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FSU keys to victory


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 3, 2001

1. PATIENCE FROM WEINKE. For much of this season, quarterback Chris Weinke hasn't been greedy. He's taken what defenses offered, one reason he has a 3:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. If Oklahoma plays a soft zone to avoid the quick strike from the Heisman Trophy winner, a strategy that worked well for Miami, Weinke will have to throw underneath.

2. PRESSURE HEUPEL. OU senior quarterback Josh Heupel, the Heisman runner-up, may not have Weinke's arm, but his accuracy and touch are almost Danny Wuerffel-like. Remember the '97 Sugar Bowl? Heupel sits in the shotgun almost exclusively and usually gets rid of the ball quickly to neutralize a pass rush. Defensive ends Jamal Reynolds and David Warren can be effective if they bat down passes.

3. LOOKING FOR A NEW SNOOP. Senior All-America receiver Marvin "Snoop" Minnis is academically ineligible, leaving Weinke without his favorite target. It's an opportunity for sophomore Anquan Boldin or juniors Atrews Bell, Robert Morgan or Javon Walker to burst onto the national scene.

4. DON'T ESCHEW THE FIELD GOAL. The Seminoles had such little confidence in their kicking game they went for two fourth-downs instead of trying field goals against Miami. They failed on both. But freshman Brett Cimorelli, from Zephyrhills, has made 5-of-7 field goals in the past three games. His misses were from 40 and 46 yards.

5. IGNORE THE SPREAD. FSU is a favorite against the undefeated and consensus No. 1 Sooners. It's akin to the 1994 Orange Bowl when Nebraska was nearly a three-touchdown underdog, and nearly upset FSU. The Seminoles, who have at times appeared over-confident, can't overlook OU.

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