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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Seminoles Sack Gators for No. 1 Spot

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- The way it usually works at Florida State is that the Seminoles start out on top and figure out how to mess it up. Not this season. In a testament to the power of defense, special teams, and a soft-spoken tailback with Fred Astaire's feet and John Wayne's guts, the No. 2 Seminoles completed a season-long climb by defeating No. 1 Florida, 24-21.


The win assured Florida State (11-0) of a berth in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2, where the Seminoles will play for their second national championship in four seasons.


It is not happenstance that those four seasons have coincided with the career of Warrick Dunn. The tailback rushed for a career-high 185 yards, caught four passes and completed one. Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel came into Doak Campbell Stadium with the Heisman Trophy attention. Before a record crowd of 80,932, Dunn outplayed him.


That wasn't necessarily Wuerffel's fault. Whomever the Seminoles play in New Orleans -- it will be No. 4 Nebraska if the Huskers win the Big 12 championship game against Texas next week -- they had better be able to protect their quarterback. Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews outlined his strategy in simple terms.


"You've got to make him climb off the ground to see what happened,'' Andrews said. The Seminoles overwhelmed an inexperienced offensive line, sacking Wuerffel six times. Wuerffel completed 23-of-48 for 362 yards and three scores.


Seminole Thad Busby completed 12-of-32 for 124 yards and one touchdown.


The teams combined for 19 penalties worth 223 yards.


Early in the fourth quarter a crucial penalty helped alter the course of the game. Wuerffel threw a 26-yard pass to Anthony that would have put Florida ahead 21-17. However, a holding call pushed the Gators (10-1) back to the 40. They failed to make a first down and Bart Edmiston missed a 41-yard field-goal try.


Thus reprieved, the Seminoles churned out an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Fullback Pooh Bear Williams scored on his third attempt from the one and the Seminoles led 24-14 with 7:15 to play.


The touchdown gave the Seminoles the cushion to withstand Wuerffel's two-yard TD pass to Anthony with 1:19 to play. An onside kick tumbled out of bounds, taking the Gators' hopes with it.


(For other results, see Scorecard.)