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Hagans reminisces on 2005 win over FSU, and why it meant so much to him personally

Marques Hagans
Marques Hagans. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Marques Hagans told everybody who would listen that he wasn’t going to leave Charlottesville without beating Florida State.

“That Florida State game to me was personal,” said Hagans, now UVA’s wide receivers coach, but from 2002-2005, he was a quarterback and wideout on Al Groh’s teams on Grounds.

If not for a fumble at the end of the Cavaliers’ 35-29 loss to Colorado State in his freshman year, he would have just been a quarterback.

Hagans got the call when Matt Schaub struggled early, and was impressive – completing 10 of his 13 passes for 120 yards.

Down six late, Hagans led an 81-yard drive to the Colorado State 1.

“I’ll never forget that on all the plays in my career, that sticks out the most because of that play on the 1-yard line,” Hagans said in an interview with us on “The Jerry Ratcliffe Show” with Chris Graham earlier this week.

Hagans fumbled at the 1 with 10 seconds left, but his play before the fumble earned him the starting nod for UVA’s Week 2 game with, you guessed it, FSU.

Didn’t go so well.

“Didn’t finish the game, coach pulled me out. He was like, I’ve seen enough,” said Hagans, who was 1-for-7 passing for four yards before being lifted in favor of Schaub, who would go on to solidify his status as QB1 for the next two years, as Hagans shifted to wideout and the punt unit, catching 28 balls in 2003 and returning 57 punts over the next two seasons.

Schaub graduated in 2004, and Hagans was back at QB, throwing for 2,024 yards in 2004 and 2,492 yards in 2005.

The 2004 ‘Hoos started 5-0 and were ranked sixth, one spot ahead of the Seminoles, heading into an October matchup in Tallahassee.

“It was hyped that we were going to beat them,” Hagans recalled, but, um, no.

FSU rolled, 36-3, and Hagans didn’t even get to finish, knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter with a hip pointer.

Now you know why the 2005 game with Florida State was personal.

“My senior year, my last year, I said, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ll be damned if I don’t leave beating these dudes,” Hagans said, telling a story about the Monday of that game week, and a visit with offensive coordinator Ron Prince.

“I said, look, coach, I normally don’t do this about game plans, but I said this is how we’re going to beat Florida State, this is what we have to do.”

That 2005 Virginia team had lost two straight after a 3-0 start. Florida State was 5-0 and ranked fourth in the nation.

Few outside the UVA locker room gave the Cavaliers a chance.

“Man, that whole week, we just, it just felt right,” Hagans said.

And it started out well for the ‘Hoos, who scored on a 21-yard pass from Hagans to Jonathan Stupar five minutes in, got three first-half field goals from Connor Hughes, and then, with 19 seconds left in the second quarter, a 16-yard TD pass from Hagans to Wali Lundy to go into the break up 23-10.

Another Hughes field goal made it 26-10 going into the fourth, but FSU would make it interesting.

A Drew Weatherford-to-Chris Davis 22-yard TD pass, and a Weatherford-to-Greg Carr two-point conversion pass, cut the lead to 26-18 with 12:31 to go.

Another Florida State drive would stall at the UVA 15, but a Gary Cismesia field goal made it 26-21 with 7:35 to go.

The next Virginia drive was a three-and-out, and the ‘Noles got it to midfield before a holding penalty forced a punt.

Getting the ball back with 3:28 to go, the ‘Hoos did get one first down, but a Hagans run on third-and-6 came up a couple yards short, giving FSU the ball back at their own 26 with 56 seconds to play.

The final Florida State drive would last only one play.

“Tony Franklin picked the pass off at the end to seal the game. Man, I was so happy. Like, I don’t even know what I did with my helmet. I had to go back out and take a knee. I didn’t know what I did with my helmet. I think I wore somebody else’s helmet to take the last two knees. I was just so happy,” Hagans recalled.

Legendary FSU coach Bobby Bowden would say afterward, memorably, “We couldn’t stop dadgum #18,” and it was true, it was dadgum #18 that carried the win.

Hagans was 27-for-36 passing for 306 yards on a night when the Cavaliers could only muster 20 yards on the ground.

FSU gained 472 yards, but the Virginia defense did force three turnovers.

“I tell people this all the time, I didn’t win that game by myself. The defense played well. Connor Hughes played unbelievable kicking all those field goals. The O line, just everybody contributed,” Hagans said.

“I know people always say it was me, but I always see us, and that’s something that’ll always connect us for years and years to come. And if that’s one of the highest points in UVA history, or one of the most celebrated and UVA football history, I’ll take it, because that’s my guys. That’s not just me, it’s us, and that’s something that means a lot to me.

“I’m thankful for that moment, because it seems like people appreciate that moment as a part of like UVA history. There are a lot of people that will play here at UVA, but very few people can say they’re a part of history, like, something that really sticks out, that people will remember for a long period of time long after you play.

“To me, to be able to be a part of that, and not just me personally, but that team, that accomplishment, if that means that much to some people, that’s an accomplishment for me. My kids can hear about how their dad played on a team that upset Florida State,” Hagans said.

Story by Chris Graham

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