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Matchup and Memories: Florida State vs North Carolina

Can FSU repeat its recent success against UNC?

Jones scores a touchdown Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images

Florida State will travel to Chapel Hill this Saturday to face the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Seminoles will look to start a win streak after their victory over Syracuse. Let’s look at FSU’s history against UNC.

  • Opponent: North Carolina Tar Heels
  • First matchup: 12/30/1983 (A 28-3 Florida State win)
  • Series record: FSU leads 16-3-1
  • Current streak: The Noles own a one-game winning streak.
  • Last game: Florida State with Coach Mike Norvell signature FSU win, 31-28.

FSU pulled out the walk-off win over Syracuse last week. Can the Seminoles take a huge step forward and repeat last year’s upset win over UNC? It’ll be a tough task against the fighting Sam Howells. Speaking of Sam Howell...

NoleThruandThru’s Recruiting Reminiscences

Ah, the first recruiting reminiscence that provides some fresh saltiness. Anyone who’s followed Florida State recruiting over the past few seasons knows about Sam Howell. Howell was originally committed to FSU before flipping to UNC, but no need to delve deep here. Also, I still dislike Walt Bell.

Among the 4 and 5 star recruits that FSU has plucked out of the Tar Heel State since the early 2000’s? The Nicholson brothers (AJ in 2002 and Derek in 2005), RB Jamaal Edwards in 2004, DE Everette Brown in 2005, OL Landon Dickerson and LB Josh Brown in 2016, and DB Hamsah Nasirildeen in 2017. Some panned out, while others didn’t, but UNC wanted each one of those recruits.

Matt Minnick’s memorable moment

This week’s trip down memory lane takes us to a game from yesteryear when FSU traveled to Chapel Hill and sent a statement to the Atlantic Coast Conference. No, not the 2003 game when tailback Greg Jones, fresh off an ACL rehab, sent All-ACC safety Dexter Reid flying through the air with a forearm shiver. Sadly, I wasn’t in the stands for that one, although let’s be real—we can always enjoy watching that knockout on repeat.

Instead, we go back even further to the magical 1993 season. After escaping with a few close calls in their inaugural ACC campaign the season prior, the 1993 Seminoles started like a freight train. After blanking the Kansas Jayhawks in the Kickoff Classic, the ‘Noles had outscored their first two ACC opponents (the Duke Blue Devils and Clemson Tigers) by a combined score of 102-7.

But the matchup against UNC was supposed to be different. The Tar Heels finished 1992 with a 9-3 record, including a Peach Bowl victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Returning most of its starters, North Carolina opened the ‘93 season with a 31-9 Pigskin Classic thrashing over a top 25 USC Trojans squad in Anaheim. That set up a top 15 matchup with FSU coming to town and the ACC founding fathers in Chapel Hill were finally going to exact some revenge after their “cheese and wine” basketball crowd got pantsed by Florida State in the Dean Dome.

However, Derrick Brooks and Co. had other plans.

On that September afternoon, a record crowd at Kenan Stadium showed up with designs on tearing down goal posts. It was being billed as the “biggest game in North Carolina history.” Or at least that’s what the talk was before kickoff. And for a fleeting minute, the dream seemed possible. Eventual Heisman winner Charlie Ward tossed his first interception of the season and a diving TD grab by a Tar Heel a few minutes later led to a 7-0 lead for the home team. Unfortunately for Mack Brown’s squad (6 years into his first stint on Tobacco Road), that was the only score on the day for the powder blues.

Ward found freshman Warrick Dunn for the equalizer late in the first quarter, as Ward went 7-7 on the drive. The second quarter was quiet, save for an FSU forced fumble leading to a Scott Bentley field goal, giving the Seminoles a 10-7 halftime advantage.

Florida State then blew things open in the third quarter. A 33-yard Ward strike to Kevin Knox made the score 17-7 and another field goal stretched it to 20-7 a possession later. Two minutes later, Brooks put the game on ice with a pick-6, which was incredibly his third consecutive game scoring a defensive touchdown, personally outscoring FSU’s first four opponents.

When the dust settled, Florida State won 33-7 and all of us Seminole fans who made the trip enjoyed a great time celebrating on Franklin Street.

(The video starts with the UNC return, but you can see all three consecutive scores beginning at 2:06).

Matt Minnick, the resident Tomahawk Nation historian, is a Tallahassee native and life long Seminoles fan, attending over 225 FSU football games across the country since 1986.

We love hearing your favorite Florida State football moments and memories. Drop a comment below sharing your from favorite memory from this matchup.