Date: September 17, 2011
Location: Doak S. Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Opponent: Oklahoma Sooners
The Tomahawk Nation Inner Council was conflicted about including plays from losses in the Top 100 list. Losses rarely move the program forward, or provide pivotal season moments, or supply memorable plays since we like to block them out. But the Trickett-to-Greene connection made the list due to a specific superlative moment in the program’s history: NOISE.
A confluence of events built up the powder keg of emotions that exploded inside Doak, and literally broke portions of the stadium. Let’s set the stage.
Florida State entered the 3rd week of 2011 ranked No. 5 after knocking around a couple patsies to begin Jimbo’s 2nd season as head football coach. Seminole Country was hungry. This was FSU’s first consensus Top 5 ranking since mid-2005(a team that faltered to finish 22nd), and their first September Top 5 status since 2002.
Oklahoma waltzed into Doak Campbell following their 47-17 annihilation of FSU in Norman the previous year. The Sooners were the No. 1 team in the land, and Nole fans’ memories still harbored the bitter Orange Bowl defeat to Stoops’ squad that cost Bobby back-to-back national championships a decade prior. There was no shortage of motivation, and you could feel electricity in the stadium hours before the prime time kickoff.
Despite a home crowd turned up to 11 the entire evening, things didn’t go well for Florida State early on. Already missing 2 top veteran receivers in Bert Reed & Willie Haulstead, junior quarterback EJ Manuel struggled to put points on the board against a stout Sooner defense. The running game was non-existent. Early in the 2nd quarter, FSU was dealt a devastating blow literally and figuratively when it appeared Kenny Shaw came down with a 23-yard game-tying touchdown. However, the pass was ruled incomplete as #81 was knocked unconscious before his body or the ball touched the turf. The only thing more miraculous than Shaw’s recovery to play football the following week was the refs’ decision NOT to flag the play for targeting. The targeting rules in 2011 were applied differently than today, where Jacob Pugh is ejected for accidentally slapping a ball carrier’s face mask, but Shaw was sent to the hospital with what can only be described as a “synchronized flying helmet vice smash” by the Sooner defenders.
Instead of a penalty to place the football on the Oklahoma doorstep after the extensive injury delay, Manuel later threw a costly interception on a tight end miscue.
FSU’s young NFL-laden defense stepped up to give FSU a fighting chance, holding OU to 28 yards in the 3rd quarter. The lively Doak faithful were the cliche 12th man on each and every defensive effort.
The Seminole quarterback was later injured himself, forcing Fisher to turn to redshirt freshman QB Clint Trickett, who was the original skinny quarterback before James Blackman made it hip in 2017. Both teams largely held serve since Shaw’s ambulance ride, and Clint’s back sliding offense faced a daunting 3rd & 28 from their own 44 yard line, down 13-6 with 9:32 left to play. The author may have uttered something under his breath like, “Come on, just chuck it”.
That’s exactly what he did. With good protection, young Trickett tossed a 500 Ball in the direction of his favorite target, true freshman Rashad Greene(Amazingly, Trickett and Greene had already connected for 3 TD’s in the opening two cupcake games). A well-covered Greene went high to pluck the football away from three Oklahoma defenders, then sprinted the final 30 yards as Doak Campbell Stadium erupted into a frenzy with volumes never heard before or since. The author later spoke to multiple persons sitting on East side of Doak where their metal bleacher sections snapped off during the unbridled pandemonium.
Never mind that Oklahoma recovered to win the ball game 23-13 on some truly gutsy plays by a concussed Kenny Stills. For a few fleeting minutes, Doak had experienced a truly unforgettable moment that would have sent a fully-functioning Spirit Spear rocketing into outer space. The following week, there were hundreds of Youtube videos taken from the crowd(likely on the iPhone 4 model current at the time). It was exhilarating to watch the play over and over from perspectives throughout the stadium. Here’s one of the few remaining versions to help relive the ecstasy, courtesy of Youtuber joenoles 5.
Besides the broken bleachers, the author heard several memorable stories that occurred during the Trickett-to-Rashad pandemonium. People crowd surfing, strangers embracing, family members losing control of their tear ducts. Please regale us with your own anecdotes in the comments section.