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The 1981 Orange Bowl was a postseason college football bowl game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Florida State Seminoles.

1981 Orange Bowl
1234 Total
Oklahoma 0378 18
Florida State 0737 17
DateJanuary 1, 1981
StadiumMiami Orange Bowl
LocationMiami, Florida
MVPQB J. C. Watts Oklahoma
DE Jarvis Coursey (Florida State)
RefereeGene Calhoun (Big Ten)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersDon Criqui and John Brodie
Orange Bowl
 < 1980  1982


Oklahoma was champion of the Big Eight Conference for the eighth consecutive year, and this was their fifth Orange Bowl appearance in six seasons. Florida State was in the Orange Bowl for the second straight year.

Game summaryEdit

Ricky Williams scored first for the Seminoles on a touchdown run in the second half, and Oklahoma countered with a field goal by Mike Keeling before halftime. David Overstreet capitalized on a 78-yard kickoff return with his four-yard run to give the Sooners a 10–7 lead. A field goal by Bill Capece tied the game as the third quarter ended. Bobby Butler recovered a botched punt and recovered in the end zone to give the Seminoles a 17–10 lead. With 3:19 remaining, Oklahoma's fate laid in the hands of J. C. Watts, who had turned the ball over three times previously. He led the team on a 78-yard drive, culminating with a touchdown pass to Steve Rhodes with 1:33 remaining. Oklahoma decided to risk it all, and Watts threw a pass to Forrest Valora in the end zone for the two point conversion to give them the lead. Florida State tried to counter back, but Capece's 62 yard field goal fell short, and the Sooners were victorious.[1]


Florida State did not return to the Orange Bowl until 1993. Oklahoma returned in 1985.


Statistics Oklahoma Florida State
First Downs 18 23
Yards Rushing 156 212
Yards Passing 128 51
Total Yards 284 263
Punts-Average 2-37.0 4-42.5
Fumbles-Lost 7-5 1-0
Interceptions 0 0
Penalties-Yards 4-32 5-58