October 25, 1999 - by
Bowden Joins Elite Group Of Coaches With 300 Wins

Oct. 25, 1999

By PETE IACOBELLI

AP Sports Writer

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – The words of praise from father to son at
midfield in
Death Valley will have to do for now for Bobby and Tommy Bowden.

While the two could finally relax – Bobby Bowden’s victory No. 300 was
secure and their father vs. son showdown was done – Tommy said Sunday the
family might not reflect on the game’s importance until their annual summer
reunion.

“I get to see him for such a brief time,” Tommy Bowden said a day after
No. 1 Florida State (8-0, 6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) rallied to defeat
Clemson 17-14. “And it’s not only (Bobby), there’s my other brother (Jeff). We
usually don’t see that crowd until summer.”

It was a long week of buildup for the few minutes Bobby and Tommy met
in the
center of the field Saturday night. Both coaches spoke to their teams, did
their radio shows, spoke to the media and left with their teams.

“That handshake was about it,” Tommy Bowden said. “Then you’re gone.”

Florida State’s national title hopes and Bowden’s milestone were in doubt
for much of the game. Bowden’s still not sure how his team managed to beat
Clemson (3-4, 3-2).

“This is one of those games you go out there and play and you feel like
you’re losing, you’re losing, you’re losing and you’re going to get beat,”
Bowden said. “Then all of a sudden you win it and I don’t even know how.”

Florida State remained No. 1 in the latest Associated Press college
football
poll. It received 55 first-place votes from the panel and led No. 2 Penn
State,
1,733 points to 1,684.

Tommy Bowden – that chip off the ol’ whistle – did about all he could to
steal this one from his old man. “I told him after the game he outtricked me
3-0,” said Daddy.

Tommy’s Tigers (3-4, 3-2) converted a fake punt for 23 yards on the
way to
Clemson’s first touchdown. And he called a double reverse, throw-the-ball back
to quarterback Woody Dantzler for another first down.

But trailing 17-14 and faced with a fourth-and-1 from Florida State’s 30,
the younger Bowden played it straight, going for a tying 41-yard field goal
that failed. Tony Lazarra looked like he kicked the ground and Seminoles
cornerback Tay Cody got a hand on the kick, Tommy Bowden said.

Tommy crouched on the sidelines alone, head down, as time ran out. “I was
more disappointed that we missed a chance to beat the number one team in the
country and with any familial ties,” he said.

Peter Warrick, back for Florida State after missing the past two games
with
legal troubles, caught 11 passes for 121 yards. But when he had chances to
make
a difference, he dropped plays he’d normally break for big yards. Warrick
chose
not to talk to reporters after the game.

Bobby Bowden thought the distraction of Warrick’s situation – he pleaded
guilty to misdemeanor petty theft on Friday for a department store scam and
was
finally cleared to play – led to his inconsistency.

“I’ve never seen Peter do what he did tonight since he was a freshman,”
Bowden said.

Travis Minor scored on a 1-yard run and Chris Weinke threw to Dan
Kendra for
a 2-point conversion with 10 seconds left in the third quarter as Florida
State
tied it 14-all.

Sebastian Janikowski’s third field goal, a 39-yarder, with 5:26 was the
difference.

The win kept alive the Seminoles’ drive for Bowden’s second national
championship.

“This team hasn’t been beat,” Weinke said, “and we don’t think we will be
beat.”

Bowden joined Bear Bryant, Pop Warner, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Joe
Paterno as
the only major college coaches to reach 300 victories.

Florida State’s victory wrapped a week unlike the Bowdens probably had
ever
seen. The family – from Bobby to wife Ann to sons Bobby, Terry, Jeff and
Steve,
to brother-in-law Jack Hines and Tommy’s wife, Linda – shared some personal,
funny and embarrassing stories.

Ann Bowden sat with a sweatshirt half Clemson, half Florida State.
Everyone
in college football’s first family pretty much left satisfied, its patriarch
said.

“Mama’s happy, I know,” Bobby Bowden said of his wife. “She wanted a
close game and that I would win because I’m older. She wanted her boy to look
good and he looked good. He looked too good to suit me.”

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