Dozens of memorable plays have taken place in the history of Florida State Seminoles football, but 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and Super Bowl champion LeRoy Butler may have the best one on his resume. Of course, we're talking about when head coach Bobby Bowden called his number back in 1988.
Even though Butler had a solid career as a three-year starter as a defensive back for Florida State University, intercepting nine passes during his time in Tallahassee, it was a trick play on special teams that FSU fans will always remember during his Florida State football career.
That's right, we're talking about the 1988 "Puntrooskie."
Coach Bobby Bowden's Brain Beats Clemson
The tenth-ranked 'Noles football team were tied at 21 points a piece (thanks in part to a dynamite Deion Sanders punt return touchdown) with the ACC's third-ranked Clemson Tigers late in the fourth quarter on September 17, 1988. With less than two minutes left, Bowden took a huge risk on the road in Death Valley from his own 21-yard line on fourth down. Read that again: FROM HIS OWN 21-YARD LINE. Who could've predicted that?
Lined up in punt formation, the ball was snapped to fullback Dayne Williams, who handed the ball to Butler between his legs and faked running an option to the right, pulling the entire defense with him. Meanwhile, punter Tim Corlew had to act is if the ball was snapped over his head. This gave Butler the opportunity to run the fake punt 78 yards down the sideline to set up the game-winning, 19-yard field goal from Richie Andrews.
The Puntrooskie is still one of the greatest trick plays in NCAA college football history.
ESPN broke down exactly what the play looked like using X's and O's:
"I made a lot of trick plays. No. 1. Oh, it's gotta be No. 1. In fact, I don't know if I'd do it again today," Coach Bowden said of the play while chuckling.
Florida State, who lost its opener to the Miami Hurricanes, would win the rest of their games that season, finishing with an 11-1 record and beating Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. Butler finished the 1988 season with two interceptions, one being returned for a touchdown. In 1989, he returned, intercepted seven passes and was named a consensus All-American in his final season with FSU football,
But even though he had left his garnet and gold jersey in Tallahassee, the cornerback's memorable moments weren't over yet after being selected in the second round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers? Why? Because LeRoy Butler was the first player to ever score a touchdown and jump into the endzone seats at Lambeau Field, thus birthing the NFL tradition known as "The Lambeau Leap."