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The top 100 FSU football plays: No. 12— Rashad Greene splits Auburn D, sets up BCS victory

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The game/season/title is on the line: Where is #80? Right here as expected.

Gimme that collar and/or facemask!
Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Date: January 6th, 2014

Location: BCS National Championship Game, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA

Opponent: No. 2 Auburn Tigers

Rashad Greene re-wrote the receiving record books at Florida State during his 4 brilliant seasons. Nearly a clean sweep of major categories.

  • Most career yards(3,830 - ACC record)
  • Most career catches(270)
  • Most catches in a season(99)
  • Most consecutive games with a reception(43)

Nary a record was achieved piling up garbage times stats or exploiting weak opponents. All his 100+ yard games came against conference foes, bowl opponents, or Notre Dame(twice in 2 tries).

Greene made his living with Big Plays at Big Moments in Big Games.

Is it possible that this all-time great Seminole is actually underappreciated? Let’s discuss.

You’re probably quite familiar with Rashad Greene’s most memorable moments by now, and why not?

He’s the only Nole featured in a Top 100 play during 4 different seasons at FSU(2011 to 2014)

Defenders chasing Rashad Greene unsuccessfully was a 4 year theme.
K-Man’s Lab

Wow. What a greatest hits album. And this doesn’t even mention his B-Side tracks like:

  • The Antonio Freeman-esque sliding backside catch in the Champs Bowl, or the ridiculous leaping grab from same game pictured above.
  • The game clincher in Jerry’s World where he went over 200 yards.
  • The huge TD against Notre Dame in 2014.
  • The 56-yarder to turn around the Boston College game in 2013.

Getting tired of bullet lists? It’s the only way to corral Greene’s accomplishments.

January 6th, 2014: Jameis Winston’s 20th birthday

If you’re like most serious Seminole fans, you’ve watched the 2014 BCS Championship game against Auburn backwards and forwards several dozen times. You know how bleak things appeared in the 1st half until Jimbo pulled off a desperate/surgical trick play.

Following a big play that MAY appear higher in the countdown, Auburn retook the lead 31-27 to give Jimbo Fisher and his Heisman trophy winner 71 seconds and one final chance to wrestle back the crystal ball. Florida State had timeouts and confidence, but they could really use a big play. On first down, a bunched twins right formation had FSU’s Kenny Shaw clear out the middle while Rashad took a quick out pass into the voided space, gaining 8 yards and stopping the clock out of bounds.

Down to 1:05 left, 2nd & 2. Driving down the field 8 yards a clip won’t quite cut it. 4 receiver set, Shaw & Greene split right again, this time not stacked and Greene out wide. Both receivers run quick square-ins. Shaw draws his man #24 Ryan white towards middle of field, Jameis spots Rashad open and fires a strike. A quick innocuous 5-yard route in close coverage. But Rashad Greene does what he’s done his entire career and makes the biggest play of his life. Manned up against the Kick-6 hero that knocked off Alabama, that would be #11 Chris Davis of the Tigers(his name MAY come up again later on another countdown play). #24 tries to recover back to make the tackle, but Greene is too quick and takes the tiny open space between the 2 Auburn defenders, forcing them to slam together like low-level goons in gangster movie.

Greene is off to the races, each swift stride eating up valuable real estate as #19 Ryan Smith(a Tallahassee native) gives chase. Smith pulls off the improbable horse collar/face mask combo that goes uncalled, likely a good thing for FSU, as it allowed Winston to eat up more clock before the game winning play.

The glorious 49-yard catch-and-run has become a familiar play in an unforgettable game. As Greene broke free, the television microphones pick up a Nole fan literally howling “Gooo! Gooo!”. As the play ends, the microphones pick up FSU athletic director(thank you for your service) Stan Wilcox clapping a few feet away. Jimbo Fisher pulled his hamstring chasing down the play and calling for a penalty.

On the penultimate FSU offensive play, Greene draws a crucial 3rd down pass interference penalty in the end zone, again victimizing Kick-6 Chris Davis.

Earlier in the game, cameras caught Seminole Legend Lee Corso’s face unable to contain his excitement as Greene made a 29-yard catch to set up FSU’s first points.

Win one for the Sunshine Scooter
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

During the aforementioned game winning play that MAY appear later in the countdown, ESPN’s Brent Musburger completes the touchdown play call saying, “...You know who he went to...#1...”

Quite true, since FSU was on the 2-yard line going in. But when you’re on your own 28-yard line with a minute to play and the national championship hanging in the balance, you go to #80. Auburn knew it and still could not stop Rashad Greene.

So is it possible that Rashad Green is underappreciated? Hard to say.

But it’s impossible to over-appreciate his contributions to Florida State University football.