If you were at Doak in 1987, or glued to the annual TV Game of the Century that was FSU - Miami, then you recall the heart stopping finish. Ronald Lewis caught a TD in the back of the end zone, just a hair from the end line, to bring the Noles to within one point. Then, with 42 seconds left, Bobby Bowden rolled the dice. Forget the dadgum extra point. It was win the game and a possible national championship on a two-point conversion attempt.
That's where Pat Carter played his biggest role as an FSU tight end. Pat went on to have a decade-long NFL career, followed by a coaching gig at Detroit. But among his biggest football regrets is the two-point pass play that he never laid a single finger on. He joined us recently to look back at the highlights and lowlights of his Seminole career.
What would you consider your biggest win at FSU?
"I guess to me it would have to be the Florida game my senior year, just for the simple fact that we finally got one after losing the first three. I knew if I didn't get this one I was going to be shut out. And I just didn't want that to happen."
Talk about a game that probably isn't your favorite -- the '87 game against MIami?
"That was a tough one. We just didn't close it. We had the game and we didn't take care of our business as we should have. And we lost to a really good team. Now they weren't a better team. And it's funny, every time I saw Coach Bowden he said that the '87 team was his best team. And we didn't even win it. But Miami was the only one we lost."
It came down to the two point conversion and the pass to you in the end zone, which was just a little short.
"Yeah, it was short. It was supposed to go to the back corner pylon. And when I looked up I saw the ball was short. I wish I just could've been able to make a play back there -- maybe just tipped it up to myself. But unfortunately it fell short. And the Miami players, they always like to make the claim they were in the right position. But if Danny (McManus) had thrown that to the back pylon, they would've been done. That's one of the plays we always practiced, and it's unfortunate we didn't execute it."
"I've read over the years that there was, though I just don't recall there being one. I do remember that after the play I was behind the decision. I mean, I wasn't mad that we didn't kick it. We had to go for it. So I commend the decision. I was totally behind it."
"That would be it. To be honest I'd like to play that whole game over. If we played ten times, I think FSU would've won seven of those. Don't get me wrong. That Miami team was loaded. But we made stupid plays to turn the ball over. Those are unfortunate. But we played very uncharacteristic."
"True, but Lonnie Johnson still had more TD catches (ten vs. Carter's seven). Of course, the one disclaimer I always bring up is that they didn't count our catches in bowl games back then, but they do now. Because I got another 15 catches in bowl games that they didn't even count."
"Well, blocking was a big thing. I remember Coach (Wayne) McDuffie would say, you aren't going to get on the field until you can block. So really, I had to make a name for myself blocking and caught a few passes here and there. But they turned me loose my senior year and allowed me to showcase my skills."
"Loved it. Initially, I didn't. It took me awhile to love it. And really, that's how I played ten years in the pros because of my blocking."
"The best example of that was when I played in Houston. My neighbor three houses down was Bubba McDowell, the same guy who knocked the ball down in that two-point conversion try. So every year when FSU played Miami, he would always remind me of that. That was back in '94, when we both played for the Oilers and lived in the same subdivision."
Who did you want to beat more back then, Miami or Florida?
"I can honestly say I hated Florida more -- on and off the field. But I wanted to beat Miami even more because I had some pretty good friends down there. So I would call Miami a gentleman's rivalry, where Florida was just a straight, diehard 'I hate you.' "