Tempe, Ariz. (Jan. 1, 1988) — Florida State quarterback Danny McManus hit wide receiver Ronald
Lewis for a touchdown on fourth-and-15 late in the fourth quarter as FSU bounced back to win
the Fiesta Bowl over Nebraska, 31-28.
Nebraska struck quickly on a three-yard run by tailback Keith Jones and a 52-yard punt
return by Dana Brinson to open the game. At the end of one, Florida State trailed 14-0.
FSU scored 21 points in the second quarter after abandoning the run and turning to the hot hand of
McManus, who was named the game’s offensive MVP. When it was over, McManus had broken Fiesta Bowl
records for passes attempted (51) and yards passing (375).
The second quarter was all Garnet and Gold. Deion Sanders’ interception of a Steve Taylor pass
gave the Seminoles the football at the Husker 40. Six plays later, Herb Gainer snagged the first
of his two TDs, this one a 10-yarder.
The Florida State defense continued to tighten. Paul McGowan’s fumble recovery gave the ball back
to the offense. Seventy-five yards later, McManus handed off to Dayne Williams for a one-yard
Florida State scored on its third consecutive possession with 44 seconds left in the half. McManus
connected with Gainer from 25 yards out, and the Seminoles enjoyed a 21-14 lead.
The Huskers evened the score at 21 when they took the second half kickoff and marched 77 yards,
Taylor scoring from the two. The Seminoles then took a 24-21 lead on Derek Schmidt’s 32-yard field
goal. With 40 seconds left in the third period, fullback Tyreese Knox put Nebraska back on top
with a four-yard run.
The fourth period proved to be the culmination of an exciting afternoon for the crowd of 72,112 in
Sun Devil Stadium. Nebraska’s offense drove the field, using six minutes of clock time as the game
wound down. Camped at the Tribe two on second-and-goal, the Huskers were set to deal the final
blow. But as Knox got the handoff, the ball popped loose and FSU’s Eric Hayes recovered.
With 6:58 left, McManus needed a touchdown for a Florida State win. Starting from the FSU three,
the senior led his team down to the Nebraska two — the big play coming on a 43-yard pass to
tailback Dexter Carter. A dead ball foul pushed the Seminoles back to the 18. Two plays later,
McManus faced fourth-and-goal from the 15. He hit Lewis on the square-in pattern for the winning
Florida State finished the season 11-1 and was voted runnerup in both the Associated Press and
United Press International polls.
Score By Quarters 1 2 3 4 F FSU 0 21 3 7 31 Nebraska 14 0 14 0 28 Scoring Summary NEB - Jones 3 yd. run (Brennan kick), :19 NEB - Brinson 52 yd. punt return (Brennan kick), :00 FSU - Gainer 10 yd. pass from McManus (Schmidt kick), 1:45 FSU - D. Williams 4 yd. run (Schmidt kick), 2:38 FSU - Gainer 25 yd. pass from McManus (Schmidt kick), 1:58 NEB - Taylor 2 yd. run (Brennan kick), 3:19 FSU - Schmidt 32 yd. field goa, 3:52 NEB - Knox 4 yd. run (Brennan kick), 3:42 FSU - Lewis 15 yd. pass from McManus (Schmidt kick), 3:51 Team Statistics FSU NEB First Downs 26 20 Rushes - Yards 29-82 54-242 Passing Yards 375 142 Comp.-Att.-Int. 28-51-1 7-14-1 Plays-Total Offense 80-457 68-384 Punt Return Yards 12 89 Punts - Average 4-29.5 4-35.5 Fumbles - Lost 2-1 4-2 Interceptions - Yards 1-3 1-35 Penalties - Yards 2-20 9-78 Time of Possession 31:07 28:53 Third Down Cov. 9-17 4-11 Individual Statistics Rushing: FSU - S. Smith 9-28, McManus 5-26, D. Williams 3-5, D. Carter 4-4, Bennett 7-16, Butts 1-3; NEB - Jones 15-80, Heibel 3-7, Taylor 20-75, Carpenter 1-2, Brinson 2-16, Knox 13-62. Passing: FSU - McManus 28-51-1; NEB - Taylor 7-14-1. Receiving: FSU - D. Williams 1-7, P. Carter 5-54, Bennett 4-47, Butts 1-7, Gainer 5-89, R. Lewis 4-59, D. Carter 4-89, S. Smith 1-5, Dawsey 1-17, Anthony 2-29; NEB - Banderas 1-48, Gregory 3-49, Millikan 2-32, Heibel 1-13.