Surprising Florida State Stuns No. 10 Nebraska : Seminoles’ Opportunistic Defense Forces Three Turnovers in 17-13 Victory

From Times Wire Services

Before Saturday’s game, Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden thought four Nebraska turnovers would be just about enough to allow his team to beat the favored Cornhuskers.

Bowden only got three turnovers, but the two fumbles and an interception allowed the 17th-ranked Seminoles to hold off No. 10 Nebraska, 17-13. The defeat marked the first time since 1977 that Nebraska has lost a home opener under Coach Tom Osborne. The last was a 19-10 loss to Washington State.

Another factor that benefited the Seminoles (2-0) was the sauna-like playing conditions. Temperature at game-time was 96 degrees, but temperatures reached 120 on the carpeted playing surface. One hundred fans in a crowd of 79,943, the 137th straight sellout at Memorial Stadium were treated for heat exhaustion.

“Tom and I were talking before the game, and I told him the only way we’d win was if he gave us four turnovers,” Bowden said. “The heat was terrible. I thought it would be an advantage for us because our boys were raised in that climate.”


Quarterback Danny McManus passed for one touchdown and set up a field goal to lead the Seminoles. McManus, a sophomore from Hollywood, Fla., completed 15 of 27 passes for 172 yards.

Nebraska scored on a 60-yard run by fullback Tom Rathman on the fourth play of the game.

Midway through the first quarter, the Seminoles came back, scoring on a 15-yard pass by McManus to flanker Darrin Holloman. Two possessions later, Florida State drove 66 yards for a 20-yard field goal by Derek Schmidt to take a 10-7 lead.

Early in the second quarter, Doug DuBose scored on a one-yard run for Nebraska. The extra-point attempt failed.

Another Nebraska miscue led to Florida State’s final touchdown. A bad center snap on a punt attempt gave the Seminoles the ball on the six-yard line. Three plays later, Cletus Jones scored what proved to be the last touchdown of the game on a two-yard run.

Neither offense could manage a score in the second half, and the Florida State defense stymied Nebraska drives four times in the fourth quarter.

Early in the quarter, Rathman fumbled on the Florida State eight. Another Nebraska drive reached the Seminoles’ 13, but ended when Dale Klein’s field goal was wide left. An interception and an incompleted pass marked the end of Nebraska’s next two possessions.

The turnovers and his team’s failure to score when it counted annoyed Osborne.

“I was very, very disappointed,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. What we were afraid would happen did happen. Any time you have new or inexperienced players at key positions you’re apt to have mistakes, and we did.

“I thought we would settle down the second half, and we did. I thought we were the better team in the second half, but we just couldn’t get the ball in.”

Nebraska rushed for 372 yards, including 129 in 21 carries for DuBose, 113 in 12 carries by Rathman and 97 in nine attempts for Clayton.