Editor's note: The 10th anniversary of Florida State's 1999 national championship is reason to celebrate. The Seminoles were the first to go wire-to-wire ranked No. 1 and remain the only unbeaten team in program history. This is the first of six feature stories which will appear in Game Time this season, with coach Bobby Bowden and several players sharing their most memorable moments as we take a game-by-game look at the 12-0 season.
Seminoles driven by defeat, carried by talent in '99 national championship season
The Seminoles were motivated by defeat, blessed with talent and driven by a quarterback, Chris Weinke, who had much to prove.
"There are some years when you go into the season and you know, 'This is not the year you've got the chance,'" FSU coach Bobby Bowden said recently. "Then there are some years you go into it and (say), 'We've got a chance this year.'
"It was very obvious in '93 with Charlie (Ward) coming back with all those guys. And it was very obvious in '99 because we had been there in '98. The feeling was, if we can do it right, we've got a great shot."
Florida State's 23-16 loss to Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl, which denied the Seminoles the '98 national championship, lingered in the minds of the players throughout the off-season.
"We were more motivated and determined than we had ever been as a group because of the defeat the year before," said Weinke, who was forced to watch from the sidelines in Tempe, Az. after suffering a career-threatening neck injury during a Nov. 7 win over Virginia.
With 15 returning starters returning on offense and defense, in addition to all of the specialists, there was no question about the level of talent Bowden had at his disposal. A remarkable 31 players from the '99 roster would go on to play in the NFL.
Throughout the off-season, with Weinke recovering from surgery, the focal point of all player conversations was, "finish the job."
"There was an eerie feeling that it was going to be a special year and we all felt that" said Weinke, recalling several talks with offensive coordinator Mark Richt. "The conversations with me were more, 'Make sure you're the leader we need you to be ... because we're all going to be disappointed if we don't accomplish what we need to accomplish.'"
Weinke's charge was made easier because his teammates, already brimming with confidence, dove head-long into the off-season program. This was a team that was not going to be easily denied the championship.
"When you say those things and they come to fruition, it's kind of fun,"
Here is how the season unfolded:
Florida State 41, Louisiana Tech 7
Weinke threw a pair of touchdown passes to freshman wide receiver Anquan Boldin and the defense forced three turnovers, scored a touchdown and pitched a second half shutout.
The game, however, will be best-remembered for the season's signature play by arguably the most electric player in college football - wide receiver Peter Warrick.
The Seminoles were dead-locked late in the first half.
"That (game) was a struggle," Bowden said. "It was 7-7 and we drove about 90 for (Warrick's) touchdown. It was a crazy reverse and a significant play. They had him stopped twice and he made a great play out if."
Taking a handoff from Weinke, Warrick changed directions twice, before cutting up-field and slithering into the end zone with a 20-yard touchdown run to give the Seminoles a 14-7 lead with 39 seconds to play in the half.
Florida State 41, No. 10 Georgia Tech 35
The Seminoles broke out their all-garnet uniforms for the highly-anticipated shootout at home with the Yellow Jackets and their electric quarterback Joe Hamilton.
Combining for 595 first half yards, the teams traded scores until Weinke connected with tailback Jeff Chaney on a 29-yard TD pass with 1:08 to play. That broke the third and final tie of the game, giving the 'Noles a 28-21 lead at the break.
Warrick's 26-yard TD reception two minutes into the second half provided FSU with a needed, two-score lead. Hamilton was perfect passing in the second half, but his 387 yards, four TD passes and one rushing score weren't enough.
"We played good offensively, but they kept matching us," Bowden said.
"Joe kept matching us touchdown for touchdown. He could run and throw the football. He nearly pulled a Charlie Ward on us."