Date: October 2th, 1996
Location: The Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida.
Opponent: 6th-ranked Miami Hurricanes
The 1990’s was a tale of two halves in the heated FSU-Miami rivalry, with the Hurricanes delivering crushing victories to start the decade, while Florida State wrestled back control in the latter half. But it’s what happened in 1996 that would shift the tide in the sunshine state rivalry. By the time 1996 rolled around the Orange Bowl had become a house of horrors for Florida State. Florida State hadn’t beaten Miami in the Orange Bowl since 1984 but that would all change courtesy of Mr. Warrick Dunn and Florida State’s opportunistic defense.
In 1996 the Seminoles were determined to get the jump on Miami. FSU’s defense forced a 3-and-out on Miami’s opening possession. On Miami’s next possession Troy Saunders picked off Ryan Clement to set up a 48 yard Scott Bentley field goal. On Miami’s next possession linebacker Vernon Crawford rocked Danyell Ferguson to force a fumble in which safety Shevin Smith would scoop and race to the endzone for a 54-yard touchdown.
It was starting to look like the first quarter from hell for the Hurricanes and the Seminoles weren’t done yet.
FSU would get the ball back up 10-0 when Mr. Dunn decided it was time to stomp on Miami’s proverbial throat:
Marcus Wimberly’s ankles still haven’t recovered from that run. The run was magnificent, it was cathartic, and it was as if you could hear the entirety of Seminole Nation think ‘we finally might get another victory down here’.
Florida State would go on to win the game 34-16; marking its first victory over the Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl since 1984 where they won 38-3.
This was the second of five straight wins over the Hurricanes to end the 90s and it was the one that finally solved Florida State’s Orange Bowl boogie man vs. the Hurricanes.