The Florida State players were determined to carry off the coach who had lifted their once-moribund football program to national eminence. But once on their shoulders, Bobby Bowden balked. After a few yards of forward progress, Bowden pointed at the ground. Even after the final victory of his storied career, a 33-21 win against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl on Friday, Bowden was uncomfortable being elevated above everybody else. “They were determined to get me on their shoulders, so they did that,” Bowden said. He added, “But then I thought it was about time to get down.”

With many in the crowd of 84,129 — a Gator Bowl record — staying after the trophy presentation to chant his name, the 80-year-old Bowden walked off the field surrounded by a phalanx of photographers recording the official end of an era.

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