clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The top 100 FSU football plays: No. 27—James Colzie dives so Florida State can survive

New, 13 comments

The sophomore’s late interception set up the Seminoles to finish off one of the greatest comebacks in college football history

FSU V NOTRE DAME

It was November 26, 1994, late in the third quarter and the Florida Gators, on an 80-yard drive no less, had just taken a 31-3 lead on its most bitter rival.

Like most of the showdowns between the two universities in the ‘90s, the 1994 edition was a matchup between two top 10 teams and Florida State, fresh off its first title, was faltering in front of a national audience.

After a Seminole field goal, Florida kicked the actual scoring off with 68-yard catch-and-run by way of Danny Wuerffel and Aubrey Hill, and before halftime had come, they’d added two more touchdowns and field goal for good measure.

And then came the final straw, and incidentally, the final Florida score: that aforementioned 80-yard drive, capped off with a Wuerffel sneak-and-score.

The fourth quarter begun and Florida State, employing a no-huddle offense, managed to finally reach the end zone, taking things to 31-10. The Gators, playing conservative, ran the ball quickly and inefficiently, punting away to set up a three-play, 33-second Seminole scoring drive.

31-17, 10:04 left. Another Florida drive, another punt, another Florida State score, this time a rumbling, stumbling Danny Kanell scramble. 31-24, 5:25, Gator ball.

Florida actually started off strong, getting ideal field position off the return and a first down completion immediately. Fred Taylor almost ripped off a huge run on the following play, but instead, was ripped down by Daryl Bush in the open field.

The Gators committed a false start, and then, on second-and-13, Wuerffel dropped back, loaded up, and threw to nobody by the dividing line between in and out of bounds.

With a leap and lunge, James Colzie snagged the ball and set up the Seminoles to finish off one of college football’s greatest comebacks.

“I remember we were pretty much a press team, and whenever Florida would check, we would back out and key up our alignments,” Colzie said in an oral history of the game. “They would do certain things when we would press and do certain things when we backed out, so we tried to confuse them. I knew the [defensive] call was ‘Robber.’ I remember it vividly because we ran it so much. Me being on the No. 2 receiver, I had outside leverage and help inside. Knowing Spurrier as well as we knew him from playing so many times, we knew they were a big outside team. They like smash routes, a stop route and a corner. They were going to run a certain route with me pressed, and I backed out late, so there was probably some miscommunication. They were going to run a corner route, but when the receiver saw me back out, I don’t think Wuerffel did.”

In the end, a 37-yard Warrick Dunn down the sideline and Rock Preston two-yard score would solidify the comeback, but without Colzie’s interception, those plays, and the bragging rights secured by their execution, wouldn’t have been able to come into fruition.