15-Year ‘Nole Anniversary: Seniors Lead FSU Past Gators in Top 5 Contest

Emotions were running high on November 18th, 2000 as Florida State played host to Florida in what was not only a top-5 match-up, but the final game at Doak Campbell Stadium for a number of prominent FSU seniors including quarterback Chris Weinke, running back Travis Minor, wide receiver Marvin “Snoop” Minnis, defensive end Jamal Reynolds, linebackers Brian Allen and Tommy Polley, safety Derrick Gibson and cornerback Tay Cody.

“We had seniors who had played a lot of football together,” Cody said. “That game against Florida always determined whether or not we were going to the national championship or whether we’d play in another bowl game.”

The 2000 season would be no different.

The No. 3 Seminoles struck first on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Weinke to Atrews Bell more than five minutes in, but it didn’t take No. 4 Florida long to respond. Gators’ quarterback Jessie Palmer found tight end Aaron Walker in the end zone to knot the game at 7 with 4:43 to play in the first quarter.

The short touchdown pass however, would be the lone offensive highlight for Florida on the evening. The Seminoles needed only 56 seconds to go ahead for good as Weinke found Minnis for a 34-yard touchdown following a long connection to Bell.

From there, the Florida State defense dominated. Seven different Seminoles recorded a tackle for loss and Cody came up with a pair of interceptions. Safety Chris Hope added another.

“To have the kind of performance I had always means a lot,” Cody said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better in my last home game.”

A short touchdown run from William McCray midway through the third quarter pushed the FSU lead to 21-7 before a 51-yard pass from Weinke to Minnis late in the period put the exclamation point on a lopsided 30-7 Seminole victory.

Weinke finished with 353 yards passing in his final game at Doak Campbell Stadium while Minnis finished with 187 yards receiving. Weinke would go on to become the second FSU quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy and Florida State would get a chance to play for the national championship, but was defeated 13-2 by Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

Still, the victory was the third straight over Florida for the Seminoles and cemented a 14th straight top-5 finish for Florida State. That November 18th contest would also be the last for legendary Florida head coach Steve Spurrier at Doak Campbell Stadium — a place he never won.

Featured image courtesy of Lawrence Journal-World

Mike Ferguson

About Mike Ferguson

Mike Ferguson is a Bloguin contributor, the editor of Noled Out and a lifetime Florida State sports enthusiast. Mike vividly remembers watching Warrick Dunn run down the sideline in Gainesville in 1993, the "Choke at Doak" in 1994 and Monte Cummings' driving layup to beat #1 Duke in 2002. Mike has worked as a sports reporter in both print and online. For isportsweb in 2013, Mike gave press coverage of Florida State football's run to the 2013 national championship. Mike has been featured on SI.com, FoxSports.com and Yahoo Sports while interviewing major sports stars such as 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen. Mike graduated from Florida State University in 2009 with a major in Religion and a minor in Communications. Mike currently resides in Haines City, Florida with his wife Jennifer and daughters Trinity and Greenly. Mike is a full-time reporter at Polk County's newspaper, The Ledger, in Lakeland, Florida. Mike can be followed on Twitter @MikeWFerguson.