Florida State 45, Virginia 14
November 7, 1998
IMMOVABLE OBJECT: The FSU-Virginia game was supposed to be a showdown of Virginia’s irristable force (which entered the game ranked first in the ACC, averaging over 240 rushing yards) and FSU’s immovable object (a run defense ranked first in the nation). Chalk one up for the immovable object. Thomas Jones, the ACC’s leading rusher at over 125 yards per game, managed only 66, almost half of which came on one carry in the first quarter. Jones failed to score a touchdown for the first time all season, and his streak of four-straight 100-yard games was halted. Virginia didn’t fare much better in the air, as Aaron Brooks threw for only 96 yards and was intercepted three times, and backup Dan Ellis was intercepted once. Virginia gained only 64 yards in and did not cross the 50-yard line in the entire second half.
WEINKE WALLOPED: FSU quarterback Chris Weinke was knocked out of the game when he was sacked by defensive end Patrick Kerney on the next-to-last play of the first half. Weinke remained in the locker room after halftime with what FSU officials referred to as a “cervical burner and a mild concussion.” When he left, Weinke had completed 8-of-16 passes for 143 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for a touchdown, the first of his career. With his 16 attempts, Weinke increased his streak of consecutive passes without an interception to 218, only six shy of the ACC record held by Virginia’s Matt Blundin.
OUTZEN IN: Marcus Outzen made it clear immediately that he would not commit key mistakes in relief of Weinke. On the Noles’ first series of the second half, FSU faced third-and-12 from its own 8-yard line. Out of the shotgun, Outzen made a one-handed catch of a high snap and quickly made the correct read, finding Travis Minor despite being hurried by an untouched Patrick Kerney. Although Minor gained only two yards, Outzen made the best of a bad situation – standing in his own end zone, he prevented what could have been a disastrous turnover, then got rid of the ball before surrendering a safety. For the game, Outzen completed 5-of-6 passes for 67 yards.
FOURTH QUARTER FIREWORKS: Florida State continued its trend of owning the fourth quarter. Two weeks ago at Georgia Tech, FSU led the Yellow Jackets by only a field goal at the start of the fourth quarter but exploded for a 34-7 win. Last week against UNC, the Noles led by only 10 points with under 11 minutes to play before pulling away for a 39-13 win. Tonight, Florida State led by only a touchdown before outscoring the Cavaliers 24-0 in the final 7:42.
RECORD CROWD: Saturday’s crowd of 81,120 set a new attendance record at Doak Campbell Stadium, eclipsing the crowd of 80,932 which witnessed the Seminoles’ 24-21 win over Florida in 1996. FSU is now riding a 39-game unbeaten streak at home, the longest in the nation. The Seminoles have also never lost an ACC game at home, owning a perfect 29-0 record.
SOONER OR LATER: The 45-14 final score gave Virginia its largest margin of defeat since the 1991 Gator Bowl, a 48-14 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners.
ACTION JACKSON: FSU free safety Dexter Jackson came up with two interceptions, raising his team-leading total this season to four. The first pick came late in the first quarter, when Jackson plucked the ball out of the air after it was batted by right end Tony Bryant. The pick, which was the sixth of Jackson’s career, set up the Seminoles’ third touchdown, extending their lead to 21-7. Jackson’s second pick of the night set up the Seminoles’ fourth touchdown, nixing a potentially game-tying drive by Virginia and instead putting FSU ahead 28-14. Jackson also tackled Thomas Jones for a four-yard loss in the third quarter.
WARRICK GOES DEEP: Peter Warrick’s 79-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter was FSU’s longest pass play of the season and his ninth reception of 40-or-more yards this year. Warrick has made at least one catch of 40-or-more yards in five consecutive games. It was also his 11th touchdown of the year, tying E.G. Green (1997) and Fred Biletnikoff (1964) for the fourth-highest single-season total in FSU history. Warrick finished the game with 123 yards receiving, his sixth gave over 100-yards this season.
WELCOME BACK: After sitting out the last four weeks with an injured elbow, FSU’s Lamont Green wasted no time in making his presence felt. The senior linebacker sacked Virginia quarterback Aaron Brooks on third-and-five from the FSU 16. On the next play, Virginia’s Todd Braverman missed a 37-yard field goal attempt. Green finished the game with 11 tackles.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Virginia’s Wale Elegbe has been elevated from understudy to the lead role in Anthony Poindexter’s spot at safety since the All-American’s season was ended by a knee injury. Elegbe is also an accomplished actor. Last year, he starred in the play, “On the Outside Looking In,” the story of a death row inmate. Unfortunately for Elegbe, it was the Cavaliers who received a lethal injection of Peter Warrick. Elegbe was too late to help cornerback Tim Spruill and could only watch as Warrick exploded for a 79-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the Noles’ second possession.
HARRIS’ HIGHLIGHT: Virginia cornerback Antwan Harris intercepted an Outzen pass intended for Lavernaues Coles in the end zone, marking Harris’ second interception of the season and the 12th this season for the Cavaliers. Virginia has intercepted at least one pass in all but one game this year, failing to do so only against San Jose State. The turnover was also the first surrendered by the Seminoles in 13 quarters, dating back to a fumble against Clemson.
BIG FOOT: FSU placekicker Sebastian Janikowski tied both the school and ACC record of 23 field goals in a single season. He tied the mark with a 22-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, which put FSU ahead 31-14. His next field goal will break the FSU record held by Derek Schmidt (1987) and the ACC mark held by Clemson’s Obed Ariri (1980).
FSU FLAGS: Florida State’s defense committed several costly penalties in the first quarter. The Noles were flagged for four offside penalties on Virginia’s opening drive, the first two by nose guard Larry Smith. On UVa’s second drive, the Cavaliers benefited from a 15-yard flagrant facemask penalty at the end of a 31-yard Thomas Jones run, followed by a pass interference penalty in the end zone on cornerback Mario Edwards, putting the ball at the FSU 2-yard line and setting up Anthony Southern’s touchdown run. The Seminoles had 84 yards of penalties in the first half, but only 15 yards in the second half.
INJURY REPORT: Florida State’s injuries were as follows: Chris Weinke – right-side neck burner, mild concusssion, may have x-rays on Monday; Dee Feaster – right knee sprain; Robert Morgan – left hip pointer; Corey Simon – mild left shoulder sprain; Ross Brannon – right leg contusion; Bill Rhodes – mild neck sprain; Tay Cody – left and right ankle sprains; Dexter Jackson – right hamstring strain.