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Football flashback: When Bobby Bowden called the ‘puntrooskie’

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Looking back, it might have been the biggest gamble in the history of college football.

Think about it. FSU and Clemson are tied, 21-21. Fourth down. Ball at their own 21. Ninety seconds to play.

And Bobby Bowden calls a legendary fake. The puntrooskie.

Can you imagine the daring? Can you imagine the moxie?

The amazing play started when the center snapped the ball to up-back Dayne Williams. Williams then put the ball between the legs of Leroy Butler, who went around the left end for 78 yards. He was tackled at the one, but the Seminoles won on Richie Andrews’ 19-yard field goal.

“We’re just lucky it worked, but if it hadn’t Clemson could’ve turned around kicked a field goal and beat us,” Bowden said.

Analyst Beano Cook said it was “the best play since My Fair Lady.”

Years later, Bowden said he considered that his favorite of his trick plays.

”It’s got to be first,” Bowden said. ”We’ve had some other successful ones, fake field goals for touchdowns and stuff like that. But that was way above my expectations.

”It had two-thirds of a chance of working, because on a punt (Clemson) did three different things: they tried to block; they tried to return, and the other was just to play safe and be sure that you punt. If they had done that, we would have made nothing. And they put the return on.”

Said Butler: ”I had butterflies as big as pterodactyls.”

Clemson and FSU go after each other again Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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