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FSU Seminoles vs UM Canes-College Football's Greatest Rivalry-The Year was 1978

With two weeks remaining before the University of Miami Cane Thugs arrive in Tallahassee (everyone should hide your belongings, lock all of your doors, hide your keys, and lock up your daughters)  I thought it might be fun to revisit some of the greatest FSU vs UM games played in this great rivalry.

For this series, I will be recapping what I consider to be the most exciting and memorable FSU victories of the modern era (i.e. post Bowden's arrival), starting with the oldest and working my way towards the present.  I would love to hear any memories that you may have about the game we are reviewing.  Hopefully these stories will start raising the blood temperature so that it will reach the boiling point just before kickoff, when we will then undoubtedly humiliate, spear 'em, and then scalp 'em, before sending them packing like the ill wind they are.

In order to give you a better experience of the game. I will recap it using whatever media reports are available, I will include all the team and individual stats, and I will offer any personal anecdotes of anything I am able to remember as I think back through the heavy fog.

I ask the younger TN readers to please be patient, bear with us, enjoy the brief history lessons, and I promise that  soon we will be talking about games that YOU might actually remember or have attended.

Today we will start with the game played on September 23, 1978, at the Miami Orange Dump.

The significance of this game is not due to any last minute FG attempts, a 2 point conversion attempt, a touchdown as time expires, any national championship implications, or even a close final score.  The significance of this game is that this was the first time under Bobby Bowden that our Noles beat Miami.

In 1976, which was Bowden's first year at FSU, Miami welcomed him and our Noles by giving us a thorough spanking 47-0, in Bowden's and FSU's last losing season (5-6). 

The following year, 1977, the Seminoles were poised to give Bowden his first win against Miami.  The Noles led in the 4th quarter by a score of 17-10, until Miami scored 13 points in the final 9 minutes to steal the win in Tallahassee.  That loss, coupled with a loss at San Diego State were the only 2 losses that year.  This was the first year of our rise to national relevance, our first major bowl and bowl win (Tangerine vs Texas Tech 40-17), and the first year we ended the season ranked (14th AP and 11th UPI).

Expectations for 1978 were somewhat new and mixed, but many of us felt good about the direction we were heading.  That year FSU was playing a two headed quarterback by the name of Jimmy Jordan and Wally Woodham.  Fans could almost count on the first play of every game being a bomb, just to get the defense ready for what was about to come.  That year Jimmy completed 108 of 199 with 14 TD's for 1427 yds, while Wally completed 98 of 169 with 9 TD's for 1322 yards.  These 2 players pretty much split the playing time, and as you can see by those stats,  the 2 headed QB moniker was very appropo.  I don't want to say we were fickle fans, but as soon as one QB started to struggle, it seemed like the entire stadium would begin chanting the others first name.  For example, if Jimmy was struggling, the stadium would start chanting WALLY, WALLY, WALLY (or vice versa)  and believe it or not, Bowden would listen and send in the other QB, at which point the stadium would erupt and everyone would go nuts thinking we were the one's making the difference.  Other prominent offensive players included Mark Lyles, Homes Johnson, Ernie Sims, Greg Ramsey, Jackie Flowers, Sam Platt, Ken Lanier, and Kurt Unglaub.  The defense was anchored by Big Bad Ron Simmons, Bobby Butler, Keith Jones, Mark Bonasorte, Ivory Joe Hunter, Paul Piurowski and Reggie Herring. The kicker was Dave Cappelen and that was the year we unleashed future Hall of Fame freshman Rohn Stark as our punter.

Anyway back to the UM game.

(Interesting tidbit: The previous week before the UM game,  we beat Oklahoma State 38-20 in the what was the birth of the greatest tradition in college football, and still is to this very day.  That game marked the first time Renegade and Chief Osceola led the team out onto the field, but I am not entirely sure if it was the first time with the planting of the spear at midfield before the kickoff, or if that came at a later date).

FSU entered the UM game at 2-0 and ranked 13th in the nation.  Although the final score might indicate different, the FSU defense was instrumental in preserving the Nole's third victory of the season, 31-21,  when our defenders force five Miami turnovers (three interceptions, two fumble recoveries)  and blocked a punt.

The game was televised for those of us just starting the school year in Tallahassee and not able to travel down to Miami.   I lived in a what was then a fairly nice apartment complex named Berkshire Manor/Chateau Deville between Ocala and High Road (which was very appropriately named for us).  We had open courtyards and for all of the away games that were televised, we would pull out 3 or 4 TV's into the courtyard and watch the games with a couple of kegs. 

In that game, noseguard Ron Simmons was named the ABC-TV Chevrolet Defensive Player of the Game for recovering a fumble and blocking a punt.  The blocked punt came early in the second quarter with FSU trailing 7-0. Tackle Mark Macek scooped up the loose ball and rumbled 48 yards for the touchdown. Davy Cappelen's PAT knotted the count at 7.

