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Some Memorable Plays (from the past) – 1985 Auburn vs. FSU Edition

By on May 16th, 2014 in Football, Memories 6 Comments »

                                                                                                                   (photo:Montgomery Advertiser)
Now that spring practice, A-Day, and the NFL Draft are over, there isn’t much present action related to AU football. Meanwhile, the upcoming fall football season seems so far in the future. Such a lacuna seems to me to be a great time for reflecting on the past, particularly some of the great plays I got to personally witness in Jordan-Hare Stadium and elsewhere. These might not be the most significant, or even season-defining, plays, but they certainly have stuck in my memory throughout the years.

The first couple of plays I remembered oddly coalesced around that Great Eighties-Nineties series with our non-conference neighbor to the south, FSU. It used to be a great rivalry game for both schools. And since the pain is starting to fade now from January, I thought I might revisit some of the happier memories from one of those battles with the Seminoles, back in 1985.

1.  Bo Goes, Goes, Goes…and STOPS

On the first series of the game, Bo took a pitch on the Auburn side of the field for a typical non-spectacular-looking (because he made it look so easy) sweep left intended for a few good yards. Suddenly, though, Bo was through all the linemen and linebackers, with the defensive backfield guarding decoys downfield and to the right. But, being downfield, the defense had an legitimate angle on Bo, and one Seminole secondary member had Bo clearly in his sights as the he was running straight for the expected “contact point” at about the 15. I remember saying to myself, “They are going to stop Bo, unless he….”

And he did – Bo went from ‘Full Bo speed’ to almost a complete Stop in two-and-a half steps. The Seminole ran in front of Bo with only a hand brushing his shoulder pad. Bo stopped so fast that there wasn’t even time for the defender to experience “broken ankles” – he just ran right into the Seminole sideline before he could turn back to behold Bo jogging the remaining 15 yards into the end zone for a 53-yard score.

So, like the old tire commercial said, it’s not only how fast you can go 0-60, it’s how fast you can go 60-0!

2.  He…..Could…..Go…..All…..The…..(yawn)

This was the longest touchdown play I ever saw, not in terms of yards but in elapsed time. FSU had the ball on their own thirty or so, and sent what seemed like all the eligible receivers to their right and down field.

The Auburn D-line just comes storming in over their O-line counterparts (like a botched screen play) and gets to the QB, who tries to throw the ball away as he gets absolutely buried. But the ball is tipped up in the air and falls in the arms of AU lineman Ron Stallworth, who takes off (such as he can) towards the end zone, with a convoy of Auburn linemen, all being chased by FSU linemen.

Because of FSU’s formation and play call, there is now nobody but O- and D-linemen within twenty yards in any direction of the ball carrier.

Thus begins the slowest run back of any kind that I ever saw on any football field. The FSU linemen were running as fast as they could, but weren’t closing, and the AU men were running as fast as they could, but weren’t pulling away.

I could probably have caught these guys in my shape today at the rate they were going. Of course the crowd goes wild with a cheer, but it fades out in a few seconds – and the ball is only at the fifteen. Another cheer goes up and fades out as the ball goes to the ten. Up comes another cheer and fade as Ron finally gets to the five. And a final, muted, out-of-breath “Yay!” goes up as the Stallworth crosses into the end zone for a 22-yard interception return.

That play had to represent the most surreal, anti-climactic, time-out-of-joint joyful moment I have ever experienced as a football fan.

You can see those two plays, and several other great ones, in this blurry patched-together YouTube clip documenting Auburn’s 59-27 beatdown of then 4th-ranked FSU, in one of those typically unusual AU-FSU 1980’s matchups.

Were any of you there for those plays?  What other plays (that may not have been particularly historic) have stuck with you through the years?

Michael Val

(who notices a “slow is good” theme in the foregoing plays)


  1. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    I was in attendance for the ’94 LSU game at JHS. Most bizzare thing I have ever seen in football. That first return of an interception for a TD by Ken Alvis(sp) was a thing of beauty

  2. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    I miss playing FSU. Those games were always exciting and usually close. Enjoyed the walk down memory lane – cool video.

  3. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    Too bad so many folks alive today didn’t get to see Bo play.

    Love this quote: “Bo went from ‘Full Bo speed’ to almost a complete Stop in two-and-a half steps … Bo stopped so fast that there wasn’t even time for the defender to experience ‘broken ankles’.”
    He has to be the greatest athlete of the 20th century..

    Enjoyed the read Michael, good stuff.

  4. Older Whiskey says:

    This was a game I attended. Auburn-FSU was always highly competitive in those days. We had won 27-24 with a clutch 4th quarter drive and a late interception by Gregg Carr in 1983. In 1984 came the 42-41 thriller in Tallahassee, which needs a full chapter to describe. Back in Auburn in 1985, the game Michael recalls was shaping up to be another in the genre. It was 31-24 entering the 4th, with FSU driving. Auburn’s defense held them to a field goal; 31-27. Then Tommy Agee broke a 60-yd. run on the first play after the kickoff, setting up a touchdown on a reverse by Freddy Weygand. 38-27 and Auburn fans could taste another victory over the ‘Noles, who had beaten Auburn only once in history.

    The FSU QB had gotten his bell rung, and Bowden installed the backup. He proceeded to turn the ball over on three consecutive plays. First he threw a pick six to Kevin Porter, 45-27. Then he produced the play Michael described. 52-27. Finally he lost a fumble, setting up a touchdown by a backup running back. That unlikely sequence produced the 59-27 final. Looked like a blowout if one just read the score the next day, but believe me, it wasn’t.

    • mvhcpa says:

      Older Whiskey,

      Thank you for your visit! I also recall saying after that game that it was like BOTH a close game and a blowout all in the same game. Just another crazy AU-FSU matchup!

      Another fun memory was that my friend and I watched that game from one of the ramps, which actually gave a great view of the whole field (back when I could stand up the whole game without my feet and back killing me). that second AU pick-six happened right in front/underneath us.

      Michael Val
      (who wonders how long he could stand up at a game these days….)

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..That 1985 FSU game was surprising. After we had “taken ourselves out” and gotten beat up in Knoxville, I didn’t really expect to beat FSU. Whacking them by 3 touchdowns was great!