BOZICH | How to beat Florida State? Ask the 2002 Louisville foot - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | How to beat Florida State? Ask the 2002 Louisville football team

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Louisville fans tore down the goal posts when the Cards upset Florida State in 2002. (Photo U of L media guide.) Louisville fans tore down the goal posts when the Cards upset Florida State in 2002. (Photo U of L media guide.)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Do the players on the 2002 University of Louisville football team remember Henry Miller’s 25-yard game-winning breaststroke into the soggy end zone, the one that gave the Cardinals their 26-20 upset overtime victory over Florida State?

Like it happened 25 seconds ago.

“When it was over, we were all like little kids out there playing in the rain,” said safety Anthony Floyd.

“The greatest memory of my college career,” receiver Damien Dorsey said.

“Elvis (Dumervil) and I talk about it all the time,” said defensive back Curry Burns. “I’m sure we’ll talk about it Saturday. Just so many plays by so many guys.”

Dorsey coaches high school football in Montgomery, Ala. He has a quarterback, Malik Cunningham, who has orally committed to play for Louisville next season. Burns played five pro seasons. He is a real estate agent in Miami. Floyd, another former pro, is a personal trainer and youth coach in Youngstown, Ohio.

All of them will find a television Saturday, excited by the presence of ESPN and College GameDay and wondering if the 2016 Louisville football team can do something only the 1952 and 2002 Cardinals’ teams have achieved — beat Florida State.

“I don’t have any doubt they can win,” Floyd said “I think they’re like our team. They have a lot of confidence. They’ve played them close into the second half the last two years. They know they can win. So did we.”

The series record shows 14 Florida State victories and only the two by the Cards. No wonder that 2002 victory continues to resonate.

Louisville started that season with soaring expectations and promptly cratered with losses to Kentucky and Colorado State in the first three games. FSU, coached by Hall of Famer Bobby Bowden, was ranked fourth.

“Going into the game everybody was writing us off,” Burns said.  “At the beginning of the season we were projected to be contenders, to be ranked 10 to 15, but we lost to Kentucky and it just started going downhill. Week to week we were just trying to pull out wins.

“A lot of rain and a lot of hitting. Everything about that game was electric, so much physical play.”

The famous tackle and semi-choke by defensive end Dewayne White that left Florida State halfback Greg Jones seething.

“Who can forget that picture?” Burns said.

Dorsey’s reception of a one-yard pass from Dave Ragone that tied the game in the fourth quarter.

“I told Coach (John L. Smith) and Ragone that I would be open,” Dorsey said.

Anthony Floyd’s daring interception of a Chris Rix pass that ended Florida State’s overtime possession.

“They had run the same play for touchdowns twice earlier in the game,” Floyd said. “I read my keys, followed the quarterback and made a play. I wasn’t going to let them do it again.”

And, of course, Miller’s 25-yard winning romp, the one that made the Cardinals six-point winners on a night when Las Vegas had them written down as 15-point losers.

The players rushed the North end zone at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and buried Miller in celebration, prompting Smith to wonder if Miller knew how to swim. The fans rushed the field. Security never had a chance. 

Neither did the goal posts. They came down and then exited the stadium, winding their way to several spots on campus, most on fraternity row. Eventually, the goal posts were cut into 4-to-6 inch pieces. Many players claimed them as souvenirs.

“I still have mine,” Dorsey said. “I know where it is. I keep it with all my other football keepsakes from Louisville. I still look at it sometimes. It’s a great memory.”

Of course, the players still remember and talk about the rain. Some say the skies leaked the entire game. Some say it was the most unrelenting rain they can remember for a football game.

Dorsey and Floyd had the most interesting weather memories from that game:

“I knew we were going to win that game during the pre-game warmups,” Dorsey said.

“It was pouring and we were out there for our regular warmups, just like it was a regular day. Florida State stayed in the locker room. It was like they didn’t want to come out and get wet until the game started.

“Our guys were out on the field like it wasn’t even raining and they stayed inside. That’s a big memory to me.”

“The rain didn’t bother us,” Floyd said. “It was just football. I remember we held our regular walk through outside in the rain. Florida State had beaten us pretty good (32-0) two years earlier. We wanted to show that we belonged.”

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