NOTRE DAME, Ind. (WNDU) – The Fighting Irish are coming off a big win this weekend over the Florida State Seminoles, but Tuesday brings another win over Florida State to a lot of our minds.
Twenty-five years ago, the two teams met in one of the most memorable games in NCAA history. Florida State came in ranked No. 1. Notre Dame was ranked No. 2, and many called it another edition of the game of the century.
In the video above, you can see how Chuck Freeby remembered the game on Countdown to Kickoff – and keep an eye out for a cameo from a guy you may recognize.
With a two-week buildup to the game, there was an incredible atmosphere around campus. A raucous Friday night pep rally set the stage for fans from as far away as Alaska.
“We’re staying in some boondocks,” one fan said. “Kokomo, we’re staying in Kokomo. Kokomo and $425 for two tickets.”
All parts of campus were brimming with excitement.
“And if there was ever any question about this being one of the biggest games in Notre Dame history, you only had to look at the line outside the Notre Dame bookstore,” our own Terry McFadden said during the broadcast 25 years ago.
Face value tickets were $27, but in the old 59,000-seat stadium, well, that wasn’t happening.
“We have had a lot of calls from the ‘People Magazine’ types who think because of their fame they can get tickets, and unfortunately, there just aren’t tickets to be had,” Bill Scholl said.
The ones who got in saw a game worthy of the hype. Notre Dame ran wild that day. Jeff Burris was an All-American as a defensive back, but he scored two touchdowns, including one with 6:53 left.
But that 31-17 lead was precarious, thanks to Florida State Quarterback Charlie Ward. The future NBA player threw a pass off Brian McGee and into the hands of Kez McCorvey for a touchdown on fourth-and-22.
Then, Ward led Bobby Bowden’s team to the Irish 14 with 3 seconds left, Tony Roberts had the call:
“Last play of the game, this is it,” he said. “Ward flushed out of the pocket. Throwing to the end zone. Knocked down by Wooden! The game is over! The Irish have upset Florida State! Notre Dame wins. Pandemonium on the field. 31-24. Notre dame is No. 1!”
The victory over a Florida State team billed as the best in college football in 30 years electrified Notre Dame Stadium.
Sadly, the No. 1 ranking would not last long. Boston College upset the Irish the following week, 41-39. Notre Dame would finish the year No. 2. Florida State finished No. 1.
As for this year’s matchup, the Irish are coming off a much less dramatic finish, dominating the Seminoles 42-13 to improve to 10-0.