For the second consecutive game, Florida's secondary was dissected by FSU quarterback Danny Kanell while the Seminole defense sacked Danny Wuerffel five times as Florida State settled a regular season tie, winning "The Fifth Quarter in the French Quarter" 23-17 over the Florida Gators.
FSU tailback Warrick Dunn, playing in his home state, continued to riddle the Gator defense in earning Sugar Bowl MVP honors. The sophomore rushed 14 times for 58 yards, caught nine passes for 51 yards and threw a 73 yard touchdown pass.
On the game's second possession, Florida State began deep in its own territory at the 7 yard line. The Seminoles started this rematch where they left off the last game against the Gators, driving almost at will down the field. The Seminoles used a pair of Warrick Dunn 16 yard runs and a 41 yard pass from Danny Kanell to E.G. Green to the Gator 10 yard line to set up the game's first score. Unable to get the ball in the endzone, FSU settled for a Dan Mowery 21 yard field goal giving the Seminoles a 3-0 lead with 7:20 remaining in the first quarter.
UF drove to the Florida State 4 yard line on its next possession before Derrick Brooks collared Wuerffel on a third down naked bootleg forcing Judd Davis to kick a 22 yard field goal tying the score 3-3 with 3:57 remaining in the opening quarter.
After Todd Rebol stripped the ball from UF's Fred Taylor and Sean Hamlet recovered at Florida State's 27 yard line, the Seminoles used a bit of trickery resulting in a touchdown which gave them the lead for good. Dunn, a high school quarterback, completed his first collegiate pass to 'OMar Ellison for a 73 yard touchdown strike in which Ellison outraced the UF secondary giving Florida State a 10-3 advantage with 14:25 remaining in the second quarter. Dunn's pass also set a short lived record for the longest pass in Sugar Bowl history.
Florida State's defense then made another big play, this time stopping a Wuerffel 4th and 1 quarterback sneak giving the Seminoles possession on their own 28 yard line.
One play after Kanell completed a key 13 yard completion to Ellison on 3rd and 12 he hit an open Kez McCorvey for a 16 yard touchdown strike giving FSU a 17-3 lead with 7:47 left in the first half.
UF responded with an 82 yard touchdown strike from Wuerffel to Ike Hilliard on 3rd and 12 putting the Gators within seven with 6:07 left in the first half. Wuerffel's strike marked the third time in the game that the record for longest pass in Sugar Bowl history had been broken.
After another fumble recovery by Sean Hamlet at midfield, Kanell drove the Seminole offense to the 7 yard line resulting in a Mowrey 24 yard field goal giving FSU a 20-10 halftime lead.
Rock Preston continued Florida State's momentum by returning the second half kickoff 62 yards to the UF 30 yard line. Mowrey then kicked a career long 45 yard field goal giving Florida State a 23-10 lead one minute into the second half. Mowrey's third field goal of the night, also a career high, was the most by an FSU kicker since Scott Bentley kicked four field goals in last year's Orange Bowl.
Florida got back in the game in the fourth quarter after Wuerffel directed a 17 play, 80 yard drive culminating in a one yard quarterback sneak from Wuerffel bringing UF within six with 3:47 remaining.
UF's attempt of an onside kick rolled out of bounds, but the Gator defense held giving them one more chance from their own 19 with 2:27 remaining.
Derrick Brooks sealed the victory over the Gators by intercepting a Wuerffel pass and returning it to the UF 19 in the game's final minute.
Florida State's victory over Florida marked an NCAA record tenth straight bowl victory and thirteenth without a loss. Florida State also finished in the Top Five nationally an unprecedented eighth consecutive year.