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12 days to FSU football: Specialist, QBs lead best ‘Nole No. 12 candidates

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Kicker, quarterback— or someone else?

Miami Hurricanes v Florida State Seminoles
Gary Cismesia
Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Throughout this countdown series, we’ve pointed out numerous firsts as they’ve come along. But now, with just a dozen days — and installments — remaining until the Seminoles’ return to the gridiron, we see a last. Specifically, the final kicker to lead a ballot.

And that kicker is Gary Cismesia, whose name remains omnipresent in Florida State’s kicking records. His five field goals against Duke in 2004 and Miami in 2007 are still tied for the most in a single game at FSU; only he and Sebastian Janikowski have twice made five FGs in the garnet and gold. In that 2007 campaign, Cismesia’s 60-yard boot against Florida became – and still is – the longest field goal in ‘Nole history. Cismesia sits fourth, all-time, in both FSU field goal percentage (78.3%) and points after (97.3%); he led the Seminoles in scoring from 2005-2007. In that final year with Florida State, Cismesia was a second-team All-American per The Sporting News and CNNSI.com, and a third-team choice of College Football News. He also garnered a second-team All-ACC nod.

A pair of ‘Nole quarterbacks also earned all-conference level honors, beginning with Kelly Lowrey, who in 1982 was a second-team All-South Independent pick. Lowery, whose career winning percentage of 66.7% is 13th at FSU (minimum: 10 wins), ranks in the top-20 of the big-three career passing marks as a Seminole QB: he’s tied for 17th with 252 completions, 17th with 3,469 yards, and his 24 touchdown passes come in at 19th.

But speaking of winning percentage, make way for Thad Busby. As far as Florida State signal-callers go, only the Heisman Trophy winners, Ward, Weinke, and Winston, have succeeded at a greater clip than Busby did at FSU. That’s what winning 91.3% of your games as a starter will do. Although he also led the ‘Noles in passing in 1996, Busby did most of his damage in 1997, when he authored a pair of games that still rank among the top-20 in passing yardage: his 463 against NC State are sixth in Florida State history, and the 399 he posted vs. Georgia Tech are 18th. Busby hit that mark against the Yellow Jackets via 30 completions, tied for the 14th most by a Seminole QB. He was a first-team All-ACC pick in 1997.

In ‘97, Busby completed 235 passes, eighth most in a year by an FSU field general, for 3,317 yards (fifth in the garnet and gold), and 25 TDs (tied for fifth). Despite a lesser 1996 in which Busby nevertheless garnered second-team All-ACC honors, his career marks still hold up quite admirably in the ‘Nole record book: 421 completions (10th) for 5,916 yards (ninth) and 46 scores (eighth). Busby’s nine career games with 300+ passing yards are tied for fourth most as a Seminole.

One more Florida State QB makes the ballot: Steve Mathieson, who, in 1977, was a ninth-round draftee of the Detroit Lions.

The other ‘Noles to wear No. 12:

  • Don McCormick (1954)
  • Len Swantic (1956)
  • Gene McCormick (1957-1959)
  • Charlie Alexander (1960)
  • Charlie Calhoun (1961)
  • John Harllee (1962)
  • Tony Gero (1963-1965)
  • Bill Burkhardt (1966)
  • Phil Hiatt (1967)
  • Frank Whigham (1969-1971)
  • Bobby Baker (1972)
  • Wally Woodham (1977-1979)
  • J.P Connolly (1984-1986)
  • Rick Tuten (1987)
  • Alan Stewart (1988)
  • Matt Frier (1989-1993)
  • Abdul Howard (1997-2001)
  • Dominick Robinson (2002)
  • Fabian Walker (2002-2003)
  • Damon McDaniel (2006)
  • Nigel Carr (2008-2009)
  • Jarred Haggins (2011-2014)
  • Hunter Dewitt (2013)
  • Matthew Thomas (2013)
  • Malique Jackson (2014)
  • Deondre Francois (2015-present)
  • Arthur Williams (2015-present)

Click on your choice: