For nearly six decades, "sod games" and
the Florida State University Sod Cemetery have been a rich part of the
Seminoles college football history, commemorating many of the greatest
victories. In 1962, as the
Seminoles completed their Thursday practice in preparation to face
Georgia at Sanford Stadium, Dean Coyle Moore - a long-time professor and
member of FSU's athletic board - issued a challenge: "Bring back some
sod from between the hedges at Georgia." On Saturday, October 20, the
Seminoles scored an 18-0 victory over the favored Bulldogs.
Team captain Gene McDowell pulled a small
piece of grass from the field, which was presented to Moore at the next
football practice. Moore and FSU coach Bill Peterson had the sod buried
on the practice field as a symbol of victory. A monument was placed to
commemorate the triumph and the tradition of the sod game was born.
Since then, before leaving for all road
games in which Florida State is the underdog, all road games at the
University of Florida and all ACC championship and bowl games, Seminole
captains gather their teammates to explain the significance of the
tradition. Victorious captains return with a piece of the opponent's
turf to be buried in the Sod Cemetery outside the gates of the practice
Away from home and against
the odds, Florida State sod games represent the most difficult battles
on the football field. The Sod Cemetery stands as a tribute to those
triumphs, to be enjoyed by the Seminole faithful.