June 21, 1999 - by
FSU Set to Face USC in Top 20 Football Matchup

Sept. 21, 1998

#10/11 Florida State vs. #17/18 Southern California Saturday, September 26, 1998 * 3:30 p.m. Doak Campbell Stadium(80,000) * Tallahassee

SETTING THE SCENE: No. 10/11 (AP/USA Today) Florida State (2-1, 1-1 ACC) hosts No. 17 Southern California (3-0, 1-0 Pac 10) for the first time after a 62-13 sound defeat of ACC foe Duke last Saturday. The Seminoles now lead the ACC in both total offense (408.7 ydspg) and total defense (225.0 ydspg).

Tailback Travis Minor leads the ACC with 107 yards rushing per game and receiver Peter Warrick ranks second in the league with 98.0 receiving yards per game. QB Chris Weinke came back from the NC State loss to throw for three TDs and no interceptions. FSU ranks fifth in the nation in punt return yards (20.6 per game) and 16th in kickoff return yards with 27.0 per game.

THE OPPONENT: Southern California rolled to a 3-0 start with a 40-20 win over Oregon State last weekend behind 123 rushing yards from Chad Morton. USC scored 17 points in the final two minutes of the game to break the game wide open. The Trojans are averaging 355.0 yards of total offense while holding opponents to 264.7 total yards per game. Morton leads USC with 95.3 yards rushing per game with R. Jay Soward averaging 88.0 receiving yards per game. Linebacker Chris Claiborne leads USC with 23 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions.

SERIES NOTES: Florida State leads the series 1-0 after the Seminoles defeated USC 14-7 at the L.A. Coliseum in the season opener last year. USC is one of six former national champions on Florida State’s 1998 schedule. The Seminoles defeated the Trojans with TD runs by Dan Kendra and Dee Feaster, while the defense held USC to 25 yards rushing. Interestingly enough, the Seminole and Trojan basketball and baseball programs have both met in NCAA postseason competition during the 1990’s. The Florida State hoops program beat USC 75-72 in the NCAA Tournament’s first round in 1991. The Trojan baseball team returned the favor by eliminating the Seminoles from the 1995 College World Series with a 16-11 win.

TELEVISION: ABC Sports. Talent: Keith Jackson, Bob Griese, Lynn Swann. RADIO: Seminole Sports Network. Talent: Gene Deckerhoff, Peter Tom Willis.

FOR THE RECORD:
FLORIDA STATE
Coach Bobby Bowden
(Samford '53)
Overall Record
 283-84-4/33rd Season
Record at FSU
 210-52-4/23rd Season
Record vs. USC
 1-0

USC Coach Paul Hackett (UC-Davis '69) Overall Record 16-20-1/4th Season Record at USC 3-0/1st Season Record vs. FSU 0-0

Green, Jackson Rack Up Tackles vs. USC
Seniors Lamont Green and Dexter Jackson both recorded double-digit tackle performances at Southern California last year. Jackson totaled 12 stops from his safety position with a pass break-up while Green started the season with 10 tackles and 1/2 of a sack in FSU’s 14-7 win. The interior defensive line also has a solid outing against the Trojans as Jerry Johnson, Corey Simon and Larry Smith combined for 19 tackles including seven for loss.

FSU vs. the Pac-10
Florida State holds a 4-1 all-time series mark against Pac-10 schools, facing only USC and Arizona State. The Seminoles defeated USC last season and won contests vs. ASU in 1984, ’83, and ’79 with the lone defeat coming in the ’71 Fiesta Bowl. In the 52-44 FSU win in ’84, ASU quarterback Jeff VanRaaphorst passed for an opponent record 532 yards. His younger brother, Mike, is the starter for the Trojans this year.

First Pac-10 Visit to Tallahassee
This will be the first time a Pac-10 school makes the trip to Tallahassee to face the Tribe in Doak Campbell Stadium. In five other Pac-10 contests, FSU has gone on the road to play USC in Los Angeles, ASU twice in Tempe and in a pair of neutral site games (’79 – Tampa and ’71 – Fiesta Bowl) .
Warrick Enters FSU Career Record Book
All-America candidate Peter Warrick continues to moved up the record lists after pulling down two TDs and 58 yards receiving against Duke. He had his fifth career 100-yard receiving game against NC State and his 58 yards vs. Duke gave him 1,645 yards receiving in his third season. Against Texas A&M, Warrick caught a career-high nine passes on the day for 106 yards and was named the Kickoff Classic MVP. He is tied for ninth with Kez McCorvey, Mike Shumann and Fred Biletnikoff on the career TD reception list with 16.

