New Orleans, La. (Jan. 2, 1989) — Sammie Smith rushed for 115 yards on 24 carries and All-American
Deion Sanders intercepted a pass in the end zone on the game’s final play to give Florida State
a 13-7 victory over SEC champion Auburn in the 55th Annual Sugar Bowl.
The victory, before an ABC national television audience, gave FSU an 11-game win streak and a
No. 3 final ranking. It also marked the seventh consecutive bowl championship for FSU.
Florida State scored 10 points in the first quarter, and it would be enough for the Seminole
defense. FSU limited the Tigers to 108 yards on the ground and 270 total yards. The Tribe
recovered a pair of fumbles and grabbed three interceptions, including Sanders’ game-saver.
Smith powered the Florida State offense early with 73 yards in the first half. He earned the
Miller-Digby Award as the game’s Most Valuable Player and became the first back to gain over 100
yards on Auburn’s defense in 25 games.
Florida State opened the game with an impressive 84-yard drive. Smith gained 50 yards as the
Tribe surprised Auburn by running the ball up the middle. Dayne Williams got the touchdown on a
two-yard run at 9:48 of the first quarter.
After a Stan Shiver interception, FSU’s Bill Mason added a 35-yard field goal to give the Seminoles
a 10-0 lead. Following a fumble recovery, Florida State drove to the Auburn two, where a fake
field goal attempt failed.
The next time the Seminoles got the ball, after a Dedrick Dodge interception, FSU capitalized by
driving 24 yards in eight plays for a 31-yard Mason field goal.
The teams exchanged punts on their next possessions before Auburn drove for its lone score of the
game. The Tigers took the ball on their own 49 and Reggie Slack threw a 20-yard touchdown pass
to Walter Reeves to bring Auburn within six at 13-7.
It was as close as Auburn would get. In fact, neither team would score again as defense dominated
the second half.
As the fourth period began, FSU was on the Auburn one following a 68-yard drive. On third-and-goal,
Chip Ferguson’s lateral to Sammie Smith got away and Auburn recovered. The Tigers turned around
and drove to the FSU 15-yard line.
On fourth-and-nine from FSU’s 15, Howard Dinkins pressured Slack and he was called for intentional
grounding. After a Seminole punt pinned Auburn at its own four with 3:28 to go, the Tigers put
together a last-ditch drive to win the game.
With Slack completing passes to receivers Reeves, Lawyer Tillman and Freddy Weygand, the Tigers
converted on fourth down three times. But on third-and-10 from the FSU 22 and five seconds
remaining, Auburn went at FSU’s All-American once too often. Sanders picked off Slack’s pass in
the end zone, and Florida State had its first Sugar Bowl victory.
Score By Quarters 1 2 3 4 F FSU 10 3 0 0 13 Auburn 0 7 0 0 7 Scoring Summary FSU - D. Williams 2 yd. run (Andrews kick), 9:48 FSU - Mason 35 yd. field goal, 5:57 FSU - Mason 31 yd. field goal, 11:00 AUB - Reeves 20 yd. pass from Slack (Lyle kick), 4:09 Team Statistics FSU AUB First Downs 21 18 Rushes - Yards 47-148 36-108 Passing Yards 157 162 Comp.-Att.-Int. 14-27-1 19-33-3 Plays-Total Offense 74-305 69-270 Punt Return Yards 0 25 Punts - Average 4-35 4-35.8 Fumbles - Lost 2-1 3-2 Interceptions - Yards 3-11 1-13 Penalties - Yards 6-45 5-65 Time of Possession 33:35 26:25 Third Down Cov. 6-16 1-12 Individual Statistics Rushing: FSU - S. Smith 24-115, Ferguson 6-(-19), D. Williams 7-16, Carter 7-25, Floyd 1-5, Dawsey 1-0, Butts 1-6; AUB- Danley 19-68, Harris 4-6, Joseph 8-47, Slack 4-(-9), Weygand 1-(-4). Passing: FSU - Ferguson 14-26-1, Johnson 0-1-0; AUB - Slack 19-33-3. Receiving: FSU - Anthony 3-47, O'Malley 2-31, Dawsey 2-10, D. Carter 3-25, D. Williams 2-20, Johnson 1-16, Butts 1-8; AUB - Taylor 5-35, Reeves 2-37, Weygand 3-40, Danley 5-2, Tillman 4-48.