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Matchups and Memories: Taking a look at the series history between FSU vs. Oklahoma

A look at the history between Florida State and the Sooners

Oklahoma v Florida State Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Florida State, looking to take the next step towards winning a national title, with a game against the Oklahoma Sooners being that first move.

A plot point that now is occurring for the fourth time since 2000 and multiple times over the course of the series’ history, FSU and Oklahoma have met on the football field seven times overall with the Sooners leading the all-time series 6-1.

It’s FSU’s first game vs. a Big 12 opponent since its 2014 season opener vs. the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Here’s a look at the history between Florida State and Oklahoma over the years.

Florida State vs. Oklahoma: Series History

First-ever meeting: 1965, Seminoles win

Florida State’s only win in the series came in the first meeting between the two schools, a 1965 matchup in the Gator Bowl that was the Seminoles’ fourth-ever bowl appearance and second in the Sunshine State (FSU’s only other was its first bowl, the 1950 Cigar Bowl in Tampa vs. Wofford).

The Seminoles had now had nearly 20 years to build a fanbase and after a fantastic season, was rewarded with a massive crowd to watch head coach Bill Peterson’s 8-1-1 squad take on the 6-3-1 Sooners who, despite the record, had established themselves already as a college football powerhouse.

1964 was a major step towards consistent relevancy for Florida State in a number of ways — most importantly, beating the Florida Gators for the first time ever (our story from 2010 on the 1965 Gator Bowl, written by FrankDNole, is a fantastic look into that year). The win over the Gators earned FSU an invitation to the Gator Bowl, where the Seminoles capped off arguably best season at that point in program history.

From the Tallahassee Democrat (via

The Florida State University Seminoles broke a dozen or so Gator Bowl records Saturday afternoon in a convincing 36-19 victory over the Oklahoma University Sooners.

One record was broken even before the game started when 50,408 people filed into the Gator Bowl on a sunshiny, spring-like afternoon. This was the largest crowd ever to watch a game here.

All 50,408 - plus a national TV audience - got their money’s worth in a game that had everything, but mainly it had Steve Tensi and Fred Biletnikoff, who were named co-winners of the FSU most valuable player trophy.

Tensi broke four passing records and Biletnikoff broke four receiving records. Several team records were also broken. Tensi threw for 5 TDs, four of them to All-American Biletnikoff.

More than 12,000 FSU fans from the Big Bend followed the team here but before the day was over the Seminoles had thousands more of “live” fans from all over Florida and undoubtedly many more via TV.

This marked the first time ever that FSU, playing outside of Tallahassee, had a predominantly partisan crowd. The ovations the team got when it came on the field was reminiscent of the FSU-Florida game last November in Tallahassee.

One impressed fellow was heard to comment “FSU really isn’t a girls school anymore, is it?”

The game itself was a football fan’s dream. The number of points scored by FSU was a Gator Bowl record. The combined total of both teams, in points and yards gained, set records. And FSU’s Seven Magnificents put the icing on the cake with a magnificent goal line stand at the game’s end.

There was just never a dull moment.

Late 1970s, early 1980s: Oklahoma starts win streak

The next time Florida State took on Oklahoma, there was a new level of relevancy that the Seminoles were seeking.

Bobby Bowden, an assistant on that 1964 squad, had been hired as head coach and was struggling in his first year (the only losing season in his tenure). A loss to Memphis on the road was followed by a 47-0 blowout at the hands on the Miami Hurricanes, setting the Seminoles at 0-2 with a game on the road against No. 4 Oklahoma up next on the docket.

And while the Sooners won 24-9, it was the first time that season that Florida State showed signs of what the program could become under Bowden.

From the Tallahassee Democrat (via

NORMAN, OK - Simply, if also incredibly, it was a football game Florida State could have won, might have won.

Conceding Oklahoma’s national champions not one thing going in, the Seminoles stung the prideful Sooners time and again - offensively and defensively.

Before 71,286 people - biggest crowd ever to see Florida State play - Oklahmoa unhappily settled for a 24-9 victory.

It should have been closer than that.

