January 2, 1999
By MIKE FITZPATRICK
Associated Press Writer
No. 1 Tennessee (12-0) vs. No. 2 Florida State (11-1) at Tempe, Ariz., 8 p.m.
Florida State by 6.
Florida State leads 1-0.
1958, Florida State 10-0.
Career Bowl Records
Tennessee 21-17; Florida State 16-8-2.
Last Bowl Appearance
Tennessee lost to Nebraska 42-17 in the 1998 Orange Bowl; Florida
Ohio State 31-14 in the 1998 Sugar Bowl.
Common Opponents This Season
Tennessee beat Florida 20-17 in OT; Florida State beat Florida 23-12.
Phillip Fulmer, seventh season at Tennessee (66-11); Bobby Bowden, 23rd
season at Florida State (219-52-4, 292-84-4 overall).
Tennessee-The seemingly charmed Volunteers seek their first national
since 1951. A fluke fumble in the final minutes helped them avoid an upset
against Arkansas and a key pass interference call enabled them to beat
in the season-opener. It took a fourth-quarter comeback to upend Mississippi
State in the SEC championship game. Star TB Jamal Lewis injured his knee in
early October and hasn’t played since. Sophomore TB Travis Henry (970 yards
rushing, seven TDs), a quick and physical runner, has stepped in ably and the
ground game hasn’t missed a beat. The stellar offensive line, perhaps the
valuable component of this talented team, has a tall task here. First-year
starting QB Tee Martin has emerged as an accurate passer, a mobile weapon and
an indispensable leader. Clutch WR Peerless Price has 61 catches for 920
(15.1 ypc) and 10 TDs. WRs Jeremaine Copeland and Cedrick Wilson are also
steady. The outstanding defense is sometimes underrated. LB Al Wilson, a
first-team All-American, is a one-man wrecking crew who seems to play his
in big games. Raynoch Thompson, a third-team All-American, is another fine
CBs Steve Johnson and Dwayne Goodrich will be tested. Jeff Hall is a reliable
Florida State-It looked as if the Seminoles would never get back in the
national title hunt after a shocking loss at N.C. State in the season’s
game. But they rebounded with nine straight convincing wins and got help from
Texas A&M and Miami to get into this game. QB Chris Weinke went out with a
injury in early November and inexperienced sophomore Marcus Outzen was put in
charge. The offense was scaled down to suit Outzen’s running ability and
accuracy on short throws. Outzen stayed within himself and played nicely in a
23-12, season-ending victory over bitter state-rival Florida. Peter Warrick
be the best WR in the nation. The explosive junior has 61 catches for 1,232
yards (20.2 ypc) and 12 TDs. Slippery sophomore TB Travis Minor (857 yards
rushing, seven TDs) will likely be asked to shoulder much of the offensive
here. The suffocating defense is dominant and the return of standout LB
Green from injury late in the season only helps. FSU ranks first in the
in total defense (214.8 ypg), first against the pass and No. 2 against the
(79.8 ypg). PK Sebastian Janikowski, a first-team All-American and the Lou
Groza Award winner as the nation’s best kicker, has a huge leg.
Streaks, Stats and Notes
It is the 12th time the two top-ranked teams in the nation have met in a
bowl game. … In the history of the AP poll, every No. 1 team that has won
bowl game has won the national title. … Fulmer is the winningest active
in Division I-A (.857). … UT is 3-2 against the ACC in bowl games. …
Tennessee’s 10th straight bowl appearance. … Fulmer is 4-2 in bowl games.
UT offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe has left to become head coach at
Mississippi. Randy Sanders, the running backs coach for six seasons under
Fulmer, will be calling the plays. … UT is sixth in the country against the
run (93.9 ypg) and 17th in total defense (303 ypg). … Henry averages 5.5
yards per carry. … Martin has completed 57.3 percent of his passes for
yards and 19 TDs with just six INTs. … UT allows 14.4 ppg, ninth-best in
America. … Tennessee ranks 17th in the land in rushing (211.3 ypg). … FSU
ranks 31st (401.3 ypg) and UT 32nd (398.8 ypg) in the nation in total
… Florida State won its only national title in 1993. … FSU allows 11.5
second-best in the country. … Bowden is 16-4-1 in bowl games (.786), the
postseason winning percentage of any coach. … Standout DT Larry Smith is
with an injury, but FSU normally rotates its linemen anyway. … CB Mario
Edwards has six INTs. … FSU has an NCAA-record 12 straight 10-win seasons.
… DT Corey Simon is a first-team All-American. … The Seminoles are
against Top 20 teams this decade.