September 26, 1998
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Bad weather didn’t wash away Florida State’s
national championship aspirations.
Chris Weinke, taking advantage of breaks between showers caused by Hurricane
Georges, threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns Saturday to help the
10th-ranked Seminoles stop No. 18 Southern California 30-10.
Jeff Chaney scored on a 7-yard run and Weinke threw second-half TD passes of
5 yards to Peter Warrick and 35 yards to Ron Dugans to finish the rout.
Sebastian Janikowski kicked three field goals and Florida State’s defense
forced five turnovers and held USC to three completions for 23 yards passing –
172 below the Trojans’ season average.
The victory before a sellout crowd that sat through the sometimes driving
rain kept Florida State’s hopes of climbing back into national championship
It also was an important game for Weinke, who was intercepted six times in a
17-point loss to North Carolina State two weeks ago. He was much more effective
this time, completing 13 of 31 passes with no interceptions.
Chaney, the third-team tailback, led a productive ground attack with 89
yards on 19 carries. Warrick did a little of everything for the Seminoles,
finishing with six receptions for 112 yards, 19 yards rushing and one pass
completion for 14 yards.
USC (3-1) scored on Adam Abrams’ career-long 49-yard field goal and Chad
Morton’s 7-yard, third-quarter TD run, set up by Frank Strong’s 73-yard burst
on the previous play.
The touchdown trimmed USC’s deficit to 20-10, but that was as close as the
Trojans would get.
Florida State officials monitored the progress of the hurricane Thursday and
Friday before deciding to play as scheduled. Some television cameras were moved
inside the press box in anticipation of gusting winds, but it was
picture-perfect afternoon until rain began falling early in the second quarter.
But the weather, which didn’t stop Wienke from leading a TD drive that
snapped a 3-3 tie, couldn’t be blamed for a sloppy first half. Despite Florida
State’s 257-71 edge in total yardage, both teams struggled offensively and hurt
themselves with defensive penalties early.
Janikowski’s 36-yard field goal gave the Seminoles a 13-3 lead just before
the half. But the kicker also missed a 37-yarder, and Florida State wasted
another scoring opportunity when USC linebacker Chris Claiborne stopped Minor
for no gain on fourth-and-1 from the Trojans 4.
Strong found a hole off left tackle and raced from his own 20 to the Florida
State 7 to set up USC’s only touchdown. Abrams’ field goal, meanwhile, came on
a drive prolonged by a late-hit penalty against the Seminoles’ Billy Rhodes.
Carson Palmer replaced an ineffective Mike Van Raaphorst as USC’s
quarterback in the second half, but didn’t have much more success moving the
Van Raaphorst was 1-of-9 passing for 5 yards and one interception. Palmer
was 2-of-10 for 18 yards.
By FRED GOODALL
AP Sports Writer