Trailing 10-6 late in the first half, Florida State moved inside the Oklahoma 1-yard line. But a fumble following a pitchout was well played by the Sooners ended an opportunity to retake the lead.

Switzer said that if it hadn’t been for costly mistakes the Sooners could have had 30 points on the scoreboard. “But I want to congratulate Florida State,” he said. “They played us better than California did.” … Said Oklahoma runner Elvis Peacock: “Their defense was rough. We thought we knew about what they would be trying to do, and then they would run in a different defense on us.”

“We had an excellent effort out there today,” said Bowden, “we needed some fumbles out of Oklahoma. We didn’t get ‘em.” … Only two. “So,” added Bowden, “we fumbled - which was ridiculous. Oklahoma took the fumble play out of their offense. We didn’t. But we played about as good as we could. They fought today, and there’s still a chance for the Seminoles to be a football team. We’ve had three games on the road and that just irritates me to death.”

FSU would face off against Oklahoma two more times in the next five years after that matchup, consecutive games in Orange Bowl (1980, 1981) of which both were Florida State losses.

FSU headed into the 1980 matchup undefeated at 11-0 but No. 4 in the country since the Seminoles were an independent program still looking to solidify national respect.

From our 2010 piece on the 1980 Orange Bowl:

During the ‘79 season, the Noles, with our two headed QB, defeated Southern Miss (17-14), Arizona State in Tampa (31-3), Miami (40-23), at Virginia Tech (17-10), at Louisville (27-0), Miss. State (17-6), at LSU (24-19), at Cincinnati (26-21), South Carolina (27-16), Memphis State (66-17), and finally at Florida (27-16) keeping the despicable lizards win-less (0-10-1) for the fourth time in their history. Despite an undefeated season, the Noles had not yet garnered national respect and were only ranked #4 heading south to play the #5 ranked Sooners.

Florida State lost 24-7, finishing the year as the No. 6 team in the country.

In 1980, while Florida State had lost 10-9 to Miami, the Seminoles still went into the Orange Bowl as the No. 2 team in the country after securing wins vs. No. 3 Nebraska and No. 2 Pitt.

While No. 1 Georgia won its bowl game against No. 7 Notre Dame earlier that day, FSU still had an outside shot at getting national title votes if it beat No. 4 Oklahoma in Miami.

From the above piece:

Once again the second ranked 10-1 Noles would face off against the 4th ranked 9-2 Sooners on New Years day in the Orange Bowl, with the Noles seeking vengeance for the previous years defeat at the hands of OU.

This time it would be a hard fought game down to the wire, with the Seminole defense shutting down the potent Oklahoma wishbone attack and only giving up 146 yards. But once again the Sooners would put a dagger into our collective hearts by marching 78 yards, scoring, and converting the 2 point conversion with 1:27 left in the game against a Seminole defense that hadn’t allowed a fourth quarter TD all season. The Nole defense forced the Sooners to rely on the pass but they could not stop the big plays when it mattered most during the Sooners late 4th quarter comeback, and despite OU’s 6 turnovers, one of which was a bad snap on a punt recovered by the Seminole’s for a TD.

In the last 1:27, FSU drove to the OU 45-yard line and Bill Capece missed on a desperation 62-yard FG attempt as time runs out. FSU lost the game 17-18 and finished the season ranked #5. This superseded the previous years #6 ranking and was now the highest ranking ever by a FSU team, but of little comfort.

BCS National Championship: 2001, Sooners secure title

Another matchup, another Orange Bowl, another national title on the line — except this time, in a way different format and circumstances.

Florida State no longer needed to establish reason for respect, having earned its second national title the year before, becoming the first team to ever go start-to-finish as the No. 1 team in the country. The Seminoles had finished as a top-four team for 13 straight years and in 2000, was on the cusp of further establishing its dominance. A loss to Miami had FSU on the outside looking in for a few weeks, but wins over No. 21 NC State Wolfpack, No. 10 Clemson Tigers and No. 4 Florida Gators put Florida State in the third-ever (and program’s third-straight) BCS Championship game.

But the Sooners, back in title contention under second-year head coach Bob Stoops, squashed hopes of Florida State repeating as champions.

