British Columbia Lions

Larry Key - Running Back - 1978-82 - Florida State

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FSU Seminole News & Views

Running back Larry Key became the first player in Florida State history to rush for 1,000 yards when he gained 1,117 as a senior in 1977. He served as a captain on that team that finished 10-2. Over his career from 1974-77, Key broke game, season and career marks for rushing. He gained over 100 yards 10 times and finished with 2,953 career yards as a Seminole. His 100 yards or more for 10 times has only been surpassed by four other Seminoles. His 97-yard run against VPI in 1976 is the longest run ever by a Seminole.

 

Key also set four kick return records and was the national leader in all-purpose yardage in 1977. By his senior year, Florida State fans had adopted the habit of shaking their keys every time he touched the ball. Key was inducted into the FSU Football Hall of Fame in 1984.

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Larry Key was a diminutive back with explosive speed and power. He was a 10th round selection of the Green Bay Packers in 1978 after a terrific collegiate career with the Florida State Seminoles. After failing to stick with the Packers he looked north and joined his former college teammate Leon Bright with the B.C.Lions for the 1978 season.

 

Key fit the CFL mold perfectly of a smaller speed back. As has been the case with players such as Mack Herron, Eric Allen all the way to Pinball Clemons and Charles Roberts the athletic multi-purpose backs often overlooked due to their size find a home in the CFL. Key was no different posting over 1,000 yards rushing in his rookie season and over 2,200 all purpose yards.

 

He was considered among the elite backs in the league over his career capturing all-star honours in his second season 1979 with 1,060 yards as well as 1981 when he had a career high 1,098 and a team record 17 rushing touchdowns. This mark would be equalled by Cory Philpot in 1995.

 

Larry Key had a rivalry with Calgary back James Sykes. Both players wore #11 and competed for the rushing titles in 1980 and 81 with Sykes capturing the honours.

 

"I was just remembering back to those years. Larry Key was at B.C. then and we'd always be talking about which one of us was the real No. 11. That was one of the highlights for me, competing against him for the rushing title in the West for three years or so. That was a treat."

 

Larry holds a special place with B.C. Lion fans as the little guy playing and starring in the big mans game.

- statistics --

 

Larry Key   Florida State  
  Rushing      
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1978 BC 215 1,054 4.9 66 7
1979 BC 204 1,060 5.2 71 9
1980 BC 97 491 5.1 28 4
1981 BC 204 1,098 5.4 60 17
1982 BC 167 820 4.9 62 10
Total 5 887 4,523 5.1 71 47

 

  Receiving      
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1978 BC 48 506 10.5 46 3
1979 BC 42 289 6.9 32 0
1980 BC 13 94 7.2 19 1
1981 BC 29 237 8.2 29 2
1982 BC 36 331 9.2 38 2
Total 5 168 1,457 8.7 46 8

 

  Kick Returns      
Yr Team No Yds Avg Lg TD
1978 BC 20 649 32.5 86 1
1979 BC 16 365 22.8 60 0
1980 BC 9 298 33.1 48 0
1981 BC 15 277 18.5 25 0
1982 BC 2 46 23.0 23 0
Total 5 62 1,635 26.4 86 1