1993 Florida State vs. Notre Dame football game
|1993 Florida State vs. Notre Dame|
|Date||November 13, 1993|
|Stadium||Notre Dame Stadium|
|Location||South Bend, Indiana|
|United States TV coverage|
The 1993 Florida State vs. Notre Dame Game was a regular season college football game between the unbeaten Florida State Seminoles (ranked #1 in the nation), and the unbeaten Notre Dame Fighting Irish (ranked #2 in the nation). The game took place at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. The game is one of the 20th Century college football games to be coined a "Game of the Century".
The build up
Florida State entered the game as the #1 team in the country, led by quarterback Charlie Ward who would go on to win the Heisman Trophy that season. Notre Dame came into the game ranked #2 in the country. Though Notre Dame was home they entered the game as the underdog to a powerful Bobby Bowden led Florida State Squad. Notre Dame was led by head coach Lou Holtz. This was the fourth time that Notre Dame had taken part in a Game of the Century. Notre Dame's 1935 showdown with Ohio State was their first appearance in one of these historic games. Their 1946 match up against the Army Black Knights was the second instance; and their 1966 match up against the Michigan State Spartans was the third.
NBC had exclusive rights to all Fighting Irish home games, and marketed the game as a "Game of the Century." The media coverage leading up to the game was so intense that ESPN decided to broadcast College Gameday on-location at Notre Dame Stadium for the first time in its history. ESPN also showed footage in the week leading up to the game of FSU players touring the Notre Dame campus wearing green hats with shamrocks and gold-embroidered FSU initials on the front.
Notre Dame outplayed Florida State the entire game to the tune of a 31-17 lead with 1:39 to play in the fourth quarter. The offense had hung its shoulders around their jr. back Lee Becton who had yet another 100+ yd afternoon. With 1:39, Ward drove Florida State down the field, and hit Kez McCorvey on 4th-and-20 for a touchdown. The pass bounced off of Notre Dame safety Brian McGee and into McCorvey's hands. Notre Dame then three-and-out on their next possession, giving Florida State one last shot. In just three plays, Ward had led Florida State to the Notre Dame 14 with three seconds to play. On the last play of the game, Ward rolled out and had his final pass attempt batted down by Notre Dame cornerback Shawn Wooden, giving the Irish a 31-24 victory.
Notre Dame found itself atop of the polls after the victory, and would only need to defeat #12 Boston College in the next week to earn a berth in the Fiesta Bowl. Its opponent in the Fiesta Bowl would have been Florida State, which only dropped to #2 in the polls.
The rematch was never to take place though, as Boston College stunned Notre Dame 41-39 on a last-second field goal, knocking Notre Dame from #1, and effectively knocking it out of the national championship picture. After the loss, Florida State retook the #1 spot in the poll and Nebraska became the new #2, setting up a #1 vs. #2 match up for the National Championship in the Orange Bowl. Florida State would go on to win the game 18-16 on a last second field goal miss by Nebraska.
Notre Dame fans felt stifled by the polls, claiming that the Irish should have been given the Orange Bowl berth because of their win over Florida State despite the fact that Notre Dame lost to a 9-3 Boston College team at home in its last game of the regular season. Notre Dame accepted a berth in the Cotton Bowl where it would defeat #6 Texas A&M 24-21 and finish second behind the #1 Florida State Seminoles in the polls.
- Fighting Irish Win Game of the Century The Tech (MIT newspaper) Mike Duffy and Andrew Heitner. Volume 113, Issue 59 : Friday, November 19, 1993
- Whittingham, Richard. (December 1985). Saturday Afternoon: College Football and the Men Who Made the Day: Workman Pub Co. ISBN 0-89480-933-4 (Synopsis of several of the listed games)