FSU Career Receiving
Name                Years       Yards
 1. Ron Sellers     (66-68)     3598
 2. E.G. Green      (94-97)     2920
 3. Kez McCorvey    (91-94)     2660
 4. Barry Smith     (70-72)     2392
 5. Mike Shumann    (73-75, 77) 2306
 6. Lawrence Dawsey (87-90)     2129
 7. Jessie Hester   (81-84)     2100
 8. Rhett Dawson    (69-71)     1915
 9. Andre Cooper    (93-96)     1810
10. Hassan Jones    (82-85)     1764
11. Jackie Flowers  (76-79)     1697
12. Peter Warrick   (96-98)     1645

Against The Best
The Seminoles are 53-61-4 against teams ranked in the Associated Press’ Top 20, including a 20-19-1 record in Doak Campbell Stadium. FSU is 29-10-1 (.738) against Top 20 teams in the 1990s.

Holding On To It
After turning the ball over a total of nine times in their first two games, FSU did not throw an interception or lose a fumble. The last time the Seminoles did not committ a turnover was against Georgia Tech last year -nine games ago.

Coles Takes It Back
Laveranues Coles’ 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Duke was the first by a Seminole since Shannon Baker returned one 90 yards for a score against Tulane in 1992. The 97-yard return also tied for the fourth longest kickoff return in FSU history.

IN THE RED ZONE
Offense
Opp     Drives Result Percent
             Inside 20
Texas A&M   5     1 TD Run, 1 TD pass, 3 FG          100
NC State    2     2 INT                                0
Duke        9     4 TD Run, 2 TD pass, 2 FG           89
Total      16     5 TD Run, 3 TD pass, 5 FG, 2 INT    81

Defense Opp Drives Result Percent Inside 20 Texas A&M 1 1 TD run 100 NC State 2 INT, Missed FG 0 Duke 2 1 TD run, FG 100 Total 5 2 TD run, FG, INT, Missed FG 60

Lighting It Up
In Florida State’s first 50 games as members of the ACC, the Seminoles have scored 50 or more points in 16 contests. The other eight ACC teams have played a total of 171 conference games in that span but have combined for just 10 games of 50 or more points. Four of FSU’s 50 points games have come against Duke, including last Saturday’s 62-13 victory. The Seminoles’ 62 points against Duke was the most FSU had scored in 34 games since a 72-13 win over Wake Forest in 1995.

Chaney Contributes
Backup tailback Jeff Chaney contributed in many ways to FSU’s win over Duke last Saturday. Not only did he rush for 88 yards and two TDs on 10 carries, but his special teams play was exceptional. He recovered a fumble on kickoff coverage, made an open field tackle on kickoff coverage and made a key block on Laveranues Coles’ kickoff return. His carries and TDs were the first of his career.

Poll Ponderings
Florida State dropped out of the Associated Press Top 10 for the first time in 61 weeks after the loss to NC State, but returned this week as the No. 10 team after a convincing win over Duke. The last time FSU was out of the Top 10 was October 9, 1994, following a 34-20 loss to Miami when they were ranked No. 11.

Long Stretch of Wins
The Seminoles had not lost a game to an opponent who was not ranked in the AP Top 25 since Brett Favre quarterbacked Southern Miss to a 30-26 season-opening win in Jacksonville, FL in 1989. FSU had reeled-off a string of 58 consecutive wins against non-ranked opponents since that game.

Kiciing It
Florida State placekicker Sebastian Janikowski had a phenominal freshman campaign last season and is showing no signs of slowing down. The native of Poland hit all eight of his point after attempts against Duke and connected on two of three field goals. His field goals came from 35 and 40 yards out. His miss was a 52-yarder that had plenty of distance but was just wide to the right. Five of his kickoffs against the Blue Devils went for touchbacks. On the season, Janikowski has kicked 10 of 19 (.526) for touchbacks.

