Gilbert, the quarterback in 1994 and ’95; and McAndrews, a defensive end in 1992 and ’93, said they wouldn’t miss this game for anything.
“They earned the opportunity to play at this level and I’m proud of them,’’ Gilbert said.
Added McAndrews: “I make a point of not reminding people that we weren’t nearly as good.’’
A group of Huskies held up a bedsheet they “borrowed’’ from their hotel, and wrote on it in red and black, “LET’S WIN THIS Doggy-Style.’’
“I’m not going to say I know everything about football,’’ said student Tommy Hurrell, “but we have a hard-working team with a positive mentality.
“Anyway, all our other sports teams are duds. This is our spotlight.’’
Inside the stadium, the pregame festivities included red-and-purple fireworks and six members of the Wings of Blue Air Force Academy parachute team who parachuted onto the field before kickoff.
At least three missed their mark, including the one carrying the Northern Illinois flag. He landed in the Seminoles end zone and skidded toward the wall.
But all was well — at least for ’Noles fans — when at 9:12 p.m., the crowd erupted in an “FSU! FSU! FSU!” frenzy as Seminoles fullback Lonnie Pryor sprinted 60 yards down the left sideline to put Florida State up 7-0 late in the first quarter.
FSU led 17-10 with about 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
The pregame fun also included the Seminoles Marching Chiefs. That was the only reason proud dad David Stanford of Trinity, Fla., attended the Orange Bowl. His daughter Jennifer, 19, is a freshman who plays “the marching band version of the French horn.
“The football game to me is like the halftime show,’’ Stanford said. “My daughter, for me, is the game.’’