Nov. 12, 1999
By BRENT KALLESTAD
Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – It’s nine down and two to go for top-ranked Florida
State, starting Saturday with Maryland.
The top-ranked Seminoles (9-0, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won all
nine of the previous meetings between the schools and are coming off an open
date about as healthy as they’ve been all year.
And coach Bobby Bowden thinks his club might finally be over the
distractions, including the arrest of All-American receiver and onetime Heisman
hopeful Peter Warrick, that kept his club off balance for most of October.
“I wish we could pick up where we left off before all the distractions hit
us,” Bowden said. “I’d be very happy. We had that good seven minutes against
North Carolina and that good first half against Duke and then we’ve just been
up and down. I’m anxious to see what happens these next two ballgames.”
Florida State already has clinched its eighth straight ACC title and will be
trying to wrap up its sixth perfect league.
And then on to Gainesville and No. 4 Florida on Nov. 20.
Closing out the year with a pair of wins would catapult the Seminoles into
the national title game for the third time in the past four years.
Maryland (5-4, 2-4) needs to beat either Florida State or Virginia for its
first winning season since 1995.
But a string of late-season injuries is certain to complicate the Terrapins
bid for their first win against the Seminoles.
Florida State hasn’t lost at home since 1991, and no Atlantic Coast
Conference team has won a league game in Tallahassee, where the Seminoles are
58-1-1 this decade.
“It’s very challenging for any football team,” conceded Maryland coach Ron
Vanderlinden, who has to use a new quarterback Saturday against the ferocious
Florida State defense.
Freshman quarterback Latrez Harrison has appeared in eight of Maryland’s
games, but has tried just 13 passes. Starter Calvin McCall was knocked out with
a knee injury in last week’s loss to North Carolina State.
Bowden remembers Harrison from a summer camp a few years ago.
“As far as tools are concerned, I remember him as a young man with a lot of
talent,” Bowden said. “I’ve got guys with talent here too, but it takes two
or three years to learn to play quarterback.”
Vanderlinden also is still unsettled in the secondary against Florida State
quarterback Chris Weinke, the league’s most productive passer, averaging 281.8
“We’re still in the process of finding the right combinations,”
Vanderlinden said. “And we haven’t had the pass rush up front that really
helps the secondary.”
Maryland tailback LaMont Jordan, who ranks second in the ACC in rushing with
an average of 128.6 yards, was held to 49 yards last year in the Florida State
game. Florida State’s defense leads the ACC in rushing defense, giving up 97.4
yards a game.
Since Florida State came to the ACC in 1992, its average victory margin over
Maryland has been 35.3 points.