Date: November 21st, 1998
Location: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Opponent: No. 4 Florida Gators
What’s the best way to describe Peter Warrick?
Talk about a loaded question. How do you define a player that meant so much to the Florida State program and its fanbase? Clearly, he was supremely talented with a gift for making plays in the biggest moments. Warrick did things on the field that often left observers breathless and awestruck. Additionally, he was a critical component of arguably the best period in the history of FSU football.
Oddly enough, when thinking about Warrick for this article, I was reminded of a scene from the movie Friday Night Lights.
In it, the character of LV Miles is describing the skills possessed by his nephew Boobie to a group of college coaches:
“That boy can play some football. He can play left, he can play right, don’t make no difference. He can block, tackle, score the touchdown, snap the ball, and kick the extra point. Hell, the boy will fill up the Gatorade cooler, walk the dog, and paint your back porch. I’m telling ya, the boy can flat-out play football.
Oh, and he can pass!”
Obviously, that’s a pretty phenomenal quote. It’s also laced with hyperbole because very few players, if any, could do what Miles is describing. However, when you look at the evidence, this quote is spot-on when describing what Warrick was capable of on the field.
He could run.
He could score the touchdown.
He could flat-out play football.
In fact, the only thing Warrick didn’t really do from the above quote was pass the ball...right?
On November 21st, 1998, No. 5 Florida State hosted No. 4 Florida at Doak Campbell Stadium. Things were not looking great for the ’Noles, as they had lost starting quarterback Chris Weinke to a season-ending injury in a game against Virginia. In his second career start, Marcus “The Rooster” Outzen was given the task of trying to beat one of the best teams in the country with a possible berth in the first-ever BCS National Championship Game on the line.
Outzen was gonna need some help, and luckily, he had Warrick.
The Gators actually held a 12-6 lead at the half with FSU’s only points coming off of 2 Sebastian Janikowski field goals. The Seminoles needed a spark.
They were about to get a whole lot more than that.
On their first possession of the second half, Outzen fired off a pass that bounced off the helmet of a Gator defender. Warrick caught the deflection and weaved through the rest of the opposition for a TD that gave the Seminoles their first lead of the game.
Early in the 4th quarter, Florida State had the ball back again at the UF 46-yard line after a bad punt. Outzen tossed the ball to running back Travis Minor. Minor took the pitch, turned upfield, and then zipped past the rest of the Florida defense for the score!
Just kidding. It was called back for “holding.”
With the ’Noles now stuck in their own truncated version of the movie Groundhog Day and asked to do the same thing over again, who would head coach Bobby Bowden call on in his time of need? Which one of his players could get him the points that would secure this victory?
Spoiler alert, it was Warrick. But, not in the way that anyone expected.
The play started off just like the one that preceded it with an Outzen toss to Minor. From there, things got interesting.
Minor then flipped the ball to Warrick on a wide receiver reverse. Just as the defense was trying to come to grips with this change in direction, Warrick uncorked a pass to a wide-open Ron Dugans. Dugans took the ball to the house, and the Seminoles took a 20-12 lead that they never gave up.
Florida State beat the Gators and secured a chance to compete for a National Championship in the Fiesta Bowl against Tennessee. For personal reasons, I will not spend any more time referencing that particular game.
On that night in November of 1998, Warrick showed off just another weapon in his endless arsenal. It was a moment that was added to one of the most impressive highlight reels in college football history. That night was just further evidence that Warrick was one of the best players to ever wear the garnet and gold.
He set records, won titles, and is still talked about to this day by Seminole fans.