1974 FLASHBACK: Alabama 8, Florida State 7

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ALABAMA 8, FLORIDA STATE 7
October 12, 1974 - Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama snatched victory from the jaws of defeat scoring twice in the final 87 seconds for an 8-7 come-from-behind win, spoiling Florida State’s bid for an upset in front of 58,394 fans at Denny Stadium.

Alabama scored five points in the final 1:27 of the game, including Buckey Berrey’s 36-yard field goal with 33 seconds left.

“It was a heartbreaker,” FSU head coach Darrell Mudra said. “I just hope we can get this one out of our system. We caught
Alabama hurting at the quarterback position a little bit, but we just could not pull it out.”

Playing without its starting quarterback, Richard Todd, who missed the game with a knee injury, the Alabama offense sputtered. The Crimson Tide was held to 229 total yards and completed only four passes in the win. Backup quarterbacks Robert Fraley and Jack O’Rear struggled leading the Tide offense that did not score a touchdown against a FSU team that entered the game with a 16-game losing streak. Fraley completed 3 of 7 passes for 40 yards, while O’Rear completed 1 of 3 attempts for 32 yards.

“If I were you (members of the media), I would be in the other dressing room,” Alabama head coach Paul Bryant said. “I’ve never in my life seen a team that was so much better coached than our team than Florida State today. We didn’t have any offense, of course. There’s bound to have been someone who played well, but I couldn’t name one now. I did see Leroy Cook make some big plays.”

 
Leroy Cook (#98) was the
Alabama defensive star with
eight tackles, two tackles for
loss (-12), one forced fumble,
one pass breakup and one
blocked field goal in the win
over FSU.
 
Cook was the Alabama star with eight tackles, two tackles for loss (-12), one forced fumble, one pass breakup and one blocked field goal. Mike DuBose and Woodrow Lowe led UA with 13 tackles each as the defense bailed out the offense and won the game. Florida State, a heavy underdog, outplayed Alabama in the loss. FSU had 345 yards of total offense, including 207 rushing yards. The Seminoles had the ball for almost 12 minutes in the second quarter, but only led 7-0 at halftime.

FSU took the opening kickoff and drove 78 yards in nine plays to take a 7-0 lead. Running back Larry Key capped the drive with a 6-yard run and Ahmet Askin hit the extra point. Both teams missed field goal attempts in a scoreless second quarter. Alabama’s Buckey Berrey missed a 34-yard attempt on the first play of the second quarter. Florida State missed two field goals that seemed to deflate the Noles despite a dominant second quarter.
 
FSU had a 16-play, 64-yard drive end when Alabama’s Leroy Cook blocked a 34-yard field goal attempt by Askin. He missed a 26-yard field goal attempt on FSU’s next possession as the Noles led only 7-0 at halftime, despite a 2-to-1 total yards advantage over the Tide.

Florida State had two costly mistakes in the third quarter that kept Alabama in the game. The Noles converted a fourth-and-seven to the Alabama 16-yard line, but a pass interference call nullified the play and gave the Tide the ball. On its next possession, FSU fumbled when Leroy Cook hit Fred Miller and Bob Baumhower recovered at the Seminoles 31-yard line.

Alabama capitalized on the miscue when Berrey nailed a 44-yard field goal to make it 7-3 with 3:04 left in the third quarter.
Following the field goal, Florida State marched to the Alabama 2-yard line before Askin missed a 19-yard field goal, his third miss of the game. The teams then exchanged punts until the final two minutes. Facing a fourth-and-26 from its own 5-yard line, Florida State punter Joe Downey ran out of the back of the end zone to give Alabama a safety. FSU led 7-5 with 1:27 left in the fourth quarter.

On the free kick, Downey punted to the UA 45-yard line and Ronnie Kuykendall’s 7-yard return gave the Tide one last shot at the FSU 48-yard line. On first down, O’Rear completed his only pass of the game, a 32-yard strike to Ozzie Newsome to give Alabama a first down at the FSU 16-yard line.

After two straight negative rushing attempts, Fraley, who took over for the injured O’Rear one play earlier, fired to Newsome in the  end zone but had it knocked away by Robert Jackson. Berrey came on and nailed a 36-yard field with 33 seconds left in the game as Alabama escaped with a one-point win. FSU fumbled the kickoff and recovered at its own 12-yard line, but three plays netted only 20 yards as time expired on the upset bid.

SCORING SUMMARY

   1   2   3   4   FINAL 
Florida State   7   0   0   0      7 
Alabama   0   0  3   5      8 

First Quarter:
FSU - Larry Key 6-yard run (Ahkem Askin PAT) FSU 7, ALA 0
(9 plays, 78 yards, 4:20 TOP)

Second Quarter:
No Scoring

Third Quarter:
UA - Berrey 44-yard field goal FSU 7, ALA 3
(4 plays, 4 yards, 1:35 TOP)

Fourth Quarter:
UA - Safety; Ron Downey ran out of end zone FSU 7, ALA 5
UA - Berrey 37-yard field goal ALA 8, FSU 7
(5 plays, 29 yards, 0:54 TOP)