Florida State Seminoles: Top 5 moments

Top 5 moments: Late collapse

December, 11, 2012
12/11/12
9:56
AM ET
With 2012 winding to a close, we're counting down the five biggest moments of the past season for Florida State -- those plays that defined 2012. Coming in at No. 4: Bryan Underwood's game-winning touchdown that ended FSU's hopes for a national title.

Perfection ended for Florida State in the most painful way possible.

In early October, the Seminoles left for Raleigh, N.C., with a sterling 5-0 record, but their only road test had been a short trip to USF, where nearly half the stadium was packed with FSU fans. The trip to NC State would be different -- far more hostile. But few players were concerned.

[+] EnlargeBryan Underwood
Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images Bryan Underwood's game-winning TD reception with 16 seconds left was the last of countless tiny cuts FSU suffered against the Wolfpack.
Just a year earlier, the Wolfpack were routed by Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium, and just a week earlier, NC State's secondary was torched by Miami to the tune of 566 passing yards. With EJ Manuel under center and the Seminoles' explosive offense ready for a road show, even a somewhat sluggish first half, which left FSU with a 16-0 lead, did little to dampen anyone's enthusiasm.

But if the first 22 quarters of football in 2012 had been an emphatic confirmation of all the preseason expectations, the next two would erode months of good will, reignite a decade's worth of frustrations and, most importantly, add nothing to that 16-point lead that slowly disappeared amid an endless array of dinks and dunks by the NC State offense that ultimately led to Bryan Underwood's 2-yard touchdown reception that sent the Seminoles to their first loss of the season.

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Top 5 moments: Joyner's return

December, 10, 2012
12/10/12
12:00
PM ET
With 2012 winding to a close, we're counting down the five biggest moments of the past season for Florida State. Starting off at No. 5: Lamarcus Joyner's 90-yard kick return against Clemson.

In the end, there were myriad highlights, and the list of heroes on both sides of the ball was extensive. But in what proved to be the biggest win of the season for Florida State, the play that defined the Seminoles' come-from-behind win over Clemson in Week 4 came on special teams.

Through the first three games of the season, Florida State's defense allowed just one score, which meant Lamarcus Joyner had enjoyed precious few opportunities to return kicks. Midway through the third quarter against Clemson, however, Joyner finally found some room to run, and his 90-yard kick return swung the momentum in the game.

“That was a big play there. That ignited us," Jimbo Fisher said. "That was a tremendous play. In the first half we struggled on special teams but in the second half, we took over.”

With 7:07 to play in the quarter, Clemson had just booted a field goal to take a 10-point lead, the fifth time the Tigers had scored in nine possessions. FSU didn't just need a touchdown -- it needed one quickly if it was going to mount a late rally.

Joyner delivered. Almost.

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