In Front of the Cameras
Florida State is accustomed to playing in front of the cameras of the major networks and has posted a 107-34-4 on television. The Seminoles are 45-16-2 when playing on ABC.

Home Sweet Home
The Seminoles have not lost in Doak Campbell Stadium since the 17-16 “Wide Right I” loss to Miami in 1991. FSU is riding a 35-game (34-0-1) unbeaten streak in Doak Campbell Stadium since that game. The lone tie was the famous fourth quarter 31-31 comeback against Florida in 1994. Bobby Bowden has posted a 111-16-2 (86.8%) record in Doak Campbell. FSU is also riding a 18-game winning streak at home.

On This Date
Florida State has played two other times on September 26th under Bobby Bowden. In 1987, the Tribe went on the road and whipped Michigan State 31-3. FSU also pounded Wake Forest 35-7 at home in 1992.

Offensive Line Shows Depth
After playing just five offensive linemen in its first two games, Florida State used nine in the first half of last Saturday’s win over Duke. FSU’s 1998 offensive line was considered its deepest in years entering the season but only starters Eric Thomas (center), Jerry Carmichael and Jason Whitaker (guards) and Ross Brannon and Tarlos Thomas (tackles) had played a down from scrimmage in the first two contests. Jarad Moon (center), Otis Duhart (tackle), and Justin Amman and Donald Heaven (guards) all saw their first action from scrimmage in the Duke game.

Minor Miracles
Tailback Travis Minor set a career-high mark and FSU record with 34 carries against Texas A&M. The previous record of 33 carries in a single game was held for 15 years by Greg Allen vs. East Carolina (1983). Minor surpassed his previous career high of 30 vs. North Carolina last season. His 146 rushing yards, the second most of his career, gave him his fourth 100-yard rushing game. Minor just missed another 100-yard game against NC State as he ran for 99 yards on 18 carries.

A Resounding Win
Last Saturday’s 62-13 Florida State win over Duke in the 1998 season open was head coach Bobby Bowden’s 21st in 23 home opener since arriving in Tallahassee in 1976. The 49-point margin of victory was the fourth largest in an FSU home opener for Bowden but just third largest in the last six seasons. The Seminoles routed NC State 77-17 in 1995 and beat Clemson 57-0 in 1993. The third biggest home opening win in school history came in 1980 when the Tribe ripped Louisville 52-0.


Billy on the Move…Again
For the third time in the last 12 months, senior Billy Rhodes is playing a new position. Rhodes was switched from fullback to defensive tackle in the days leading up FSU’s home-opening win over Duke. Rhodes orginally played noseguard when he came to Florida State. He was moved to offensive guard midway through the 1997 season and to fullback during spring drills. The Seminoles coaching staff moved Rhodes back to defense last week due to injuries along the defensive front and the return of William McCray at fullback.

Minor Major
Sophomore Travis Minor is off to an outstanding start in 1998. Minor rushed for 146 yards on an FSU record 34 carries in the season-opener against Texas A&M and followed up with 99 yards on 18 carries at NC State. He is averaging 107.0 yards per game on the ground this season. If he continues at that pace for the rest of the season, Minor would set Florida State’s single season rushing record with 1,284 yards. Warrick Dunn currently owns the mark with 1,242 yards in the 1995 season. In the first 14 games of his career, Minor has rushed for 944 yards and 11 touchdowns. Dunn, FSU’s all-time leading rusher with 3,959 yards, rushed for 619 yards and five TDs in the first 14 games of his career.

Key, Gibson Notch First Oskies
Florida State’s duo at rover – junior Sean Key and sophomore Derrick Gibson – each notched their first career interceptions against Duke last week. Mario Edwards, who started at cornerback for the first time this season against Duke, had his first career pick two weeks ago at NC State.

‘Noles in the Pros
Now that National Football League teams have pared down their rosters, former Florida State players are represented on every team except four – Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego and Washington. Thirty-eight former Seminoles made opening day NFL rosters.

