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Florida State football history lesson: Brett Favre vs. the Seminole defense

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A look at the gunslinger’s history taking on Florida State

Brett Favre So. Miss.

After seeing the photo of Brett Favre vs. FSU from 1989 in the recent outstanding article from your extraordinary TN Staff, I was reminded of my outrage that the previous 2 years of dominance over Brett Farv-ra are often understated and forgotten.

First a little background. A close friend and high school mate went to Providence College and became very good friends with Bobby and Pete Farrelly (Bros.), who filmed much of “There is Something About Mary” down here in South Florida. I was fortunate to watch several scenes, including this one, being filmed. If you are a fan of the Bro’s, this is one of my favorite classic lines from that movie.


In 1987, FSU embarrassed Favre’s Eagles 61-10 in Hattiesburg, giving them their worst loss in history, while holding Favre to 5 of 31 passes against the nasty Florida State defense.

From the Tallahassee Democrat, October 11, 1987, page 39, by Bill McGrotha, via

The Big Easy.

FSU runs over Southern Miss to win 61-10

HATTIESBURG, MS - Southern Mississippi, a proud sort of football team, started playing the game 70 seasons ago, in 1917.

Never had it lost a game like it lost Saturday - to Florida State 61-10. And a sad Homecoming it was, for so many in the crowd of 25,803.

“We were hot, and things went our way some,” said FSU coach Bobby Bowden.

When someone mentioned it was Southern’s worst-ever loss, Bowden said: “Well, they once gave us one of the worst ones we ever had, didn’t they?”

It was so. In 1981, a Southern team, led by Reggie Collier, slammed the Seminoles in Tallahassee 58-14.


In 1988, the Seminole defense once again stifled Favre, holding him to 13 of 36 passing, with a Deion Sanders interception returned for a TD only 20 seconds into the game.

From the Tallahassee Democrat, September 11, 1988, page 37, by Bill McGrotha.


Seminoles’ big plays crunch Southern Miss.

TALLAHASSEE, FL - With a crowd of 53,129 barely settled in Campbell Stadium seats, Deion Sanders sent a message. Special delivery.

And spurred by his 39-yard interception run for a touchdown in the first 20 seconds, Florida State’s football team romped 49-13 victory over Southern Mississippi here Saturday night.

The gifted Sanders, breathtaking on punt returns and a hot defender on the rare occasion ball-carriers came his way, put on a determined show.

“The defense was sharper than the offense - but they just blitzed, blitzed, blitzed!” said Bowden.

“Deion set the pace for us. When you have big-time players, they’re supposed to do that - or we’ll quit calling them big-time players.

“But we’re not playing well enough to beat a Miami or a Clemson. We’ve got to get a lot better.”

Quarterback Favre, who last year completed just 5 of 31 passes against the Seminoles, did a bit better this time - 13 of 36. Southern managed 182 of its 276-yard offensive sum on 16 completions of 41 attempts.

For Bowden, it was an eighth victory in nine outings against an opponent that often has given FSU fits. The 49-13 score was a duplicate of the one against Southern here two years ago.

It was also Bowden’s 11th consecutive victory in a home opener.

And it may have been one of the most welcome, considering what happened a week prior and what’s coming in the weeks ahead.


Finally in 1989, Brett Farv-ra was able to avoid getting swept by the Noles.

From the Tallahassee Democrat, September 3, 1989, page 41, by Bill McGrotha.

Southern Mishap.

FSU stumbles to a 30-26 defeat.

JACKSONVILLE, FL - Nobody said Bobby Bowden was a prophet, but maybe he has his moments.

“Right now we couldn’t look past Vassar,” said Florida State’s coach. “I would say we are only about two-thirds where we were at this time a year ago.”

He said that days before one of life’s little shattering moments here Saturday afternoon. And if none of his players and fans listened then, they may now.

Before a sweat-soaked Gator Bowl crowd of 48,746 and millions more watching on WTBS, Southern Mississippi once again introduced FSU to adversity.

The score was 30-26, and yes it could have been - and very likely should have been - somewhat worse.

In two previous games against FSU, Brett Favre had thrown 66 times for a mere 18 completions and 198 yards. By halftime Saturday, he had 188 yards, and before this one was over, he had scuttled the Seminoles for 21 completions in 39 attempts, 282 yards and two touchdowns, the winning one included.

Trailing 26-24, Favre took Southern to a first down at the 9, then threw a 2-yard pass to tight end Anthony Harris for the touchdown with 23 seconds left.

In a duel of two superb quarterbacks each wearing No. 4, Favre outdid the Seminoles’ Peter Tom Willis but not by much. Willis completed 25 of his 40 passes for 268 yards.

So therefore, the Florida State University Seminole Football team beat Brett Farv-ra two out of the three times he faced FSU as the starting QB at Southern Mississippi University.

I’ll take those odds almost every time against a future NFL Hall Of Famev’ra.