For Florida State Football, “sod games” and the Sod Cemetery have been a rich part of the Seminoles college football history, commemorating many of the greatest victories. 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
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.
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 inside the gates of the practice field.