Jan. 4, 2000
By BRENT KALLESTAD
Associated Press Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Mario Edwards is looking for redemption. A lot of it.
The Florida State cornerback was embarrassed in last year’s national
championship game, surrendering a pair of long touchdown passes to Tennessee’s
The Vols ended up winning 23-16 in the Fiesta Bowl, and Edwards has been
waiting for another chance in a title game ever since.
He gets it in the Sugar Bowl tonight against Virginia Tech.
“It stuck with me for a while,” said Edwards, who intercepted six passes
in the 1998 season, but didn’t have any in 1999.
But he’s philosophic about covering some of the country’s most dangerous
“I can turn on my TV and see the same thing happening on Sunday and
Monday,” Edwards said. “That’s part of the game.”
Florida State coach Bobby Bowden conceded that Edwards was affected by
“I suppose you can’t help but think about it and it’s bound to make you
gun-shy,” the coach said.
Considered an All-American candidate in the preseason, Edwards’ numbers were
down across the board this season. He was also beaten several times on long
routes by receivers.
Nonetheless, Edwards was a first-team pick by writers and broadcasters
covering the Atlantic Coast Conference, largely on the reputation he built in
his junior season.
“Any time you have an outstanding season, it’s going to be hard to
duplicate it,” Edwards said. “As long as you’re winning way more than you’re
losing, you can live with it.”
And Florida State’s coaches stuck with the beleaguered defender.
“It’s confidence, all confidence,” Bowden said. “He makes one big play or
has an interception and he’ll be the same ol’ Mario again.”
Edwards knows he and his secondary teammates have to be at their best
against the Hokies.
“The big play has been hurting us,” Edwards said. “We have got to work at
trying to eliminate those.”
Whether he figures into the outcome or not, Edwards and the other fifth-year
seniors want just one thing – the championship.
“We’ve been here before,” he said. “And we’ve never come away with the