Jefferson-Eppes Trophy

The Jefferson-Eppes Trophy[2][3] is an American college football trophy given to the winner of irregularly played games between the Florida State Seminoles of Florida State University and the Virginia Cavaliers of the University of Virginia.[4][5][6] The trophy was created on the suggestion of former FSU President Sandy D'Alemberte, after Virginia became the first ACC program to defeat Florida State on November 2, 1995.[4] To that point, the Seminoles had run up a perfect 29–0 record through their first 3½ years of Atlantic Coast Conference play.

First meetingOctober 31, 1992
Florida State 13, Virginia 3
Latest meetingSeptember 14, 2019
Virginia 31, Florida State 24
Next meeting2020 in Tallahassee
Meetings total19
All-time seriesFlorida State leads, 14–4[1]
Longest win streakFlorida State, 9 (1996–2004)
Current win streakVirginia, 1 (2019–present)
Locations of Florida State and Virginia

Virginia and Florida State played each other yearly between 1992 and 2006, but the game never became a major rivalry (e.g., called "one of the lesser known rivalries in college football" by the Orlando Sentinel).[5][7] The annual game was not preserved by the ACC when its divisional play began, and the Cavaliers and Seminoles began facing off much more rarely. In recent decades the games are sporadic but competitive: since 2005, Virginia is 3–2 against Florida State (as of 2019).[1]

Virginia won the most recent trophy game in 2019, and currently possesses the Jefferson-Eppes Trophy in Charlottesville. The teams will meet again in 2020 in Tallahassee, but unless they meet in an ACC Championship Game, Florida State and Virginia will not match up on the gridiron again until at least 2025.

Eppes, Trophy, and StatueEdit

This football trophy was created in 1995 by Florida State president Sandy D'Alemberte and was named for former President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson, and Jefferson's grandson Francis W. Eppes, a two-time mayor of Tallahassee(now Florida State University). In 1856, he presented the offer of a building and funds to the State Assembly of Florida to have the West Florida Seminary located at Tallahassee. The Semiary later evolved into FSU. Thomas Jefferson's youngest daughter was Mary Jefferson Eppes, mother of Francis Eppes. Her death, in 1804, prompted Abigail Adams to thaw relations between the Adams and Jefferson families by writing her condolences to Thomas Jefferson. Francis was only three years old when his mother died and had no memory of her.

Seven years after this football trophy was created, an Eppes statue was created and placed as a focal point of the FSU Legacy Walk in 2002. Former Florida State president D'Alemberte also spearheaded this effort. The Eppes statue later became controversial, in 2016, due to Eppes' history of expanding his slave ownership to encompass several working cotton plantations prior to the American Civil War, supporting the Confederacy in various ways, and organizing night watches to catch slaves in the streets of territorial Tallahassee. Despite this history, FSU students voted by a large margin, 72% to 28%, to keep the Eppes statue. The Florida State administration moved its location in 2018.


The trophy is composed of an intricately wrought silver pitcher presented to the city of Tallahassee, Florida by Eppes in 1842 and set upon a wood base made of remains of the McGuffey Ash, which was once the largest tree on the Grounds of the University of Virginia but suffered a fatal tree disease in 1990. The trophy was designed by Ryan Parker.

Game resultsEdit

Florida State victoriesVirginia victories
1 October 31, 1992 Charlottesville, VA Florida State 13–3
2 October 16, 1993 Tallahassee, FL Florida State 40–14
3 September 3, 1994 Tallahassee, FL Florida State 41–17
4 November 2, 1995 Charlottesville, VA Virginia 33–28
5 October 26, 1996 Tallahassee, FL Florida State 31–24
6 October 25, 1997 Charlottesville, VA Florida State 47–21
7 November 7, 1998 Tallahassee, FL Florida State 45–14
8 October 30, 1999 Charlottesville, VA Florida State 35–10
9 October 21, 2000 Tallahassee, FL Florida State 37–3
10 October 20, 2001 Charlottesville, VA Florida State 43–7
11 August 31, 2002 Tallahassee, FL Florida State 40–19
12 October 18, 2003 Charlottesville, VA Florida State 19–14
13 October 16, 2004 Tallahassee, FL Florida State 36–3
14 October 15, 2005 Charlottesville, VA Virginia 26–21
15 November 4, 2006 Tallahassee, FL Florida State 33–0
16 October 2, 2010 Charlottesville, VA Florida State 34–14
17 November 19, 2011 Tallahassee, FL Virginia 14–13
18 November 8, 2014 Tallahassee, FL Florida State 34–20
19 September 14, 2019 Charlottesville, VA Virginia 31–24
Series: Florida State leads 14–4
† Vacated by Florida State

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Florida State vacated its 2006 win due to academic fraud related to its student-athletes. NCAA Announcement, NCAA, accessed November 9, 2019.
  2. ^ "Jefferson-Epps Trophy". University of Virginia via Instagram. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  3. ^ "Virginia Announces 2019 Football Schedule". University of Virginia. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "From The Press Box For The Virginia Game". Florida State University. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "FSU-VIRGINIA RIVALRY GETS TROPHY". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  6. ^ Beck & Wilkinson, Stan & Jack (2013). College Sports Traditions: Picking Up Butch, Silent Night, and Hundreds of Others. The Scarecrow Prss. p. 278. ISBN 978-0810891203.
  7. ^ Nov. 19, 2019 FSU Notebook, Orlando Sentinel, accessed November 9, 2019