Jackson, Cody on Thorpe Award List
Senior free safety Dexter Jackson and sophomore cornerback Tay Cody are among 44 players nominated nationally for the 1998 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back. Jackson was FSU’s fourth leading tackler a year ago and also had nine pass break-ups and two interceptions. Cody earned Freshman All-America honors a year ago after making 46 tackles and picking off three passes. Deion Sanders (1988) and Terrell Buckley (1991) are former FSU players that have won the Thorpe previously.

FSU After a Loss
With a convincing 62-13 victory over Duke, Florida State now holds a 25-10-2 (.702) record after a loss in the Bowden era. That includes a 13-3 record over the past decade.

Dynasty
Florida State was officially named a college football dynasty by the NCAA in the organization’s record book. The Seminoles are the only Division I school ever to win at least 10 games for 11 straight years. The Tribe has posted a 120-16-1 mark since 1987. Bobby Bowden has also led his teams to an NCAA record 11 straight Top Four finishes in the Associated Press poll.

FSU Career Stats vs. USC

Rushing Dee Feaster 16 - 74 yards, 1 TD

Receiving Peter Warrick 6-50 Laveranues Coles 2-37

Defense Dexter Jackson 12 tackles, 1 PBU Lamont Green 10 tackles, 1/2 sack Jerry Johnson 7 tackles, 3 TFL Corey Simon 6 tackles, 2 TFL Larry Smith 6 tackles, 2 TFL Tay Cody 4 tackles, 1 PBU

BOBBY BOWDEN TALKS

“I thought Chris (Weinke) showed us what he can do in the win over Duke. He made all the throws we asked him to. We did not require as much from him in terms of reading than we did last week, but I don’t know how much that really helped him. He responded (to the criticism and poor outing vs. NC State) like a man is supposed to respond. I thought his pass to (Peter) Warrick kept the crowd in the game after a slow start. I know I heard the crowd get behind him when he first went in the game and they (the crowd) played a big role.

“We went into the Duke game planning to run the ball more and try and get more balance into our offense to take some pressure of the quarterback. But we also wanted to find out if Weinke can throw the ball – if he can play. I didn’t want to wait till late in the game so we had him make some key throws early to see if he was going to be able to do it and he threw so great balls.

“I thought our team showed it’s potential against Duke. With the kickoff returns and punt returns, and with lots of guys running the football and catching the ball. We got back on track as a potentially good football team. I would have thought we were lacking something had we struggled against Duke.

“Our good intersectional schedule over the years is one of the things that has really helped Florida State, I think. It’s a great game in terms of to top programs and one of us is going to get great publicity this Saturday.

“USC is the fourth undefeated team we will face this year. Now that sounds funny early in the season, but until a team is beaten they play like they can’t be beaten. They’ve got all the confidence in the world. We’ve got to respond. We’ve got to improve this week, because USC is a very good football team. They have a number of returning players and we are still just a team of potential.”

Players Talk:

QB Chris Weinke

“We came out against Duke and did what we needed to do to put what happened at NC State behind us. I thought the offense executed very well against Duke and we did exactly what we wanted. We were able to get some big plays in the passing game because we set them up with the run. It seemed like just about everything we did throwing the ball came off of play action. I never lost my confidence and it felt great when I came out and the crowd was behind me. We really needed to come back home and get back on track. I forgot about the past. What’s done is done. What is important now is to focus on USC and on the rest of the season. I am looking forward to playing a team like USC because they have such a great football tradition. They are a very talented team and it should be an exciting game.”

S Dexter Jackson

“We showed a little progress Saturday against Duke, but we still haven’t done anything. They still scored 13 points on us, but we did play better. I read the paper before we played Duke and the coaches were saying that the defense lacked leadership. I took it upon myself to step up and be a leader. The whole team had a fire in their eyes and we will have to have that same emotion this weekend against USC. That is something we lacked against NC State. Everybody – offense, defense and special teams – played together as a team against Duke. That’s what we will need every week from here on out.”

LB Lamont Green

“It was a tough game for me Saturday night because I got poked in the eye on the first play, but from what I did see the defense played pretty good. The first touchdown we kind of game them after the blocked punt, but those are the kinds of stands great defenses make. After that, we played Florida State football. We got the spark back that was missing last week and we need to keep it going. This week will be a big one. This is one of those games that you come to Florida State to play in. It gives the game something extra when you get to play a team like USC that you don’t play every year.”

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