Date: August 28, 1999
Location: Doak S. Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.
Opponent: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
The 1999 Florida State Seminoles were one of the most dominant teams of the decade. They went undefeated. They were the first team in the history of college football to go wire-to-wire No. 1 in the AP Poll. The offense scored 458 points over 12 games, and their average margin of victory per game was 21 points.
Despite the aforementioned accolades, the season opener against unranked Louisiana Tech started off very sluggish for FSU. With a big conference matchup against No. 10 Georgia Tech looming in week two, perhaps the ‘Noles were overlooking the Bulldogs. Perhaps No. 1 Florida State was just expecting La Tech to come into Doak, roll over, and play dead. Either way, the game was tied at 7 almost until halftime. Almost.
Senior flanker Peter Warrick, already considered one of the most electrifying players in the country, bypassed the NFL Draft to deliver a national title. He was not about to stand for these shenanigans.
With 2:56 remaining until halftime, the Florida State offense took over at their own 5-yard line. On the first third down of the possession, Peter Warrick took a reverse 21 yards for a first down to keep the drive alive.
Later in the drive, from the La Tech 20-yard line and with under a minute to go until halftime, quarterback Chris Weinke pitched the ball left to running back Pete Henderson on what appears to be a toss sweep. On the snap, Peter Warrick —lined up in the left slot—comes right around the edge and takes the hand-off from Henderson. It’s another reverse.
As Warrick takes the handoff, he’s already nine yards deep and is met almost immediately by the Louisiana Tech defensive end. To the untrained eye, he’s choked off and appears trapped.
Yet as was so often the case with Peter Warrick, impending insanity ensues. He cuts back inside and bounces off the first would-be tackler. As he’s reversing the field, he briefly loses his grip on the ball, causing him to juggle it up into his facemask, before he simultaneously regains control and makes another La Tech defender miss. At this point, it appears as if he’s cut off at the corner again, this time to the left boundary. Somehow, P-Dub manages to find a very narrow opening between the La Tech defensive line and secondary. After having already reversed the field twice, he cuts back across the middle of the field, making another La Tech defender completely miss and narrowly slipping out of the tackle of another, before turning on the jets in the open field and crossing the goal line. In the stat sheet, it was merely a 20-yard rush by Peter Warrick for a touchdown. However, the play lives on in Seminole lore as one of the most incredibly elusive and jaw-dropping plays made by a legend who produced a career full of them.
Florida State would take a 14-7 lead into the locker room and proceed to blow the game open in the second half. The Seminoles would defeat the Bulldogs by a final of 41-7.
Peter Warrick would finish the La Tech game with 41 yards rushing on two carries and nine catches for 121 yards.
One of the legends of his time, Peter Warrick showed his unbelievable ability to change the outcome of a play, a game, and an entire season, all while making defenses look silly in the process.
This won’t be the last appearance Mr. Warrick has in this countdown making defenses pick up their collective jock straps.