FSU  fell behind again midway through the second quarter but bounced back to deadlock the count at halftime on a four yard TD pass from Jimmy Jordan to Jackie Flowers, with Cappelen again booting the conversion.

The Seminoles then went ahead in the third quarter when QB Wally Woodham plunged over from the one yard line.

FSU  then capitalized on a Miami miscue to make it 24-14 when the Hurricanes fumbled at their own six, and Simmons making the recovery. Three plays later the Seminole drive stalled at the nine yard line,  so then Cappelen booted a 26-yard field goal.

The 'Canes, however, bounced back on their next series and scored seven to narrow the gap to 24-21. Again it was time for the defense to rescue the Garnet and Gold. When FSU failed to gain a first down on its next series, Miami got the ball at the FSU 45, but lost possession when Bobby Butler intercepted, returning the ball 40 yards to help set up a 22-yard TD pass from Woodham to fullback Mark Lyles. Cappelen's PAT made it a final score of 31-21, and this game went into the history books as Bobby Bowden's first ever win against the Canes.

This game also meant more to me than most because being from South Florida, I finally had bragging rights over my Cane friends when I would go home on breaks, at least for the next year.

FSU would then go on to suffer an emotional letdown by dropping 3 of the next 4 games before bouncing back and winning the last 4 games, including Bowden's 2nd straight over the Gators, and finishing the season at 8-3.  However that was not good enough to finish the season ranked or to go bowling.  Three years later in 1981 would be the last year in which FSU did not go bowling, up until this very day, for a NCAA record of 27 consecutive bowl appearances.

1st   0- 7  Opp, 80, run (kick), 9:27 
2nd   7- 7  Mark Macek, 48, punt return/blocked punt (Dave Cappelen, kick), 2:03 
      7-14  Opp, 48, run (kick), 9:25 
     14-14  Jackie Flowers, 4, pass from Jimmy Jordan (Dave Cappelen, kick), 2:49 
3rd  21-14  Wally Woodham, 1, run (Dave Cappelen, kick), 8:15 
4th  24-14  Dave Cappelen, 26, field goal, 7:02 
     24-21  Opp, 27, pass (kick), 4:27 
     31-21  Mark Lyles, 22, pass from Wally Woodham (Dave Cappelen, kick), 1:14 

FSU OPP First downs 12 10 Rushes-yards 51-130 31-211 Passing 133 114 Att-Comp-Int 24-14-1 20-9-3 Total Yards 75-263 51-325 Punt Returns 2-64 1-12 Kickoff Returns 1-13 2-29 Interception Ret. 3-44 1-11 Fumble Returns 3-0 0-0 Punts 8-46.9 7-33.9 Fumbles-Lost 2-0 5-2 Penalties-Yds 3-34 3-39 Time of Posession 37:26 22:34 Attendance 25,002 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Rushing Homes Johnson 23- 90 Mark Lyles 16- 60 Sam Platt 1- 6 Keith Kennedy 1- 4 Wally Woodham 6- 0 Jimmy Jordan 4- -31 Receiving Mark Lyles 5- 58 Kurt Unglaub 2- 27 Homes Johnson 4- 26 Jackie Flowers 2- 14 Grady King 1- 8 Passing Jimmy Jordan 12- 8-1- 83 Wally Woodham 12- 6-0- 50 Punt Return Mark Macek 0- 40 Ron Simmons 1- 15 Gary Henry 1- 0 Kickoff Return Gator Cherry 1- 13 Punting Rohn Stark 8- 375 |---------Tackles---------| |---Sacks---| |---Pass Def---| |-Fumbles-| Blkd DEFENSIVE STATISTICS UT AT Total ForLoss No - Yards Int-Yds BrUp QBH Rcv-Yds FF Kick Saf ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Walter Carter 7 1 8 . 1.0- 7.0 . . . . . . . Ron Simmons 6 1 7 . . . . . 1- 0 . 1 . Paul Piurowski 3 4 7 . . . . . . . . . Abe Smith 4 . 4 . . . . . . . . . Monk Bonasorte 4 . 4 . . . . . . . . . Arthur Scott 4 . 4 . 1.0- 1.0 . . . . . . . Scott Warren 2 1 3 . . . . . . . . . Willie Jones 2 . 2 . . . . . . . . . Jeremy Mindlin 2 . 2 . . . . . 1- 0 . . . Bobby Butler 1 . 1 . . 2- 40 . . . . . . Mike Kincaid 1 . 1 . . . . . . . . . Ken Lanier 1 . 1 . . . . . . . . . Keith Jones 1 . 1 . . . . . . . . . Edenbur Richardson 1 . 1 . . . . . . . . . Carlton Jones 1 . 1 . . . . . . . . . Reggie Herring 1 . 1 . . . . . . . . . David Hanks . . . . . 1- 4 . . . . . .