NOW THAT WAS A REAL MATCHUP

… THOUGHTS LOOK­ING BACK AT THE 1993 FSU-NOTRE DAME “GAME OF THE CEN­TURY.”

Tampa Bay Times - - Front Page - MATT BAKER State foot­ball

Strug­gling Florida State plays at No. 3-ranked Notre Dame tonight in a foot­ball game that’s draw­ing far less at­ten­tion than 25 years ago in their “Game of the Cen­tury.” A look back.

Tonight’s meet­ing be­tween Florida State and No. 3 Notre Dame might not be a fit­ting tribute to the 25th an­niver­sary of one of the games of the cen­tury.

In­stead, I re­watched the orig­i­nal NBC tele­cast of the No. 2 Ir­ish’s 31-24 win over the top-ranked (and even­tual na­tional cham­pion) Semi­noles. Here are 25 thoughts from that grainy footage of the Nov. 13, 1993, game, in­clud­ing some mo­ments that seem an­ti­quated and oth­ers that will echo tonight in South Bend, Ind.:

1. There’s no pregame hype video set to Fall Out Boy or Imag­ine Dragons. Just NBC’s Bob Costas nar­rat­ing about “the kind of day dreamed of in a back yard, just around the cor­ner from Main Street,” with footage of chil­dren run­ning in the park by an Amer­i­can flag.

2. The game marked the first time that ESPN’s Col­lege GameDay took its show on the road. Who would have thought that it would ex­plode into the lov­able cir­cus it is to­day?

3. The most jar­ring sight: O.J. Simp­son as a side­line re­porter. Seven months af­ter­ward, he was rid­ing on the free­way in a white Ford Bronco.

4. FSU coach Bobby Bowden told NBC that he prob­a­bly shouldn’t have gone to the Mary­land game the week be­fore be­cause, “I was truly look­ing past that game to this one.” Can’t imag­ine Nick Sa­ban say­ing that.

5. FSU line­backer (and fu­ture Buc) Der­rick Brooks had the first two tack­les. It wouldn’t be a sur­prise if his son DeCalon gets the first two this week­end for the Semi­noles.

6. When Brooks in­jured his an­kle early, there was no in­jury tent. NBC’s cam­eras were in his face, and Simp­son even asked him (off cam­era) about switch­ing cleats. That doesn’t hap­pen to­day.

7. FSU quar­ter­back Char­lie Ward had a spe­cial, ring-shaped pad to pro­tect his in­jured ribs. Notre Dame QB Ian Book is out this week be­cause of … in­jured ribs.

8. The first of Ward’s three touch­down passes went to Kevin Knox. His son, for­mer Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox, is cur­rently a rookie for the Knicks, which was Ward’s NBA team from 1994-2004.

9. Even against a great FSU run de­fense, Notre Dame didn’t want to pass more than 25 times. In 90 games with the Ir­ish, cur­rent coach Brian Kelly has only 17 games with fewer than 25 pass at­tempts.

10. An­other sign of how much of­fenses have changed: Ward en­tered the game with 2,011 pass­ing yards. That would rank 45th na­tion­ally to­day.

11. But there are sim­i­lar­i­ties, too. Notre Dame quar­ter­back Kevin McDou­gal had a de­signed scram­ble when he could have thrown it. Ex­cept an­nounc­ers called it a “pass-run op­tion,” not an RPO.

12. NBC re­minded view­ers how FSU’s of­fense ex­ploded (19 more points per game) af­ter spread­ing out three or four re­ceivers in its Fast Break Of­fense in 1992. Sounds sim­i­lar to how Wil­lie Tag­gart saved his job at USF (and got the one at FSU) by switch­ing to the Gulf Coast Of­fense.

13. The Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off isn’t per­fect, but see­ing the Bowl Coali­tion Poll stand­ings (with on-pro­ba­tion Auburn at No. 7) is a re­minder that things could be worse.

14. It was only the 28th time in 50 years the top two teams played each other. That matchup has hap­pened twice in the Play­off and every year in the BCS.

15. It’s weird watch­ing a game with­out the yel­low first-down line, or the ticker of other game scores, or even a static graphic with the score and time left in the game you’re watch­ing.

16. Notre Dame de­fen­sive back Jeff Bur­ris rushed for two touch­downs on FSU, so there is a prece­dent for Clem­son’s de­fen­sive tackle Chris­tian Wilkins run­ning for one on the Semi­noles two weeks ago.

17. A name I didn’t ex­pect to hear as FSU’s holder: Danny Kanell, who be­came an NFL quar­ter­back and TV an­a­lyst.

18. NBC an­a­lyst Todd Chris­tensen on the Ir­ish: “They have just a great team —not a lot of in­di­vid­u­als that stand out.” That’s true to­day, too. Notre Dame has a good ros­ter play­ing bet­ter than the sum of its parts.

19. Both teams used full­backs of­ten. FSU doesn’t even have one on its ros­ter any­more; Johnathan Vick­ers and Gabe Nabers moved to tight end.

20. When FSU had only 33 rush­ing yards late in the first half, the an­nounc­ers won­dered whether the ’Noles would even get to 100. Given the cur­rent state of FSU’s of­fen­sive line, they’ll prob­a­bly won­der the same thing tonight.

21. It was not a sur­prise to see fu­ture Bucs run­ning back War­rick Dunn catch a screen pass, make a nice juke and score a touch­down in the third quar­ter…

22. … But it was a sur­prise to hear that Dunn wanted to red­shirt be­cause he didn’t think his body was ready yet. How many fresh­men think that way to­day?

23. NBC pointed out that then-Ir­ish as­sis­tant Skip Holtz wasn’t a nepo­tism hire by then-head coach Lou Holtz. Eigh­teen years later, Skip coached USF to a 23-20 win at Notre Dame.

24. The most out-of-place re­mark was when FSU full­back Wil­liam Floyd (Lake­wood High) lay on the ground af­ter flip­ping over the Ir­ish’s bench. “He’s got a lit­tle bit of a headache,” one of the an­nounc­ers said. That comment wouldn’t fly in this con­cus­sion era, and Floyd wouldn’t have re­turned two plays later.

25. Con­spir­acy the­o­ries later cir­cu­lated about whether Notre Dame kept the grass higher than usual to slow down FSU’s of­fense. But Simp­son said on the tele­cast that the field was in the best shape he had ever seen it. “It’s a tes­ta­ment that Notre Dame wants to see the best team win here to­day,” Simp­son said.

Tonight FSU atNo. 3 Notre Dame, 7:30, South Bend, Ind.TV: NBC Ra­dio: 1010AMLine/OU: ND by 16½; 51½

sports.tam­pabay.com

As­so­ci­ated Press (1993)

It was 25 years ago that Notre Dame play­ers and fans cel­e­brated their win over No. 1 FSU.

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