June 17, 2014 - by

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From the Tallahassee Democrat, 9/21/1963
MIAMI, FL, September 20, 1963 – Fred Biletnikoff and Steve Tensi, or Steve Tensi and Fred Biletnikoff?
The question of who should be listed first was absolutely the only one left that was hanging here Friday night as Florida State made Miami’s inflated football team look silly, 24-0.

FSU tore Miami’s press clippings into tiny, pathetic shreds. Biletnikoff, who scored three touchdowns, and Tensi, who passed for two, were co-hosts for this Seminoles scissors party.

It was almost a cut and dried thing, so superior was FSU, in every phase of the game, on this damp evening.

It had rained for three days, but it stopped just before the kickoff, and the field, protected by tarpaulins, was in fine shape. Rain, or a wet field, was in no way a factor.

There was just one factor, really: FSU was a much better football team.
George Mira?

Heralded as the No. 1 college quarterback in the nation, this cat-like junior gave it all he had, and it wasn’t nearly enough. He threw 39 times, completed 18 for 182 yards, and 20 minutes were gone in the ball game before he completed one.

FSU scored in every quarter, did not permit Miami inside its 30 until the score was 17-0.

Miami was a bit over a touchdown favorite, was billed as one of the country’s top 20 teams. A crowd of 57,598 braved the threat of rain, when 61,252 tickets had been sold. With fair weather, they might have filled the Orange Bowl for this one.

Here’s the way the scoring went:?(1) FSU drove 87 yards the second time it got its eager hands on the ball, with Tensi tossing to Biletnikoff for the final 23.?(2) FSU went 55 yards the fourth time it touched the ball, with Tensi passing to Biletnikoff for the last 17.?(3) Doug Messer kicked a field goal from the 12 after a fourth-and-inches gamble by Miami failed and FSU took over at the Hurricane 40.?(4) Biletnikoff intercepted a Mira pass and went 99 yards.

Late in the third quarter Miami penetrated to the FSU 27.

The Hurricanes got to the FSU seven, before Biletnikoff came up with his scoring interception, and again reached the seven with about five minutes to play.
Tensi, all six-feet-five inches of him, a bundle of deadly coolness easily outshone Mira. He completed 13 of 20 throws for the night for 149 yards. He had 10 strikes in 13 first-half tries, might have done much better overall had it seemed necessary.

Biletnikoff caught four passes for 71 yards.

With FSU playing it neat on its 14-0 halftime lead, the Hurricanes managed an edge in total offense, 272 yards to 262. FSU outrushed the Miamians, 113 to 86.
FSU’s Dave Snyder emerged as the leading ground gainer for the night, 59 yards in 14 carries. Miami’s heralded sophomore halfback Russ Smith was next, 26 yards in 11 runs.

A defensive accounting will have to wait until a study of the game films, but sophomore guard Bill McDowell must have been an FSU stickout. A pressbox accounting gave him seven tackles, two assists.

Said Andy Gustafson, the Miami coach: “It was the most surprising and shocking game I’ve seen in many years. They completely outplayed us all the way through the game.”

Said FSU Coach Bill Peterson: “I can only say that our football team was great tonight. Our pass defense superb, as well as our line play.
“I think we had some All-American performances for FSU tonight. This has been my greatest victory.”

FSU wasn’t long showing what it had in mind for this one. Passes and more passes.

But the Seminoles came out running. They took the game-opening-kickoff, and Marion Roberts’ neat runback from the end zone to his 30 was nullified by an offsides penalty.

Then Gene Roberts wheeled the second kickoff up to the 21. Two plunges by Gene got eight, a pass failed, and Charlie Calhoun punted a 48-yarder that Miami returned 13 to the Hurricanes 38.

Mira couldn’t connect on his first throw, following a couple of runs, and Miami kicked back. A good one, dead on the FSU 13.

Then Tensi took the Tribe 87 pulsating yards to a payoff.

Make it 89 yards, for Snyder lost two on FSU’s first try after the punt. Then Tensi put everybody’s hearts in their mouths with a throw – complete, to Red Dawson for 14 and a first down.

A run gained naught, and Tensi again pitched, for 12 to Biletnikoff. Dave Snyder got three and Tensi threw to Dawson again at the 50, thereby connecting on his first three aerial attempts.

Tensi missed on one, then hit Snyder for a first down at the Miami 37. On a draw play, Snyder slashed for 12 to the 25. Then Snyder rammed the line for two.
Then Biletnikoff got behind a defensive man, turned and grabbed the ball with a little leap just at the goal line, and fell into the end zone for six points. Doug Messer’s kick made it 7-0.

Mira found no receivers, and the first quarter ended without his completing a pass or Miami making a first down.

FSU had its third offensive shot from its own 34 before that quarter ended. A Tensi pass to Max Wettstein for 10 led to a first down at the FSU 48. But a couple of fumbles, recovered by Seminoles, messed up that move and Calhoun punted.

