Date: November 13, 2010
Location: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Wide Right. Wide Left.
Every Florida State fan has heard and had their fill of jokes relating to the Seminoles’ kicking woes in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Bobby Bowden’s Dynasty may have had more national titles if it were not for those dadgum kickers.
The departure of Bowden did not immediately dispel those kicking woes. Jimbo Fisher’s new era got off to a wayward start - Dustin Hopkins, who would go on to be arguably the most successful kicker in FSU history, missed a game winning kick against North Carolina in the Noles’ 9th game of the season.
Greg Reid returned a punt 50 yards into UNC territory, and with 7 seconds left, Hopkins had the chance to win the game in its waning moments. And he missed.
Fortunately, Dustin Hopkins’ miss did not go down in the annals of prior Seminoles’ kicking woes. The next week against Clemson, he got a chance at redemption.
I was not actually at the game. I was in a house off Westridge, a few football fields away from Doak Campbell Stadium. I could hear every roar before I saw it on the TV, I knew if I should throw down my beverage in frustration.
And this game was tight. 13 points for each side, deep in the fourth quarter. FSU took a timeout and Jimbo Fisher put the ball back at the golden toes of Hopkins.
Three seconds left on the clock. Ball on the 38 yard line. On the TV, I saw Shawn Powell kneel down, seven yards behind the long snapper. Dustin Hopkins took four steps backwards, and three strafing steps to his left.
The ball was snapped, and ———
An enormous roar erupted from Doak Campbell Stadium. Hopkins sprinted around Bobby Bowden Field, I sprinted around the tiny living room, Shawn Powell and a cadre of Seminoles in tow behind Hopkins flew around the field filled with joy.
The frustration of the previous week’s miss fell away, 83,000 celebrated, and tens of thousands more celebrated deep into the night. No one missed any sleep over a missed kick.
Dustin Hopkins got his 55 yard shot at redemption, and he striped it 70 yards through the middle of the uprights.