Date: November 18, 2000
Location: Doak S. Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.
Opponent: No. 4 Florida Gators
In November 2000, Tallahassee, Florida was the epicenter of the international news cycle. Almost two weeks after Election Day 2000, the eyes of the world were drawn to the Florida’s capital city, eagerly awaiting the final recount results of the divisive Bush-Gore presidential election. The American Presidency hung in the balance.
For the people of Tallahassee, however, the annual Florida State-Florida football game served as more than a mere respite from the political drama and international attention. Perhaps something more important—college football national title implications—hung in the balance on that chilly, damp Saturday night of November 18th. Inside Doak Campbell Stadium, there would be no need for overtime, recounts, appeals, or hanging Chads. There would be no arguments as to who reigned supreme in the state of Florida on this night.
No. 3 Florida State, the defending BCS national champion, faced off against No. 4 Florida in front of 83,042 fans (along with Governor Jeb Bush, Secretary of State Katherine Harris, and two Democratic-appointed Florida Supreme Court justices, who attended the game together in FSU President Sandy D’Alemberte’s box). Having already clinched their ninth consecutive ACC conference title, Florida State looked to cap off the regular season at 11-1 and give themselves a chance at a third straight national championship game berth. Meanwhile, the Gators had wrapped up the SEC East division title the week prior with a win over South Carolina. Florida had stumbled early in the year against unranked Mississippi State, but a win over Florida State followed by a SEC Championship Game victory the next week likely would have propelled the Gators into the BCS national championship game.
The Seminoles ended those hopes swiftly and abruptly. FSU never trailed in the game, scoring two early touchdowns in the first quarter and adding a third on their first second half possession. Flash forward to late in the third quarter. After the Gators were forced to punt deep in their own territory following a three-and-out, sophomore punt returner Nick Maddox (now a Leon County Commissioner) returned the UF punt 18 yards to the FSU 37-yard line. Atrews Bell converted a FSU first down, but then the drive sputtered.
With 1:16 remaining in the third quarter, and the ‘Noles up 21-7 but facing a critical 3rd and 10, Chris Weinke takes the snap out of the shotgun with RB Travis Minor to his right and FB Randy Golightly to his left. As Weinke drops back, he pump fakes hard across the middle, then turns and fires deep to WR Snoop Minnis streaking down the right sideline. The pass sails just beyond the reach of Florida safety Lester Norwood and into the waiting of arms of Minnis, who strolls into the endzone untouched. The 51-yard touchdown provided FSU with a 27-7 cushion, well beyond the reach of the Gators.
The ‘Noles would coast to a 30-7 victory. In his final home game for the Seminoles, Chris Weinke completed 23 of 44 passes for 353 yards and 3 touchdowns, all while suffering from flu-like symptoms. Fellow senior Snoop Minnis grabbed 8 receptions for 187 yards and 2 of those touchdowns. Weinke, of course, earned first team All-American honors and won the Johnny Unitas Award, the Davey O’Brien Award, and the Heisman Trophy. The Carolina Panthers would select him in the fourth round of the 2001 NFL Draft. Snoop Minnis lead the Seminoles in receptions in 2000 and earned first team All-American and All-ACC honors. He was also named a finalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award. The Kansas City Chiefs would select him in the third round of the 2001 NFL Draft.
This 2000 win would be the third straight in the series for the Seminoles over their hated rivals from Gainesville. This win would subsequently become part of a longer streak that saw FSU defeat Florida in 5 of 6 games. The win also extended FSU’s home unbeaten streak at Doak Campbell Stadium to 52 consecutive games.
Meanwhile, this game was Steve Spurrier’s last in Doak. The Ol’ Ball Coach compiled a career 0-5-1 record in Tallahassee, never defeating the Seminoles in Doak Campbell Stadium as head coach of the Gators.
Just over a week after this game, the BCS computers would bump Florida State ahead of Miami in the final rankings of the regular season by .22 points, rewarding FSU with their third consecutive national title game appearance.
Without giving away any spoilers, this is only the first play featuring the duo of Weinke and Snoop to crack our top 100 play countdown. Be sure to check-in daily to Tomahawk Nation to see where a second famous play featuring these two FSU legends lands.