Aug. 31, 1998
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – Good old Chris Weinke received all the help he
needed from young pals Peter Warrick and Travis Minor as No. 2 Florida State
wore down No. 14 Texas A&M for a 23-14 victory in the Kickoff Classic on Monday
The 26-year-old Weinke, who returned to Florida State after six years of pro
baseball, threw a go-ahead 9-yard touchdown pass to Warrick late in the third
quarter to cap a successful debut in his first start in nearly nine years.
Weinke completed his first pass, a 30-yarder to Warrick, and finished
21-for-36 for 207 yards and no interceptions. The defense chipped in, too,
holding the Aggies to a paltry 20 yards in the second half and 133 overall.
Warrick gave Weinke an open target all night, catching a career-high nine
passes for 106 yards. Minor, a sophomore like Weinke but only 19 years old, set
a school record with 34 carries, and ran for 146 yards and a touchdown.
The Seminoles were expected to have an easy time with the Aggies, who last
beat a top-5 team in 1975, but Texas A&M gave coach Bobby Bowden’s team all it
could handle in the first three quarters before tiring.
With A&M leading 14-10 at halftime, the Seminoles went to work, closing to
14-13 on Sebastian Janikowski’s second field goal, a 28-yarder with 6:43 left.
Warrick and Weinke then hooked up to give the Seminoles the lead for good.
Warrick returned an A&M punt 21 yards to the Aggies 37, but four plays later,
he limped off the field after defensive back Sedrick Curry rolled over
Warrick’s right ankle.
Five plays later, Warrick was back and Weinke spotted him open at the 1.
Warrick caught pass, faked a defender, and scored with five seconds left in the
third quarter to make it 20-14.
Janikowski closed the scoring with his third field goal of the game, a
22-yarder with 3:26 remaining.
A Giants Stadium crowd of 59,232 saw a first half filled with blunders, as
neither offense could sustain a long drive and each committed two turnovers.
The Aggies got the best of the breaks when cornerback Jay Brooks scooped up
Weinke’s fumble and ran 21 yards for a TD with 29 seconds left in the half,
putting Texas A&M ahead 14-10.
Last season, the Seminoles trailed at halftime only once, 18-17 against
Florida, which handed Florida State its only loss of ’97.
Three plays after his first completion, Warrick fumbled after a 7-yard
reception and linebacker Cornelius Anthony recovered at the A&M 22.
The Seminoles took a 7-0 lead on Minor’s 3-yard TD run 7:58 into the game,
completing a 39-yard drive that began when Stewart fumbled the snap and FSU
cornerback Troy Saunders recovered.
Sirr Parker fumbled on the Aggies’ next possession and linebacker Tommy
Polley recovered at the Texas A&M 35. The Seminoles settled for a 33-yard field
goal by Janikowski.
Stewart, who was 10-for-21 for 100 yards, got the Aggies back in the game,
completing a 49-yard pass to wide receiver Chris Cole down to the Seminoles 13,
and D’Andre Hardeman scored from a yard out five plays later to make it 10-7
early in the second quarter,
The Aggies took the lead when Weinke dropped back to pass from his own 20
and was blindsided by linebacker Christian Rodriguez. The ball popped loose,
Brooks scooped it up and ran into the end zone for the TD.