When Smith, after failing on a halfback pass, tried to go wide on another option, guard Bill McDowell zipped through and racked him for minus 11, back on the nine.
Miami punted as the second quarter opened, and FSU had a start from its 45.

Snyder, on two runs, tore off 15 to the Miami 40. Tensi missed, then hit – with Don Floyd catching for 15 at the 25. Snyder dug for one, then caught a pass from Tensi for seven to the 17.

It was third-and-two, and as Miami braced for a whack at the line, Tensi crossed ’em. He shot a pass to Biletnikoff in the end zone for six more points.
Messer swung his toe and it was 14-0.

Mira got his first pass completed with 5:50 gone in the quarter. Nick Spinelli caught it for seven yards and a first down – Miami’s first one – at the Hurricane 39. Then Mira found Hoyt Sparks with another, and the Hurricanes were knocking at FSU’s 41. There Mira missed on three straight, after a run, including a fourth-down throw. FSU took over at its 38.

Tensi hit a couple to Biletnikoff and Floyd, but a holding penalty stymied things and Calhoun punted to Miami’s 28.

Mira began finding his targets. Spinelli caught one for 10, and Pete Banaszak one for 11, to midfield. Another to Jack Sims, got the Hurricanes to FSU’s 37. But the home team got no farther than the 35. On fourth down, Winfred Bailey intercepted a Mira throw in the end zone.

FSU got backed on its eight, as Snyder got tossed for a loss of seven, followed by an offsides penalty. Calhoun stuck his toe into a 54-yarder and Miami was set back on its 39.

Jim Causey discouraged Mira by tossing him for his first loss, three yards. On fourth down, with 55 seconds, Miami judiciously punted, and soon the halftime whistle blew.

Harvey Foster, the Miami punter, had been quoted in the newspaper here to the effect he would not be obliged to punt more than three times in this one. This one, just before intermission, was his fourth.

Tensi had completed 10 of 13 passes for 119 yards at this stage, Mira six of 17 for 63. FSU had a 10-to-5 lead in first downs, 42-to-12 in rushing yardage, 161-to-75 in total yardage.

Then Miami tried running, and that was no good either. Starting from the 20 after the second half kickoff, Miami tried six straight cracks at the line, with Smith in the fore.

Came fourth down and six inches just over the 40-yard line. Banaszak tried the gamble, off the right side. He met a head-long counter plunge by Avery Sumner. Banaszak lost about a foot. FSU took over.

Third down and needing eight, and Tensi fired to Floyd for nine and the first down at the 27.

Miami called time out, then got introduced to a left-tackle run by Snyder, who pounded to the 18. Gene Roberts then struck the middle for 10.

A Snyder run for four, to the six, was sandwiched between two incomplete passes. On fourth down, Messer booted a 3-pointer from the 12, an official 22-yarder.
Miami got no further than its 32. After a mediocre punt, FSU started on its 40.

Marion Roberts whacked for six. Maury Bibent found a hole but somebody punched the ball out of his arms. The ball bounced forward to the Miami 46, where Charley Brown claimed the ball for the Hurricanes.

Sims caught a couple, for a first down at FSU’s 44. Robert Barth two plays later ripped off 13 to the 29. That was it. Another Barth run got two, Banaszak got nothing. Two passes failed, FSU took over.

Snyder rambled for 10, to the 38, as the third quarter ended. A clipping penalty stopped the effort. Calhoun punted to the Miami 45, and the Hurricanes drew their first penalty of the evening – a 15-yarder that put them on their 30.

Miami moved, running to its 41. Mira passed to Pinelli for 10, to Sparks for 14 at the FSU 35.

Tren Smith grabbed a Mira toss for 21, to the 14. Smith then ran wide, seven to the seven. Spinelli dropped Mira’s TD-labelled pass in the end zone when Calhoun socked him. Another pass missed. Fourth down now.

Mira threw again, Biletnikoff grabbed it in at about the goal line – not a Miami receiver near – and he struck out down the sidelines, shook off at least one tackler, outraced some others and went all the way, 99 yards with the interception. Messer made the point for 24-0.

A bit over ten minutes remained. Again Miami drove, beginning on its 34. Two straight pass-interference calls helped the Hurricanes to FSU’s 38. Mira threw to Sims at the 25, to Fred Brown at the 13.

Smith, running wide, got shot down by Floyd for minus seven. Mira passed to Bennett at the 13, then to the safe man at the seven. Fourth down and Bill Daly deflected Mira’s throw, and it fell harmlessly like a wounded pigeon.

FSU worked close to midfield, again got hamstrung on a penalty. A punt and Miami had a last chance from its 43 with less than two minutes to go.

It ended with Miami on the FSU 35, a badly beaten and mighty sad football team.

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