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    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    Nole Bowls: 1950 Cigar Bowl

    Jan.2,1950,Cigar Bowl,Tampa: Florida State 19, Wofford 6

    After World War II, a number of new bowl games sprang up, most of them rather short-lived. Among them were the Cigar Bowl in Tampa, the Camellia Bowl in Lafayette, Louisiana, the Delta Bowl in Memphis, the Dixie Bowl in Birmingham, the Great Lakes Bowl in Cleveland, the Harbor Bowl in San Diego, the Oil Bowl in Houston, the Raisin Bowl in Fresno, and the Salad Bowl in Phoenix.

    Don Veller became Fsu's head coach in 1948. Following Veller’s arrival, the team became very successful playing some of the smaller southern college football teams. By the end of the 1949 regular season, Fsu's third in modern times, the team was invited to its first-ever bowl game.

    The Fourth Annual Cigar Bowl pre-game festivities in Tampa featured a giant Cigar Box from which emerged a beautiful queen. On the field that day before the 14,000 fans in attendance, Florida State pummeled its opponent, small-college powerhouse Wofford College of Spartanburg, S.C.

    Wofford had entered the game sporting a record of 11-0, and not having lost a game in more than two years. Pre-game predictions from the experts had Wofford winning by at least two touchdowns and as much as thirty-five points. Wofford was ranked higher than a number of well-established major college programs including Colorado, Maryland, and Arizona. The Dixie Conference champion Seminoles had gone 8-1 during the season but were expected to put up very little resistance to the Wofford juggernaut.

    The game started out as expected when with only about two minutes into the game, Wofford blocked a punt and took it in for a touchdown. Few suspected that Wofford would not score again. However, it was all FSU the remainder of the game.

    There were lots of FSU stars that day, but the brightest was fullback-defensive end Theo "Buddy" Strauss who sparkled on both sides of the ball. On offense, Strauss led all ball carriers in compiling 132 yards rushing and another 20 passing in completing two of four attempts. His total offense of 152 yards was more than the 139 yards gained by the entire Wofford team. On defense, Strauss slammed through the line over and over again making big play after big play.

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