Jan. 3, 2000
By BEN WALKER
AP Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – While Chris Weinke and Michael Vick will try to pick out
receivers Tuesday night, a retired school administrator will have his eyes on a
different target at the Sugar Bowl.
Bob Moderhak has a chance to win $2 million when he teams up with former NFL
quarterback Joe Theismann in a halftime promotion.
The 54-year-old Moderhak retired in June as an assistant superintendent of a
school district in Longmont, Colo. He recently moved to Anna Maria Island near
“I never played football in high school,” Moderhak said. “I wish I had.”
Shortly before No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Virginia Tech begin the third
quarter, Theismann will throw four passes from 15 yards at a 2-foot-square
“digital pad” on a 9-foot-high model cellular telephone.
Every time Theismann hits the target, he will earn $50,000 for Moderhak.
After those four tosses, Moderhak gets one throw – if he connects, Theismann’s
total will be multiplied by 10.
“Whatever happens, we go to a game we wanted to go to anyway,” Moderhak
said. “And, we get at least a $10,000 consolation prize.”
Moderhak has been practicing with a model built by one of his neighbors. He
has not decided what he’ll do if he wins the grand prize in the contest
sponsored by Nokia.
“I think it gives me enough to retire,” he said. “Hey, wait, I’m already
HIT, NOT MISS: Nick Sorensen knows Virginia Tech’s defensive backs will
want to smack Florida State’s receivers at the Sugar Bowl. Still, the Hokies
must avoid that temptation, he cautions.
“The key with these guys is you can’t go for the big hit,” the free safety
said of the Seminoles’ speedy playmakers. “You’ve really just got to try to
make the tackles. They like to throw short routes and try to turn them into big
Big, crushing tackles often help set the defensive tone, especially in a big
game. But going for the tone-setter, instead of just the tackle, could be
costly. A miss could lead to a touchdown.
“Any time they catch the ball and you want to come and make the big hit,
that’s when you’re going to get yourself in trouble because you’re really not
just trying to make the tackle, you’re trying to make the highlight film,”
WRONG ANSWER: For all Florida State has accomplished during the decade,
senior wide receiver Ron Dugans is aware that a loss Tuesday night will leave
his team with an empty feeling.
The Seminoles are 108-13-1 in the 1990s, the most wins by a college football
team in any decade. But they have won just one national championship in that
span, having lost the 1997 Sugar Bowl and the 1999 Fiesta Bowl with the title
on the line.
“I don’t want to be the answer to a trivia question,” Dugans said. “I
don’t want people to ask, `What team had great players all through the ’90s and
won only one national title?’ and the answer to be Florida State.”
Dugans liked the idea of a playoff system in Division I-A.
“You had Marshall go undefeated this season. Last year, you had Tulane do
it. You’ve got to give these teams that don’t really have a chance to go to the
Orange Bowl or the Sugar Bowl a chance to win the national championship,” he
said. “Me, I’d like the challenge of playing Nebraska or Michigan in a
HANDLING THE HEAT: Virginia Tech placekicker Shayne Graham is the less
heralded of the two in the Sugar Bowl, but he’s got a leg up on Florida State’s
Sebastian Janikowski in one respect: Graham has kicked a game-winning field
Graham prides himself on being right in the middle of things with the Hokies
rather than standing off by himself like many kickers. But he said the moments
before his boot to beat West Virginia were an exception.
“I was kicking into the net the whole time,” Graham said of the moments
leading up to his 44-yard, last-play field goal in a 22-20 victory. “I had a
couple of guys walk by and pat me on the shoulder, but they knew not to say
STATS AND STUFF: The Sugar Bowl marks the 32nd meeting between the No. 1
and No. 2 teams and 13th time 1 and 2 have played in the postseason. The last
Sugar Bowl to play host to 1 vs. 2 was on Jan. 1, 1993, when Alabama beat a No.
1 Miami 34-13 to win the national title.