Date: October 9, 2010
Location: Now— Hard Rock Stadium, Then— Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL
Opponent: No. 13 Miami
College football’s history is full of moments that “weren’t supposed to happen.” Whether it’s a fantastic play to end a game in the 4th quarter or an underdog pulling off the upset, the sport is littered with examples of these types of events. It’s a part of what makes the game exciting and bookies rich. Anything can happen in a 1-game series, and a lot of times, it does. Consistency, however, is a different animal altogether.
One of the true hallmarks of a great team, or player, is being able to perform at a high level and then replicate those results over and over. You did something spectacular once, but can you do it again? Those that can’t are largely forgotten. But, those that can are remembered long after their playing days are over. One night, and a series of plays in particular, show why former Florida State running back Chris Thompson is considered a Seminole great.
2010 was a transitional year for the FSU football program. It was Jimbo Fisher’s first year as head coach, taking over the reigns from a true legend of the sport in Bobby Bowden. The ’Noles were at the tail end of the “Lost Decade” and looking for a reversal of fortune. Those within the program were looking to achieve the sustained success that was synonymous with the Seminoles teams of the 80s and 90s. They craved consistency, and the only way a team can do that is to have exceptional players. Fisher definitely had one in Chris Thompson.
Florida State rolled into its game against the No. 13 Miami Hurricanes with a 4-1 record and as the No. 23 ranked team in the country. The team came in with an aggressive gameplan, and the results were immediate. The ’Noles took a 38-17 lead late into the 4th quarter against their in-state rival. With around 5 minutes left to play in the game, Fisher and the Seminoles were focused on running out the clock and leaving Miami with a win.
FSU’s QB, Christian Ponder, took the snap from his own 19-yard line and fed the ball to Chris Thompson. Thompson bounced the run outside and dashed all the way inside of the Hurricane 30-yard line. It was a spectacular play in a high pressure situation. It was also negated by a penalty.
The ’Noles were now backed up an extra 10 yards, and Fisher called Thompson’s name another time. After such an untimely penalty, could Thompson do it again? Was he a great player or just very good? You be the judge.
Consistency sometimes takes years to evaluate, and sometimes it can take a couple of minutes. Thompson responded with a run that was even better than the one that preceded it. He solidified the win for his team, his reputation as a great running back, and the beginning of a 7-year FSU win streak against the Canes.
Thompson would go on to have more memorable moments as a Seminole and is continuing to make an impact in the NFL. He makes the improbable look routine on a consistent basis, just like he did on this October night in Miami. It’s one of the reasons why we’re still talking about to him to this very day.