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Florida State celebrating 25th anniversary of Ward-to-Dunn vs. Gators

Rivalry Week is finally here. The week where households in the state of Florida are bitterly divided. The week where it’s husband vs. wife, brother vs. sister and best friend vs. best friend.

It’s Florida-Florida State week.

The Gators and the Seminoles will renew this bitter rivalry for the 63rd time this Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee. For the record, Florida owns a 34-26-2 lead in the series, but Florida State has won seven of the last eight meetings.

Over the years, this rivalry has produced some of the most memorable moments in college football history; this year, 2018, marks one such anniversary.

It was 25-years ago, November 27, 1993, when the No.1 ranked Florida State Seminoles traveled to Gainesville to take on the No. 7 ranked Florida Gators.

The Gators entered the game on a 23-game home winning streak. In fact, Florida head coach Steve Spurrier was undefeated in Gainesville since taking over the Gator program in 1990.

Florida State entered the game ranked No.1 with the knowledge that a win over arch-rival Florida would more than likely put them in the national championship game a month down the road.

Florida State jumped on top of Florida early and took a commanding 27-7 lead late in the third-quarter, but as rivalries tend to do, the game tightened up as Florida forced key turnovers and got back to within 27-21 mid-way through the fourth-quarter.

What happened next was one of the more memorable moments in the history of the Florida and Florida State rivalry.

The starting quarterback for Florida State that year was Charlie Ward who would go on to win the Heisman Trophy in 1993. Ward joined “XL Primetime” on 1010XL Radio in Jacksonville to talk about, arguably, the most memorable moment in the history of this great rivalry.

“We definitely knew going down there that we had an opportunity to seize the moment to get into the national championship game,” Ward said. “They were on a 23-game home winning streak and our goal was to go down there and break the streak.

“We were able to keep their crowd out of the game, really the entire game except for the fourth-quarter. That’s when they made their move. They scored a couple touchdowns to cut it to a six-point game.

“That was the loudest that I have ever heard a stadium. The first and second-down plays were very loud. On third-down, I was able to escape and make a play to Warrick (Dunn) and Tamarick Vanover got him a block and Warrick took it for 70-plus yards.

“Having a championship culture and mentality, when things aren’t going well, you don’t buckle, you don’t give in, you don’t criticize, you just find a way to make it happen. We were able to make it happen.”

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