Transfer FSU football quarterback Alex Hornibrook may be a native of Pennsylvania, but his name will bring up memories to fans of the Noles’ rivals.
When the FSU football team takes the field for their 2019 season opener against Boise State on August 31st, the garnet and gold will have a transfer quarterback on the roster after the decision from Alex Hornibrook to leave the Wisconsin Badgers after three seasons as starter to finish his career with the Noles.
The graduate transfer, who was born and raised not all that far from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania before making the decision to play college football in the midwest, will be living full time in the Sunshine State for the first time in his life – but his last name is already a part of college football history in Florida.
In fact, it’s a name that was not just a part of one of the most heated moments between FSU football rivals but was part of one of the mot controversial moments in the history of college football.
Hornibrook’s great-uncle, John, was the quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes during the 1971 season – one that ended with a game against the rival Florida Gators (yes, younger generation – the schools used to play each other yearly instead of the recent whining and running from each other).
While his career in Coral Gables was not the stuff of legends, he did score a touchdown on the final play of his college career – when the Gators’ defense laid down so they could get the ball back and give quarterback John Reaves a chance to set the college passing record at the time.
Video of the ‘Florida Flop’ (at the :35 second mark of this clip courtesy of the Wolfson Archives and what is now WSVN-TV in Miami) shows what the orange and blue did to make college football history and live in infamy all at one time.
Nearly a half a century later, it’s a moment that makes fans of the FSU football rivals either get really mad or really defensive when remembering the play (after which Reaves did get the record two players later). Just one player for the Gators did not fall down on the play – safety John Clifford, who was a Coral Gables native and told ESPN he just wanted to make it look good.
Alex Hornibrook has his own history in the Sunshine State as well – after leading the Badgers to an Orange Bowl title following the 2017 season when they demolished the Miami Hurricanes inside their own (rented) stadium.
For the first time since 2013 and just the seventh time since the annual rivalry ended after the 1987 season, both those schools will play when they meet on August 24th in Orlando – and I for one think that Hornibrook should wear his FSU football jersey to the game if for nothing more than to stir up things.