October 24, 2000 - by
Weinke Continues Heisman Push Against Upstart Freshman Rivers And Wolfpack

Oct. 24, 2000


Chris Weinke continues to bear down on the Heisman Trophy and another
Atlantic Coast Conference title on Saturday as sixth-ranked Florida State
plays
No. 21 North Carolina State and standout freshman quarterback Philip Rivers.

The 28-year-old Weinke may not display the athleticism of Virginia
Tech’s
Michael Vick, but there has been no questioning his effectiveness for the
Seminoles (7-1, 5-0 ACC). Weinke leads the nation in passing yardage (2,784)
and touchdowns (22) while ranking second in pass efficiency (164.6 pts).

In addition to the gaudy statistics, Weinke also is a winner. He has a
28-2
lifetime mark as a starter and can still lead the Seminoles to a spot in the
Bowl Championship Series should they win their final three conference games
and
a season-ending battle against arch-rival Florida.

“We know we have to win out,” said Seminoles flanker Snoop Minnis, who
has
42 catches for 808 yards and five TDs this season. “We’re taking each game
like it’s a playoff game and it really is a playoff game because if we lose
we’re out of it.”

Weinke completed 16-of-28 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns as
Florida
State routed Virginia 37-3 last week to extend its home winning streak to 33
games. The offense finished with 554 total yards, but the defense also put
together a stellar performance by holding the Cavaliers to 199 total yards,
including a mere 33 rushing.

While Weinke has matured into a top-notch quarterback, Rivers has
Raleigh
buzzing with his potential and late-game heroics. The freshman from Athens,
Ala., has thrown for 1,903 yards and 17 touchdowns this season against only
five interceptions.

Rivers has the Wolfpack (5-1, 2-1) on course for their best season
since
going 9-3 and reaching the 1994 Peach Bowl.

North Carolina State had last week off following a 38-20 victory at
North
Carolina. Rivers had just 202 passing yards and one touchdown but was aided
by
a rushing game that featured 110 yards from Ray Robinson and a pair of
fourth-quarter TDs from Cotra Jackson.

Wolfpack coach Chuck Amato, a former assistant to Seminoles coach Bobby
Bowden before leaving to take the N.C. State job before this season, has
kept
himself and his team loose heading into this game. During Monday’s media
session, he took out a handwritten note he jokingly said he would hand to
his
mentor.

“For the great respect and admiration I have for coach Bobby Bowden, I
am
not going to play Philip Rivers on Saturday night,” Amato’s letter read.
“For
two reasons. No. 1, I don’t want coach Bowden arrested for child abuse. No.
2,
I want Philip Rivers for the next four games.”

The Seminoles, however, know going to Raleigh is no joking matter. In
1998,
Weinke threw six interceptions and the Wolfpack pulled off a stunning 24-7
upset. It was the last time Florida State – which is 67-2 all-time in ACC
play
– lost a conference game.

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