The Hoosiers' first of six bowl appearances under Bill Mallory took the team to Birmingham, Alabama for the All-American Bowl, now defunct. Unimpeachable Wikipedia reports that the All-American Bowl originated as the "Hall of Fame Classic" and was played in Birmingham from 1977-1985. When the Hall of Fame decided to move its bowl to Tampa (now the Outback Bowl), the All-American Bowl was born. After the 1990 season, Birmingham dropped the bowl in favor of hosting the newly created SEC championship game, which remained in Birmingham for only two years.
By 1986, Bobby Bowden had dramatically improved FSU's program, and the A-A was Bowden's eighth bowl bid in eleven seasons at FSU. The 1986 team, however, was fairly ordinary compared to most of FSU's teams from the late 1980s and 1990s. The Seminoles finished 7-4-1 in 1986, but after that, did not win fewer than 10 games in a season until 2001. Still, the Hoosiers couldn't break through.
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While IU outgained the Seminoles 383-342 and won the turnover battle 2-1, and despite a solid performance by freshman Anthony Thompson (28-127), IU settled for field goals and managed only one touchdown. FSU's Sammie Smith led the way with 205 yards rushing on 25 carries and two touchdowns.