1993 Florida State vs. Notre Dame
November 13, 1993: In a matchup of unbeatens, Florida State University was ranked Number 1, and Notre Dame was ranked Number 2. The winner of this game, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana, was certain to play Number 3 Nebraska (which would then move up to Number 2) in the Orange Bowl for the National Championship.
Florida State had quarterback Charlie Ward, who would win the Heisman Trophy. Notre Dame was an underdog, but had the home-field advantage and the Notre Dame mystique on its side. They also had the mystique of having played in so many great games, including the 1946 and 1966 "Games of the Century."
It was a game between the most-hyped program of the era and the most-hyped program in college football history, and NBC, which had exclusive rights to Fighting Irish home games (and was thus mocked by some as the "Notre Dame Broadcasting Company", much as CBS was ripped as the "Cowboys Broadcasting System" by Dallas Cowboys-haters in the 1970s and 1980s), tried to market this matchup as the "Game of the Century." There was considerable media discussion as to whether the game would live up to the hype, and, if not, how bad NBC would look. ESPN would also hype the game, showing FSU players touring the Notre Dame campus that week wearing green hats with shamrocks and gold-embroidered FSU initials on the front, and having the first on-campus edition of College GameDay from South Bend. The Peacock Network did not have to worry, because they got the classic they hoped for.
The Irish appeared to be riding those mystiques the entire game, leading 31-17 as the Seminoles got the ball with 1:39 to play. But Ward drove the 'Noles down the field, and hit Kez McCorvey on 4th-and-20 for a touchdown that bounced off Irish safety Brian McGee. Notre Dame got the ball back, but went three-and-out, giving FSU one last shot. In just three plays, they got to the Irish 14 with three seconds to play. Ward rolled out and had a wide open receiver in the end zone, but did not see him, and his pass was batted down. Notre Dame won, 31-24, and a sellout crowd stormed the field.
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