September 8, 2000 - by
Seminoles Hope To Begin March To Another ACC Title

Sept. 8, 2000

ATLANTA – Another year, another Atlantic Coast Conference title
for
Florida State?

Certainly, none of the other eight schools in the conference seem
capable of
stopping the Seminoles’ reign of terror, which has reached 62-2 and eight
straight championships since they joined the league in 1992.

Georgia Tech (1-0) is the first victim – uh, opponent – of the new
season,
playing host to No. 2 Florida State (1-0) on Saturday night in the ACC
opener
for both teams.

The Yellow Jackets are a 22-point underdog – and they actually played
the
Seminoles close a year ago. Florida State hasn’t lost since the 1998 season,
and winning another ACC title is merely a step toward the ultimate goal of
defending its national championship.

For Tech and every other team in the conference, the goal is simple:
Find a
way, somehow, to beat big, bad FSU.

“Everybody wants to win their conference, and that’s the team we have
to go
through to win it,” Georgia Tech coach George O’Leary said. “Coaches and
players at this level are all great competitors. You don’t get discouraged.
You
keep trying to improve.”

The Seminoles used an off week to work on the team’s running game,
which
gained only 57 yards in a season-opening 29-3 victory over Brigham Young.

“I think if we get some bodies on the right people, we will do better,”
coach Bobby Bowden said of his offensive line. “It is still a question mark
with us right now.”

Even more so because of Brett Williams‘ severely sprained left ankle.
The
sophomore tackle has been trying to play despite injuring himself during the
first week of two-a-day practices in August. He left in the second quarter of the victory over BYU and is
questionable
for Saturday.

Chris Weinke completed 31 of 50 passes for 318 yards against BYU,
finding
plenty of new targets to replace the departed Peter Warrick. Marvin Minnis
had
nine receptions for 137 yards, Javon Walker added eight catches for 70 yards
and a touchdown.

“This is a big measuring stick for our defense,” Tech safety Jeremy
Muyres
said. “Obviously, they have one of the best offenses in the country.”

The Yellow Jackets held Central Florida to just 266 yards – eight
rushing –
in their belated opener last week. Tech was supposed to begin against
Virginia
Tech the previous weekend, but a lightning storm led to that game’s
cancellation.

Starting life without Heisman Trophy runner-up Joe Hamilton, the
offense
struggled until the end against Central Florida. Hamilton’s successor at
quarterback, George Godsey, was benched twice but bounced back to throw a
pair
of touchdown passes in the final 3:48.

“It’s good that something like that happened to rally this team
together,”
said Godsey, who was 19-for-31 for 189 yards. “We really showed our heart
and
character in the fourth quarter.”

Things will get a lot tougher this week. Florida State limited BYU to
225
yards, forced four turnovers, recorded a safety and had five sacks. O’Leary
plans to cope by getting more running backs involved in the Tech offense.

“Their defensive line gets such push,” Godsey said. “And their depth,
too. They have 10 guys who play as well as the other.”

That’s not all.

“Their linebackers are as good as any in the country. Their defensive
backs
can hang with anybody in the country,” Godsey added. “We’ve got to try to
execute every play without any flaws.”

Two years ago, he was put in an unenviable position when Hamilton went
down
with a hip injury in the third quarter of a close game against the
Seminoles.

Godsey, a redshirt freshman at the time, has to finish up against one
of the
nation’s most fearsome defenses. The Yellow Jackets fumbled on his first
play,
Florida State recovered and went on to score 24 points in the final period
for
a 34-7 rout.

“I think that game helped me,” Godsey said. “Any mistakes you make, you
have to learn from them. You can’t keep making those same mistakes.”

Bowden doesn’t expect a repeat of last year’s game at Tallahassee, when
both
teams were ranked in the top 10 and could seemingly score at will. The
Seminoles prevailed 41-35 for their eighth straight victory over the Yellow
Jackets since joining the ACC.

“Both of us have our top stars missing, us with Peter Warrick and them
missing Joe Hamilton,” Bowden said. “I would be shocked if it became a
shootout like it was last year.”

By PAUL NEWBERRY

AP Sports Writer

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