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FSU rolls over Duke

Quarterback Chris Weinke sets a school record for passing yards in a 63-14 win.

By BRIAN LANDMAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 15, 2000


College Football 2000 Preview
[Times photo: Joseph Garnett Jr.]
Jeff Chaney, right, greets Atrews Bell, whose score put FSU ahead 21-0 against Duke.
TALLAHASSEE -- If it had been a Little League game, the officials would have mercifully stopped it early.

It wasn't. So they didn't.

Instead, the Florida State Seminoles, seething from their loss last week at Miami which jeopardized their national championship hopes, rode senior Chris Weinke's record-setting performance to an easy 63-14 win against obviously overmatched Duke Saturday night before a homecoming crowd of 80,280 at Doak Campbell Stadium.

"That was our goal, to come back after a loss and prove to people that we're still one of the most dominating teams in the country," Weinke said. "We proved that tonight. We executed better than we have all year."

The senior Heisman Trophy candidate led the way for the No. 7 Seminoles (6-1 overall, 4-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference).

He completed 37 of 47 passes for 536 yards, shattering the school's single-game record of 508 set by Bill Cappleman against Memphis State Nov.15, 1969. His five touchdowns gave him 66 in his career, breaking the Atlantic Coast Conference record of 65 set last season by former Georgia Tech star and current Buc Joe Hamilton.

Oh yeah, he only played three quarters. And had backup Marcus Outzen not been arrested and charged with simple battery on Friday, which drew a suspension for the game, Weinke would have called it a night far sooner.

"Our plan, at first, was to only use him a half," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said.

The Seminoles were merely 481/2 point favorites and, in the wake of a 27-24 loss at Miami that knocked them from atop the Associated Press poll, they figured to be more attentive in practice and eager to rebound.

"It looks like they knew what they were talking about," Bowden said of the oddsmakers. "We just had everything in our advantage -- playing here, a veteran quarterback and an older, mature team. I'm very pleased our kids went into that situation and did well. A lot of times, you'll slop around."

They didn't.

The Seminoles, the nation's top offense, came out in the shotgun, four-wide receiver, no-huddle set and Weinke moved them with stunning ease against the nation's most porous defense (an average of 463.8 yards to rank No. 111).

The Blue Devils looked, in comparison, like Little Leaguers.

And they couldn't count on a 10-run rule.

"We played hard and I don't have any problem with the way we competed," said Duke coach Carl Franks, in his second year at his alma mater after nine with Steve Spurrier at Florida. "We just played a team that had too much for us tonight. We had enough problems just trying to contain them."

Weinke, still nursing a sore left foot, was forced to wear an orthotic inside a size 14 shoe -- one size larger than what he normally wears -- as well as a plastic protective shell over the foot. He hooked up with junior Robert Morgan for a 71-yard touchdown on the third play.

One of the more suspenseful moments came on the extra-point attempt. The snap was low, but holder Keith Cottrell scooped it up and set up perfectly for sophomore Chance Gwaltney, who took over for an inconsistent Matt Munyon on extra points and short field goals after the Miami game.

The Blue Devils (0-6, 0-3) showed how the night would go on their opening possession:

Freshman tight end Jeremy Battier dropped a pass from sophomore D.Bryant, in just his second start. Senior tailback Duane Epperson dropped a pass. Bryant then threw incomplete for Battier. Senior Brian Morton punted, brilliantly, but it's exactly something you want to do a lot of against the Seminoles.

Weinke, bedeviling the Blue Devils' blitzing, gambling defense, threw for 446 yards and hit Morgan, sophomore receiver Anquan Boldin, junior receiver Atrews Bell and senior receiver Marvin Minnis for touchdowns in the first half alone.

FSU led 42-0 at the break and it could have been worse if Weinke hadn't thrown an interception and Gwaltney not missed a 37-yard field goal wide right.

The Blue Devils avoided a shutout when junior Ronnie Hamilton returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown with 10:25 left in the third quarter. But Weinke answered with a 48-yard score to Bell less than a minute later.

Duke freshman tailback Chris Douglas scored on a career-long 45-yard run at the end of the third, but the Seminoles then lifted Weinke in favor of freshman walk-on Stephen de la Motte and turned to the run.

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