Date: January 2nd, 1995
Location: Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Opponent: No. 5 Florida Gators
It was only fitting that, after the most improbable comeback (at that point) in NCAA history, the Florida State Seminoles and Florida Gators would have a chance to face off in the postseason for the first time in the history of the two schools.
Two months prior, Florida State had flipped a potentially embarrassing loss at the hand of its most hated rival into a bragging point for future generations, and were rewarded with the opportunity to finish off the job in New Orleans. Appropriately dubbed “The Fifth Quarter in the French Quarter,” the game saw the two schools facing off in the aftermath of not just their epic season finale, but a loss by the Miami Hurricanes to Nebraska for the national title.
The game started off simple enough, with the two schools trading a pair of field goals in the first quarter. Florida State struck first with a 21-yarder, with Florida following up with a 22-yard kick with under four minutes left in the first.
The Gators would start another drive in search of follow-up points, but the attempt was thwarted by a Todd Rebol strip of Fred Taylor. After a recovery by Sean Hamlet, the Seminoles set up for a drive of their own, throwing Danny Kanell in shotgun alongside Warrick Dunn, and then let the fireworks rip.
Dunn swung right, caught an easy toss from Kanell, geared up and then launched the ball 40 yards, threading it in to a streaking ‘OMar Ellison who, after a slight bobble off a Gator defender’s helmet, took it another 33 yards to complete the score.
The play isn’t Dunn’s first in the top 100 countdown (and, spoiler alert, won’t be his last), but it still stands out as an early example of what the then-sophmore was capable of, serving as doubly-meaningful for the Louisiana native with it happening in front of his family in the days approaching the two-year anniversary of his mother’s death.
Dunn would go on to be named MVP of the game.
“I had about my whole family there, my grandma there,” Dunn said following the game. “It was great. But right now, I just want to get home and get some crawfish etouffee.”
After the throw (which stood as the longest in Sugar Bowl history for all of eight minutes), the Seminoles led the rest of the game, squashing a Gator comeback in the final minutes of the game and denying Florida the same satisfaction that the Seminoles had earned in Doak Campbell in November. To top things off, the victory also gave Florida State the NCAA record for consecutive bowl wins with 10, a streak that would increase to 11 in 1995 and still stands today.