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Football flashback: Tech gave FSU its toughest test in title season

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A funny thing almost happened on the way to the national championship for FSU in 1999.

Georgia Tech almost happened.

It was early in what was going to be a memorable season for the Seminoles. Still, this is the one that almost derailed the dream before it got started. This was FSU 41, Georgia Tech 35 in the wildest game of the season. Not the closest (FSU beat Clemson by only three points) but the wildest.

FSU would end up 12-0, and it would be ranked No. 1 in each week of the season. Quarterback Chris Weinke would go on to win the Heisman in 2000. Peter Warrick was in the top 10 that year. Corey Simon was an All-American.

But on a single afternoon in Tallahassee, Tech gave the Seminoles headaches all afternoon. Quarterback Joe Hamilton hit 22 of 25 passes for 387 yards and four touchdowns. It was the most points, and the most yards, that FSU was to give up all season.

“I don’t want to play one more second of that game,” FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. “I never thought I would see the day that an offense would score that many points on us. I think Tech had a chance to win up to the very end.”

Hamilton would finish second in the Heisman voting to Ron Dayne. Warrick would finish sixth, although he was considered the front runner after catching eight balls for 142 yards agaiinst the Yellow Jackets. An October arrest over discounted clothing changed that, however.

The two, who play again Saturday, have had a few memorable games over the years. Last year, in the ACC title game, FSU won 37-35. In 2012, FSU beat Tech in the ACC title game 21-15.

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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