Location: Doak Campbell Stadium (Tallahassee, Fla.)
Result: 17-16, Miami
There are two sports teams for which the words "Wide Right" are absolutely nightmare-inducing: the Buffalo Bills and the Florida State Seminoles. With Buffalo, that means Scott Norwood missing the game-winning field goal in Super Bowl XXV. For the Noles, it's a series of heartbreaking losses to their rival, the Miami Hurricanes, each one more demoralizing than the last. However, the original "Wide Right" moment came in 1991, when the no. 1 ranked Seminoles hosted the no. 2 Hurricanes in a late-season game between two of the year's best. At the time, FSU was on a 16-game winning streak, while the Canes had a 14-game roll of their own going so, needless to say, these two teams were peaking. With the Seminoles, you had a high-flying offense that had been averaging 41 PPG leading up into their game with Miami, while the Hurricanes defense had only given up 58 points all season.
In the end, it was that same defense, and certainly a bit of luck, that carried the Canes to victory. Leading 17-16 with 29 seconds left to play, the Miami D had let the Noles advance to the 17-yard line, knocking on the door of another score. However, looking at a third-and-nine with no timeouts left, FSU coach Bobby Bowden elected to kick the field goal right away instead of taking another shot at the endzone. Sending out Gerry Thomas to hit a 34-yard chip shot, Bowden—and plenty of other spectators—likely thought that the Seminoles had the game locked up.
However, Thomas only proved to us that absolutely no kick is a sure thing. His attempt inexplicably sailed right, giving the Hurricanes the upset, and sinking FSU's title hopes for another year. Replacing the Seminoles for the top spot in the polls, the Canes would stay in that slot for the remainder of the year, eventually beating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to take home their fourth national championship.