From the Tallahassee Democrat (via

No. 3 Florida State (11-2) came into the game as 1O 1/2 point favorites and were hoping to become the first team to repeat as national champions since Nebraska in 1994-95. Had the Seminoles won, No. 2 Miami (11-1) would have staked a claim to a share of the title.

Heupel completed 25 of 39 passes for 214 yards and kept the Seminoles’ defense off balance all night.

Tim Duncan kicked two field goals and Quentin Griffin scored the clinching touchdown on a 1O yard run up the middle with 8:30 left in the game. Florida State avoided its first shutout in 12 seasons when Stanford Samuels tackled Oklahoma punter Jeff Ferguson in the end zone for a safety with 55 seconds remaining.

Florida State got the ball back on the ensuing free kick, but Weinke’s 29 yard pass into the end zone was intercepted by Ontei Jones with 16 seconds left and the celebration began.

After Heupel took a knee and the clock ran down, The Pride of Oklahoma Band broke out in yet another rendition of “Boomer Sooner” and the players and fans converged on the field to celebrate.

The Seminoles offense was a mess. Without All-American receiver Snoop Minnis, suspended for failing grades, and offensive coordinator Mark Richt perhaps preoccupied with his new job as Georgia’s new coach, Florida State generated just 301 total yards, 248 under its average.

2010s series: Oklahoma dominates, then escapes

Once again, a new decade had gave way to a new era of Florida State football. Instead of establishing dominace or seeing it fade, the Seminoles were looking to rebuild with a new head coach leading the program.

2010 was the first year of the Jimbo Fisher tenure, one that saw FSU start as the No. 20 team in the country. After a 59-6 win over Samford to start the season and Fisher’s head coaching career, FSU went on the road to Norman to face off against the No. 10 Sooners, two years removed from a national championship game appearance.

The Sooners were too much for Florida State, who found out what further steps needed to be taken as it established itself under Fisher.


A week after a memorable start to the Jimbo Fisher era at Florida State, Saturday’s 47-17 loss at No. 10 Oklahoma is one that the coaches and players at FSU would soon like to forget - except maybe for the valuable learning experiences that such an experience can provide.

Besides a nearly flawless first offensive possession to start the top-25 showdown, not much else went right for the No. 17 Seminoles in Norman, Okla. as the Sooners were able to successfully extend their super-successful home winning streak to 32 consecutive games.

Now, the question is how does FSU — a team still learning a brand new defensive scheme and breaking in a host of youngsters on both sides of the ball — respond?

Fourteen days into the 2010 campaign and the new-look football program at Florida State has experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows.

The opening-day smack-down of Samford at home displayed a potent offensive attack and renewed defensive intensity that excited the fanbase and put the national media on notice. But against Oklahoma (2-0), the Seminoles (1-1) had 345 yards offensively and gave up 487 yards on the defensive side of the ball.

In 2011, fresh off an ACC Championship Game appearance and win over South Carolina in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Florida State had lofty expectations.

FSU blew out Louisiana-Monroe and Charleston Southern to start the year, earning a No. 5 ranking ahead of a matchup vs. the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners that many still remember as one of the loudest games in Doak Campbell Stadium.

The Seminoles and Sooners traded blows from start to finish, even when EJ Manuel had to leave the game early with an injured shoulder.

Quarterback Clint Trickett, with the eyes of the entire country on him and the expectations of a fan base desperate to return to college football’s elite, took on the pressure and very nearly delivered, producing one of the most exciting plays in school history despite the end result of a loss.

Staring down a third and 28 from the Seminoles’ 44-yard line, trailing 13-6 in the fourth quarter, Trickett hit Rashad Greene for a 56-yard touchdown to tie up the game.

Ultimately, Oklahoma would tack on a touchdown and field goal to earn the win, but the game was another step for Florida State and, just like in years prior, a showcase for what the head coach’s vision for the program could be.

Facing off once more in a bowl game with a head coach working towards establishing his vision for the program, Florida State and Oklahoma are set for a 5:30 p.m. kickoff from Orlando, with the game set to be broadcast on ESPN.

According to DraftKings, FSU is currently a 10-point favorite over Oklahoma, with the over/under set at 65.5 points.