Florida State has Auburn's number in 1989. Twice this year, Auburn finished strong against the Seminoles with nothing to show for its efforts.
The 14th-ranked Seminoles hung on for a 22-14 victory over No. 11 Auburn Saturday night in a game that closely resembled Florida State's 13-7 Sugar Bowl victory over the Tigers nine months ago in New Orleans.
"I can't believe how close those two games were," Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden said. "This ballgame was just like the Sugar Bowl."
In that game, Deion Sanders intercepted a pass to preserve the Florida State victory. Saturday night, Auburn ran out of time.
The Tigers rallied from a 22-3 deficit in the final period before quarterback Reggie Slack was tackled at the Florida State 11 on the game's final play.
Auburn (4-2) could have tied the score after recovering a fumble by Florida State's Amp Lee on its own 17 with 1:22 left in the game. Slack drove his team 72 yards before time expired.
"The defense did an outstanding job and gave us a chance to win the game," Auburn Coach Pat Dye said. "I was proud of the kids for a great comeback."
Florida State (5-2) scored 22 unanswered points to take a 22-3 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Seminoles took a 19-3 halftime lead on one-yard and seven-yard scoring runs by Bennett and a 37-yard field goal by Bill Mason, who filled in for injured Richie Andrews. Mason also kicked field goals of 35 yards in the first period and 39 in the third period.
Auburn's Win Lyle kicked a 27-yard field goal to cut the Auburn deficit to 22-6, and the Tigers took advantage of a critical fourth-down roughing penalty against Florida State to score their lone touchdown.
Slack was roughed after throwing an incomplete pass on fourth down, keeping a 58-yard drive alive. James Joseph scored on a four-yard run moments later, and Stacy Danley caught Slack's pass for a two-point conversion.
The Seminoles' defense sacked Slack six times.
A record crowd of 62,711 fans watched the game.