Photo courtesy of Florida State athletics
At the turn of the millennium, a family feud was brewing in the ACC.
Florida State was led by the legendary Bobby Bowden while his son, Tommy Bowden, was the head man at rival Clemson. The first meeting was a bit too close for FSU’s liking. The second seemingly came with more on the line.
In what would be a match-up of top-10 teams and a contest that would ultimately determine the ACC, Bobby Bowden showed father still knew best. FSU blasted Clemson, 54-7.
Setting the Stage
After a loss to Miami to open October, Florida State had won three straight as it arrived at Doak Campbell Stadium on Nov. 4, 2000. At 8-1, the Seminoles were ranked No. 4 in the nation and looking for a ninth straight win over the Tigers.
Tommy Bowden was making his first trip to Tallahassee as Clemson head coach. Clemson had started the year 8-0 and ascended into the AP top 5 before a loss to Georgia Tech the week prior. Still, the Tigers controlled their own destiny in the ACC.
It was domination for the start for FSU. The Seminoles racked up 771 yards of offense and held Clemson to under 300 yards. 98 of those yards for FSU came on one iconic play.
With FSU up 3-0 and pinned deep in its own territory midway through the first quarter, quarterback Chris Weinke carried out a play fake for the ages. On a play action pass, Weinke faked the hand-off and stood still in the end zone as if he had given it.
Before the Tigers knew what was happening, Weinke found a streaking Marvin “Snoop” Minnis, who outraced defenders for the longest touchdown reception in FSU history. Clemson however, would answer just a couple minutes later on a 4-yard touchdown run by Travis Zachery. Clemson would not score again.
After the second and third field goals of the night by Brett Cimorelli pushed the lead to 16-7, fullback Randy Golightly scored a touchdown late in the second quarter and another one early in the third. Just like that, the rout was on.
Following Cimorelli’s fourth field goal, running back Jeff Chaney got in on the fun. Chaney’s 4-yard rushing touchdown late in the third quarter made it 40-7 before his 42-yard touchdown reception from Weinke early in the fourth quarter pushed it to 40. Weinke passed for 521 yards in the victory.
Davy Ford put the exclamation point on the win with an 82-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter. Travis Minor led the FSU ground attack with 102 yards on 13 carries while three different receivers eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the Seminoles. Minnis finished with a game-high 163 yards receiving on four catches. Atrews Bell and Javon Walker each caught six passes for 111 and 109 yards, respectively.
Defensively, FSU forced four turnovers while compiling five sacks. Tay Cody recorded an interception and a sack. Leading tackler Derrick Gibson and Abdul Howard both came away with picks. Kevin Emanuel and David Warren each had sacks that resulted in a forced fumble.
The loss eliminated Clemson from ACC contention. Clemson would beat South Carolina two weeks later, but fell to Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl to conclude the year.
As for FSU, the win clinched a ninth straight ACC championship. Tommy Bowden wouldn’t beat his father for another three years and won in Tallahassee just once in four tries. The first meeting between father and son in Tallahassee also served as the Seminoles’ largest margin of victory over a top-10 team ever. It happened on this day two decades ago.