
On the first play of his return, Hammond unloaded a bomb that the rather incomparable Ron Sellers caught for a 51-yard gain. On the third play of Hammond's return, he cut loose another bomb, to Sellers in the end zone...for a touchdown that brought a 21-9 lead, and eventually lifted the Seminoles to their seventh straight victory and a final 7-2-1 record.
But seven straight victories, 7-2-1 and a Gator Bowl date were secondary to the big accomplishment...the University of Florida football team had been had, and for the first time by Florida State on its own beloved Florida Field.
Not until T.K. Wetherell batted down Floida's last pass with 1:26 showing on the clock did the several thousand Florida State fans in the record Florida Field crowd of 62,944 know they had this one won.
For them both the third and fourth quarter - except for the brief time the Seminoles held a 21-9 lead - were hellish.
Except for that Hammond-Sellers outbreak, the Seminoles played mostly defense in the last half. Among other things, Florida State recovered four Florida fumbles, while losing none itself. The Seminoles came up agonizingly short of interceptions several times.
The game's only interception, by Florida's Bobby Downs, came close to changing the course of this one. Gary Pajcic, subbing for Hammond, had led a charge to the Florida 15. Downs stole a third-down toss and sprinted 47 yards to the Seminoles' 46. But the FSU defense choked off Florida's threat, allowed only three yards in three plays.
Florida got the first points in this one, as Tommy Glenn raced 39 yards with the opening kickoff to put the Gators in business at their 47. The drive culminated with Wayne Barfield's 29-yard field goal.
A bit later the Seminoles marched 96 yards, spurred most of the way by the bright running of Larry Green. From nine yards out, Hammond threw to Bill Moremen for a TD.
Next time the Seminoles got the ball - on a fumble recovery at the Florida 38 - they moved to more points. Again Green led the push. Hammond scored from one-yard range. Grant Guthrie's point kick gave FSU a 14-3 lead, and it stayed that way until after the half.
Florida drove to a TD from Florida State's 27 late in the third quarter. The Gators' Richard
Trapp had returned a punt 10 yards and a personal foul call had followed.
Larry Rentz' passes led to the 10. Tom Christian scored from a yard out. Florida went for two points, failed, leaving it 14-9.
But immediately after FSU stretched that lead to 21-9 the Gators marched again, 80 yards to a payoff, moved mostly by Rentz passes. Larry Smith scored from four yards out.
Florida had the ball twice after that, probing, with the help of a penalty to the FSU 26, where the stubborn FSU defense held firm. Later, after a punt, Florida had a last-gasp chance from its 19, but turned over the ball to FSU on the 18 with 1:26 to play. The Seminoles were on the one-yard line when it ended.
The Seminoles keyed their defense on Smith, with some effectiveness. He carried 22 times, got just 78 yards. The Seminoles ran Green almost as much...20 times for 71.
Hammond, who needed 270 yards to have a chance to win the national total-offense crown, netted just 159 playing only about half the game. He completed seven of 12 throws for 157 yards. Pajcic hit six of 11 for 73.
In the dual between Sellers and Trapp...well, Sellers caught seven for 153 yards, Trapp five for 59.
Teamwise, Florida State ended with 345 yards of offense including 230 passing, and Florida 303, with Rentz throwing for 146, completing 11 of 29.
The Gators, 6-3, closed at Miami in a nationally televised game December 9. Florida State coaches now turned their attention to recruiting before opening preparatation for the date with Penn State in the Gator Bowl.