November 18, 2000 - by
Florida State Trounces The Gators, 30-7

Nov. 18, 2000




Box Score | Photo Gallery

By RICHARD ROSENBLATT
AP Football Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Now, Florida State can only wait to see whether the
Bowl Championship Series standings deem the Seminoles worthy of defending their
national championship.

“That computer better not betray me,” coach Bobby Bowden said after the
No. 3 Seminoles’ 30-7 victory over fourth-ranked Florida on Saturday night.
“I’d rather have the computer decide who plays for the championship than a
person who may have some biases.”

And that’s exactly what will happen, but not until Dec. 3, a day after the
regular season ends and the BCS computer has crunched the final numbers and
decides who plays in the BCS’ title game in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3.

Chris Weinke fought off the flu and threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns
– two to Marvin Minnis – as Florida State completed its season with a
surprisingly easy win over its bitter state rival.

“This is the best football team in the country right now and I think we
proved it,” Weinke said. “Beating the No. 4 team by 23 points should be
convincing enough for people to realize the kind of football team this is.”

The Seminoles can feel good about their chances because the winner of the
Florida-Florida State game has gone on to play for the title five of the last
seven years. Then again, the computer won’t take history into account.

Florida State (11-1), third in the current BCS standings behind Oklahoma and
Miami, is expected to move ahead of Miami when the new point totals are
released Monday. Miami, which beat Florida State on Oct. 7, routed Syracuse
26-0 on Saturday night and closes its season next week against Boston College.

The BCS standings are based on four components – the AP media poll and the
coaches’ poll, eight computer rankings, strength of schedule and number of
losses.

Florida State will gain ground in the schedule strength and computer
rankings, but Miami could catch the Seminoles with a big win against the
Eagles. No. 1 Oklahoma, meanwhile, still has games against Oklahoma State and
then against Kansas State in the Big 12 title game Dec. 2.

Florida (9-2), the SEC East champion, still has a chance to play in the
Sugar Bowl if it beats Auburn in the league title game Dec. 2.

“We got beat thoroughly,” Florida coach Steve Spurrier said after his
record fell to 0-5-1 at Doak Campbell Stadium. “Give credit to Florida State
because they played well. We had to play our very best to beat them in this
game.”

In the 45th meeting between these powers, a record crowd of 83,042 witnessed
the Seminoles most impressive performance of the season.

Weinke completed 23 of 44 passes and his second TD pass of the game – a
34-yarder to Minnis in the first quarter – made him the Atlantic Coast
Conference’s career passing leader, moving him ahead of Duke’s Ben Bennett.
Weinke, who also enhanced his Heisman Trophy chances, has thrown for 9,789
yards in his career. Bennett had 9,564 yards.

“Now that this game is over, we’ll see what happens with the Heisman,”
said Weinke, who also threw two interceptions. “But it’s fun to have a chance
to play for the national championship and to have the opportunity to win
back-to-back titles.”

Minnis, who caught three TD passes in last week’s win over Wake Forest, had
eight catches for 187 yards. For Florida, Jesse Palmer was 17-of-30 for 180
yards and two interceptions. Rex Grossman, who took the first snap and didn’t
return until the game was decided in the fourth quarter, also threw an
interception. He finished 10-of-16 for 98 yards.

“We played offense about like we played two years ago here,” Spurrier
said, recalling a 23-12 loss. “It’s been a long time since we’ve played well
here.”

With the win, Florida State extended its unbeaten streak at home to 52
games, dating to 1991, and its home winning streak to 35 games, dating to 1994.

“Our seniors never lost a game here and it’s just amazing what they have
done,” Bowden said.

Holding a 14-7 lead at the half, the Seminoles took control in the third
period thanks to Weinke’s passing and Florida’s penalties.

William McCray capped an 80-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run, but the Gators
hurt themselves with two pass interference calls – one against Lito Sheppard
trying to stick with Minnis, the other on Todd Johnson, who was flagged for
holding Minnis on the goal line. Florida was penalized 14 times for 116 yards.

The Seminoles extended the lead to 27-7 on Weinke’s final TD pass – a
51-yarder to Minnis with 1:08 left in the quarter.

When Palmer tried to bring the Gators back, the Seminoles’ defense came up
with big plays. First, free safety Chris Hope intercepted a pass intended for
Reche Caldwell to stop one drive. Then, Tay Cody made his second interception
of the game, this one off Grossman, and returned it 58 yards to set up Brett
Cimorelli’s 33-yard field goal with 10:42 left in the game.

When the game ended, fans rushed the field to congratulate the players, and
oranges were tossed onto the field. Minnis was holding a plastic Gator head in
his hands as he left the field.

“I told Chris I felt like every time they came my way, I was going to catch
it,” Minnis said. “I knew the game was going to be won by us.”

With the presidential race taking a backseat for the night, Florida Gov. Jeb
Bush, his secretary of state Katherine Harris and about 60 state legislators
were part of the crowd that saw a contest that was decided in 3 hours, 20
minutes.

Florida State didn’t wait long to seize a 7-0 advantage. After forcing
Florida to punt on the first series, the Seminoles took over and Weinke went to
work, completing 6 of 8 passes for 70 yards, the final one a 17-yard TD toss to
Atrews Bell just 5:49 into the game.

The Gators came right back on their next possession to make it 7-all on
Palmer’s 5-yard TD pass to Aaron Walker.

The tie was broken 56 seconds later when Weinke found Bell for 42 yards and,
on the next play, hit Minnis for a 34-yard touchdown pass.

Weinke came down with flu symptoms Friday and spent eight hours in the
hospital taking intravenous liquids. He slept at team physician Kris Stowers’
house, and made it to the stadium healthy enough to lead the Seminoles to their
biggest win of the season.

And perhaps a chance to defend their national championship

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