Sept. 9, 2000
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA – On a night of individual achievement, Chris Weinke was
concerned with only two numbers.
Florida State 26, Georgia Tech 21.
Weinke, who came back to school in hopes of leading Florida State to another
national title, threw for a career-high 443 yards and two touchdowns as the No.
2 Seminoles escaped a major upset Saturday night.
The 28-year-old senior also became Florida State’s career-leading passer
with 6,433 yards, passing both Danny Kanell and Gary Huff.
“This is not an individual game,” Weinke said. “I didn’t even know it. I
was so focused on the game and getting us a win. It’s a great honor when you
look at some of the great quarterbacks who have played at Florida State.”
Florida State (2-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) extended its winning
streak to 14 in a row and improved its conference record to 63-2 since joining
the ACC in 1992.
Georgia Tech (1-1, 0-1), a 22-point underdog, lost its ninth in a row to the
Seminoles but received a rousing cheer from the home fans after its final drive
ended in Florida State territory.
“Tech just would not quit,” FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. “What were our
problems? Georgia Tech, they were our problems.”
After passing up a chance to enter the NFL draft, Weinke had the best game
of his career. He was 25-of-38, including a 30-yard touchdown pass to Robert
Morgan with 12:58 remaining that put the Seminoles ahead 19-15.
Weinke, who hooked up with Javon Walker on a 63-yard TD in the first
quarter, drove the Seminoles to another score in the fourth quarter, completing
three passes for 87 yards before William McCray ran in from the 1 with 7:45 to
George Godsey, who shared the quarterback duties with Jermaine Crenshaw,
capitalized on a roughing the passer penalty to throw a 27-yard TD to Jon
Muyres with 4:50 left. Tech stopped the Seminoles and faced fourth-and-3 at the
Godsey attempted a pass across the middle to Kerry Watkins, who appeared to
be hit early by Stanford Samuels. But the officials didn’t throw a flag and
Florida State ran out the clock.
“Our true character showed,” Weinke said. “It’s early in the season. I
think we will be fine. This was a true test. But we need to get the killer
Georgia Tech, which lost to Florida State 41-35 last year with Heisman
Trophy runner-up Joe Hamilton at quarterback, used both Godsey and Crenshaw to
keep things close once again.
Crenshaw, a third-year sophomore playing his first game at that position,
was rotating with Godsey on just about every play in the third quarter, a
system that confused the Seminoles and led to a 13-play, 63-yard scoring drive.
Joe Burns went over on an 8-yard run and Tech led 15-12 after a 2-point
conversion with 3:17 remaining in the third.
“We had them on their toes and should have thrown the knockout punch,”
Tech defensive end Greg Gathers said. “But I give Florida State credit. They
came back when they had to.”
Godsey ran the team through most of the fourth quarter, completing 13
straight passes and finishing 18-of-32 for 189 yards. Crenshaw was 4-of-5 for
30 yards and led the team in rushing with 36 yards on nine carries.
Weinke easily broke his previous career high, a 354-yard performance at Wake
Forest last year.
Florida State dominated statistically in a penalty filled game, outgaining
the Yellow Jackets 536-298. Yellow was the predominate color of the night, as
Tech was penalized 19 times for a school-record 140 yards and Florida State 15
times for 114 yards.
The nation’s top two teams both survived close calls. No. 1 Nebraska won at
Notre Dame earlier in the day, 27-24 in overtime.
The game started with all the makings of a Florida State rout.
The Seminoles drove 73 yards on their first possession before stalling at
the Georgia Tech 4, settling for Chance Gwaltney’s 21-yard field goal. Florida
State went all the way to the end zone the next time it got the ball, as Weinke
hooked up with Walker on the 63-yarder.
Walker got behind safety Jeremy Muyres, who would have been called for
interference except that the receiver still managed to catch the ball and
hobble across the goal line after spraining his right ankle on the play.
At that point, the Seminoles defense got in on the scoring. Godsey was
sacked in the end zone by Jamal Reynolds to push Florida State to a 12-0 lead
with 3:03 still remaining in the first quarter.
The Yellow Jackets had been outgained 200-0 when Crenshaw, listed as the
third-team quarterback, went in late in the first quarter. He ran for 15 yards
on his first play and gave his team a spark of life.
But Tech’s biggest play was provided by the defense, which took advantage of
Florida State’s decision to give Weinke a breather. Backup quarterback Marcus
Outzen tried a pass along the left sideline and Marvious Hester stepped in for
the interception, returning it 50 yards for a touchdown with 9:04 left in the
Amazingly, the Yellow Jackets went to locker room trailing only 12-7 even
though they been outgained 318-104 in total yardage.