The 1967 Florida State football team, winners of six straight after a 0-2-1 start, had a few goals on its mind on a hot, late November afternoon in Gainesville.
First, back-to-back bowl seasons for the first time in school history. Next, for just the second time ever, a chance to finish the year ranked. There were a few individual accomplishments on the table too: for example, Ron Sellers was leading the nation in receptions yards, a lead he would retain (spoiler alert) by hauling in seven catches for 153 yards against Florida. A lot was on the table for a Seminoles team that had an opportunity to make history in a few ways, but none greater than this: a chance to beat Florida, in Gainesville, for the first time ever.
Outside of the implications above, there were a few other storylines that went into the game. The year before, Florida had finished the season ranked, helped along by a victory against Florida State that was the result of what can be described, at best, as “pure and absolute dumbassery,” a subject matter previously covered by some extremely talented writer in Tomahawk Nation’s countdown earlier. For additional revenge factor implication (that almost definitely wasn’t on the mind of anybody playing at Florida Field that day), 1967 is the year that the University of Florida filed for a patent to Gatorade, five years after Florida State had reportedly invented a drink with similar components.
This time around there would be no chance at Florida State getting robbed, as they dominated early and often that afternoon. The Gators got a field goal in the game’s opening minutes, but that 0-3 score quickly turned to 14-3 before half. Florida would get things close again with a score in the third, and after a failed two-point conversion, things would stand at 14-9.
Enter Kim Hammond.
The redshirt senior, who passed away last year, had already been having a fantastic day, despite leaving before the half with an injury. In two quarters of play he had tossed a touchdown and ran another in, and once he returned, he got straight back to work.
Immediately, he threw a 51-yard bomb to Sellers, placing the Seminoles at the 47. After a three-yard rush by Larry Green, Hammond went under center again, gearing up for a play that would alter the history book of the two school’s rivalry forever.
Hammond stepped back, unloaded, and hit a streaking Sellers in the end zone for a 38-yard score, solidifying Florida State’s historic victory.
“After years of injustice in Florida Field at the hands of the officials, Gator grid squad and Gator rabble-rousers in general,” wrote Florida Flambeau assistant sports editor Ron Scoggins, “the Tribe football team finally humbled the unbelieving lizards in their own primeval swamp 21-16 Saturday afternoon.”
In the aftermath, Florida State would be granted a No. 15 final ranking, along with a berth in the Gator Bowl vs. No. 10 Penn State, a game that would end in a 17-17 tie. Hammond would be named Back of the Week for his three touchdown effort, 10 yards short of finishing the season with the most total offense in the nation, and Sellers would be named to the Football Coaches Association All-American team, leading the nation in catches at 70 and finishing third in yardage with 1,288 yards, an achievement that plays its part in his legacy of one of Florida State’s greatest receivers.
When looking at the annals of Florida State football history the 1967 team, with its 7-2-2 record, doesn’t immediately stick out to you but, considering its body of work, it’s up there as one of the most memorable. Ties vs. two of the most prolific coaches in college football history, a top 15 ranking and, most importantly, finally achieving the sweet, sweet feeling of humbling those unbelieving lizards.