Date: November 20, 1999
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, aka The Swamp, Gainesville, FL
Opponent: No. 3 Florida Gators
For those paying close attention to the Top 100 countdown, you have to wonder how we made it 57 days without any electrifying plays courtesy of #9 from Brandenton Southeast. All the traditional Tallahassee transcendent stars have made an appearance to date, including Prime Time, Warrick Dunn, Chris Weinke, Charlie Ward, Jameis Winston, Marvin Jones, Ron Sellers, Dalvin Cook, Derrick Brooks...but WHERE IS PETER WARRICK?!
He thought you’d never ask.
On the arduous road to Florida State’s second national championship in 1999, the regular season showdown against UF proved a formidable hurdle, as the wire-to-wire #1 Seminoles traveled into the Swamp to face a #3 ranked Gator squad. Tomahawk Nation’s Trey Rowland articulated the gravity of this contest and how it ended with play #76 in the countdown.
Unlike the 2013 national title, Florida State’s 1999 path to a championship game involved thrilling high-wire contests against their traditional rivals. A shorthanded wide receiver segment against Miami required a late game surge, Bowden Bowl #1 at Clemson was a nail biting field goal victory, and the path through Gainesville was harrowing.
1999 was the second season for the Bowl Championship Series(BCS), but for nearly the entire decade of the 1990’s the UF-FSU match-up served as a defacto playoff game.
Florida coach Steve Spurrier had lost only 3 out of 60 home games in the Swamp, and the 1997 victory over top-ranked FSU was a soul crushing upset, as the Gators toppled the most vicious defense(by QB body count) in Seminole history by rotating a pair of quarterbacks. 2 years later, Spurrier had another opportunity dash Bobby Bowden’s dreams.
Saint Bobby decided to party like it was 1999 in 1999. He responded by letting Spurrier know, “I see your 2 quarterbacks, and I raise you FOUR quarterbacks”. That is correct. On FSU’s first offensive drive, the Seminoles put Chris Weinke, Marcus Outzen(Croc Killer), Dan Kendra(capillary killer), and Peter Warrick behind center to receive snaps. On 2nd and goal from the 4, Warrick’s second wildcat snap of the drive was a designed run left. The future NFL talent-laden Gator defense all flowed to their right and completely snuffed out the designed play. Unfortunately for them, #9 could stick his foot in the ground and turn the perfectly defensed play into 6 points. So that’s exactly what he did.
In an eventual 30-23 triumph, there were a slew of huge plays from both sides, including a crucial game changing blocked punt by Tommy Polley and pick-6 by UF’s Bennie Alexander. Much like the 1997 defeat, FSU had to settle for too many field goals deep in Gator territory. But the ‘Noles cashed in 7-0 early and maintained the final margin thanks to #9’s unparalleled athletic skills.
Hope you enjoyed Peter Warrick’s first appearance in the countdown, because you’ll be seeing more of him. A LOT more.