Oct. 9, 1999
By RICHARD ROSENBLATT
AP Football Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Wearing baggy blue jeans and a red golf shirt,
Heisman Trophy hopeful Peter Warrick could only pace the Florida State sideline
and cheer on his teammates.
Suspended indefinitely after his arrest on a grand theft charge, the
All-American wide receiver went on national TV and apologized, then gave the
Seminoles a pregame pep talk.
It worked, but it took awhile.
Chris Weinke connected with 11 different receivers for 332 yards and two
touchdowns Saturday as No. 1 Florida State overcame a sloppy first half for a
31-21 victory over No. 19 Miami.
“They did what I wanted them to. They stepped up,” Warrick said as he was
hurried off the field by security guards. “They showed we’re the No. 1 team in
Warrick’s fellow wide receivers were a big reason. Germaine Stringer, a
fifth-year senior with just 12 catches before Saturday, had three for 80 yards,
including a 48-yarder 3:47 into the game. And Ron Dugans came through with five
grabs for 80 yards, including a 54-yarder that set up Travis Minor’s clinching
2-yard touchdown with 9:55 left in the game.
“I don’t want to talk about Peter at all,” said Weinke, who scrambled his
way to 23 completions in 34 attempts. “This football team showed up and played
and won. They got the job done.”
Florida State (6-0) has now beaten Miami (2-3) five years in a row, and in
doing so the Seminoles won their 27th straight at Doak Campbell Stadium and
44th without a loss. Both streaks are the longest among major colleges.
“You were never sure how well we would play after all the things we went
through,” Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden said after gaining career win No. 298.
“The only thing that blew my mind was he way they rolled up and down the field
against us in the first half.”
Miami scored all its points in a 21-21 first half, with Kenny Kelly throwing
TD passes of 8 yards to Reggie Wayne and 80 and 14 yards to Santana Moss. The
Hurricanes finished with 448 yards, but were held to 166 in the second half by
a defense that almost gave away the game in the opening 30 minutes.
“I thought our kids spilled their guts and played as hard as we’ve probably
played this year,” Miami coach Butch Davis said.
With the Seminoles ahead 24-21 after Sebastian Janikowski’s 38-yard field
goal midway through the third quarter, Weinke led the Seminoles on a
game-clinching 97-yard drive. After Dugans’ 54-yard gain to the Miami 30, FSU
moved down to the 13, when Miami’s Leonard Myers was called for pass
interference in the end zone against Dugans.
On the next play, from the Miami 3, Minor powered into the end zone and
Florida State kept its national title hopes alive as 80,976 fans broke into the
Seminole War Chant.
Minor finished with 25 carries for 146 yards. Kelly was sensational, hitting
27 of 41 passes for 370 yards. Moss finished with nine catches for 180 yards.
Bowden gave Weinke credit for taking a leadership role usually reserved for
Warrick, who coined this year’s theme that appears on the front of the
Seminoles practice T-shirts: “TEAM – It’s not about me.”
“He looked serious when he was practicing,” Bowden said. “He was stepping
forward and making statements that I hadn’t seen him making, such as `Let’s do
The Seminoles opened a 7-0 lead on Weinke’s hookup with Stringer, one of two
replacements for Warrick, caught his 48-yard TD pass just 3:47 into the game.
He beat Myers on a post pattern, caught the ball in stride at the 13 and scored
untouched. When he returned to the bench, he was greeted by a towel-waving
“I knew I had to step up,” Stringer said. “With Pete out, I knew I was
next in line.”
Added Dugans: “When he caught that one, it got the butterflies out of all
the receivers and gave all of us a lift.”
Miami, the last team to beat Florida State at Doak Campbell (in 1991),
wasted little time in pulling even.
Kelly threw an 8-yard scoring pass to Wayne 3:08 later, the football sailing
over the head of cornerback Mario Edwards in the left corner of the end zone
and into the Hurricane receiver’s arms.
The Seminoles moved ahead 14-7, on Jeff Chaney’s 3-yard TD run, and the
Hurricanes responded on Kelly’s 80-yard TD pass to Moss.
Florida State lost a scoring chance late in the first quarter when Dan
Kendra fumbled at the Miami 10 and the Hurricanes Al Blades recovered.
Miami took a 21-14 lead after an 89-yard march, with Kelly hitting Moss on a
6-yard TD, with Edwards again the beaten defender in the end zone. This time it
was the Seminoles turn to even the score, with Weinke finding tight end Ryan
Sprague behind Miami’s linebackers on an 18-yard scoring pass.
“You have to give Florida State credit,” Kelly said. “We got off just
exactly as we wanted to. We could have won this game.”
Moments before kickoff, both teams had to be restrained from going at each
other at midfield. One of the Miami players shouted something to a Florida
State player, and both teams gathered near midfield, each forming a huge
circle. All the players began jumping up and down in unison, jawing at each
other, before coaches came over and broke things up.