Date: November 29, 2014
Location: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida
Opponent: Florida Gators
Jameis Winston had just thrown his third interception of the game (and nearly the first pick-six of his career), and Florida State, 11-0 with national championship hopes, was on the verge of facing a double-digit deficit in not just its season finale, but the singular game that, above all, defines a Seminole season.
Having built up a 9-0 lead early in the first quarter, the Gators were looking to stack up as many points as possible, given that the were a rare commodity in the Will Muschamp era (and have been since.) Muschamp, who had been given the boot two weeks prior following a loss to South Carolina, was looking to repeat the success of fired Florida coaches past, but instead of Ron Zook ruining the christening of Bobby Bowden Field, Fred Flinstone’s distant cousin was looking to play spoiler to a second straight Florida State undefeated regular season.
Florida State’s first two drives feature back-to-back interceptions, and the Gators converted each one into a field goal, tacking on another after a Seminole punt. Following the third, Florida kicked off and Kermit Whitfield decided to try to return it, muffing the ball and setting up the Seminoles at their own four-yard line.
After a two-yard loss by Karlos Williams, Winston threw a bullet into quadruple coverage, straight to Brian Poole, who could’ve (and should’ve) gotten six points had he not fallen in the process of completing the catch.
And suddenly, while the Gators had stumbled through their season, they had a chance to finish it off with spectacular fashion. Not only could they ruin the national title aspirations of their bitter rivals, but they could do it in hilarious fashion, tearing down their Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and sending off their much-maligned departing coach with perhaps the biggest win of his career.
On first and goal from the nine, Florida lined up in shotgun, Treon Harris received the snap, and the epitome of the Muschamp-era began to unfold.
Harris threw a dart at rolling Tevin Westbrook in the flat, going through his hands, nailing his shoulder and deflecting perfectly into Terrence Smith’s hands.
From there, things came together perfectly. Tyler Hunter checked Westbrook, Jalen Ramsey delivered a hitstick to Harris and Smith proceeded on his way, jogging leisurely as a squad of Seminoles, consisting of Ronald Darby, Demarcus Walker and Reggie Northrup, served as a forcefield around him.
Doak Campbell, sleepy and fatigued from yet another slow start and immediate deficit, sprung into life, combining joy with incredulity with unstoppable laughter as Smith galloped each of his 94 yards. The high of it would last the rest of the game, persevering through a fourth Winston interception and a failed Florida comeback attempt.
The 2014 season, from start to finish, was strenuous beyond all belief, but in the hilariously-long 13 seconds it took Smith to head from one side of the field to the other, it all almost felt worth it.