October 5, 1999 - by
Top-Ranked ‘Noles Bracing For Hurricanes

Oct. 5, 1999



TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Historically, getting out of the ACC unscathed hasn’t been much of a
problem
for Florida State. Getting by its intrastate rivals, however… well,
that’s an
entirely different story.


The top-ranked Seminoles continue their march towards a national
championship Saturday afternoon when they play host to No. 19 Miami, a local
nemesis that has been known to end such title aspirations in the past.


Despite winning the previous four matchups, Florida State has been
beaten by
the Hurricanes when it’s mattered most. Miami handed the ‘Noles their lone
losses of the 1987, ’88 and ’92 seasons, and knocked them out of championship
contention in ’91 with a late-season victory while both schools were unbeaten.


In fact, six of Florida State’s last 17 losses have come to the
Hurricanes.
In addition, State has struggled against fellow in-state rival Florida. The
Seminoles have lost three of their last five to the Gators.


This year’s meeting comes at a time when the two teams are headed in
different directions. The Hurricanes (2-2, 0-0 Big East) got off to a 2-0
start, including a 23-12 victory over Ohio State in their opener, but have
faltered of late.


First, a late-game collapse tarnished an otherwise outstanding effort
against second-ranked Penn State in a 27-23 loss on Sept. 18. One week later,
the team was upset in similar fashion, dropping another 27-23 contest to East
Carolina.


Florida State, on the other hand, continues to toy with the opposition.
Aside from a 41-35 victory over Georgia Tech, the Seminoles (5-0, 4-0 ACC)
have
thoroughly dominated all comers as their offense is averaging over 42 points
per game.


That unit is highlighted by Peter Warrick, a Heisman Trophy favorite
who is
a scoring threat every time he touches the ball. In last week’s 51-23
demolition of Duke, the wideout caught three touchdown passes and threw for a
score.


For the season, the explosive senior leads the ACC with 508 yards
receiving
and averages over 16 yards per punt return.


While the ‘Canes defense will have to contest with the Chris
Weinke-to-Warrick combination, the Seminoles will have their hands full with
Kenny Kelly. The sophomore quarterback will be joined in the backfield by
either James Jackson or Clinton Portis.


Portis, a freshman, made an impressive debut by rushing for 147 yards
in his
first career start. He replaced an injured Jackson, who was suffering from a
pair of sprained ankles and a sprained knee, and is still listed as
day-to-day.


In off-the-field news, Bobby Bowden signed a contract extension Monday
that
will keep him in Tallahassee until 2004. The long-time Florida State coach
will
earn $1.5 million per year after signing his second new contract in four
years.



By BRIAN OREFICE

AP MegaSports Writer

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