Date: October 3rd, 2002
Location: Doak Campbell Stadium
Opponent: Clemson Tigers
We’ve seen sibling rivalries in college football before, but a father-son coaching rivalry was unheard of.
December 2nd, 1998 marked the day that Tommy Bowden was named head coach of Clemson University, and a father-son rivalry was born, with his father, Bobby, already cemented as a legendary head coach at fellow ACC institution Florida State.
It didn’t take long for the two teams’ clashes to become known as the Bowden Bowl, an annual matchup that saw Ann Bowden — wife of Bobby and mother of Tommy — torn in her rooting loyalty. Ann popularly confessed that while pulling for her husband, she still wanted her son to do well. It wasn’t just the Bowden family who were on hand for this matchup, as fans were also very much invested in this exciting, yet competitive day. In fact, 86,092 fans attended the first Bowden Bowl.
When the Seminoles traveled to South Carolina to take on the Tigers on October 23rd, 1999, the two head coaches were faced with the opportunity to go head-to-head in their first father-son matchup. By 2002, the Seminoles’ Bowden had dominated the series with three consecutive wins over his son, but Tommy’s Tigers looked to snap the winning streak and pad their lead atop the conference standings.
Unfortunately, Bobby’s 25-year head start at coaching proved evident, as Tommy once again fell short of victory.
On a Thursday night in October of 2003, the two head coaches stepped onto the field for Bowden Bowl IV. Although it was undefeated in conference play, Florida State was coming off of a 26-20 defeat at Louisville in its previous game. Meanwhile, Clemson entered the contest confident and enthusiastic, having won three in a row.
While the Bowdens battled it out on the sidelines, FSU’s 240-pound junior running back Greg Jones sought to excel against the flagship school for his home state. Jones, born and raised in South Carolina, reunited with many of his former high school friends on the field. While Bobby and Tommy were certainly out for victory, each conducted himself in a friendly manner; Jones on the other hand, wasn’t playing so nicely.
Clemson’s offensive performance practically matched that of Florida State’s in the first half, as the Seminoles led 28-24 at intermission, but the Tigers were unable to stop the ’Noles late in the game.
Literally, they had no answer for Jones. Especially on the play included below.
With about seven and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter, Clemson needed a stop, trailing 41-31. But Jones wanted the end zone even more. On a first and 10 play with FSU approaching the Tigers’ red zone, he carried off the left side, ripping through nearly the entire Clemson defense before scoring his final touchdown and icing the Florida State win.
Seriously. In the span of a 21-yard TD gallop, Jones broke eight — eight — Clemson tackles.
The score carried the Seminoles to a 47-31 defeat of the Tigers, marking a pivotal victory in FSU’s ACC-championship season.