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By Compiled by BRIAN LANDMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000
Senior cornerback Tay Cody (no. 27)
-the most physically imposing cornerback around.
Not at 5 feet 11 and 180 pounds.
But don't size him up from those numbers alone. Check out his tackles. He has a career-high 66, which is a surprising third on the team behind only linebackers Brian Allen and Bradley Jennings.
"I might not be the best athlete or the fastest guy, but I'm a football player," said Cody, a four-year starter who had a total of 108 tackles before this season. "When I go out there and strap those pads on, I know how to play football. This is something I always wanted to do: tackle and play hard-nosed football."
He's getting more chances to prove that.
"I told him the other day that I can't ever remember a corner, even when Deion (Sanders) was here, who's been tested so many times in the open field as he has," coach Bobby Bowden said. "I don't think he's missed a tackle in those circumstances. Tay is having his best year, there's no doubt about it. He is really playing well. I bet there's not another corner in the country playing better."
Part of that is the predictable sense of urgency that comes with being a senior. Another part is the predictable maturation that comes with age. He is 23, has earned his degree in political science and has a 2-year-old son, Little Tay.
"It's just having my priorities in line," said Cody, who had his first interception return for a touchdown last weekend at North Carolina State. "It's just a feeling I get that I know what I have to do and I'm taking advantage of it. After five years being in a great program, getting all the concepts down, by the time you're a senior, you should be turning it loose."
Defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews, a hard-driving perfectionist, expected as much.
"He wants to be better than he's ever been, and it's just not happening walking out there," Andrews said. "He's worked like crazy for it to happen. He never worked harder in the off-season than he did this year. He's studying the game more. He's playing smart and aggressive and making a lot of plays."
WHEN/WHERE: 7:30 p.m. Saturday; Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee.
When No. 4 Florida State hosts No. 10 Clemson on Saturday, it will mark just the fourth matchup of two AP Top 10 teams in Atlantic Coast Conference history.
Year Matchup Result
1981 No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 8 North Carolina Clemson 10-8
1997 No. 3 FSU at No. 5 North Carolina FSU 20-3
1999 No. 1 FSU vs. No. 10 Georgia Tech FSU 41-35
2000 No. 4 FSU vs. No. 10 Clemson Yet to come
0 -- Touchdowns FSU's Chris Weinke threw against Clemson last season.
1 -- Win by Clemson against a Top 10 opponent in the 1990s (at No. 10 Virginia in 1992).
3 -- Points Clemson has scored in its past four trips to Tallahasse; FSU has scored 156 in those four games.
8 -- Atlantic Coast Conference titles FSU has won or shared in its first eight years in the league.
33 -- Consecutive games FSU has won at home, tops in the nation.
36 -- Consecutive ACC games FSU has won at home.
FSU special teams standout Patrick Newton and Clemson placekicker Tony Lazzara were former teammates at Shorecrest. Both were running backs at the small school and all-county selections. "He'll be kicking off and I'll be on KOR (kickoff return), and if he shanks one, I might get a chance to return it," Netwon said with a smile.
Don't bother looking for FSU backup quarterback Marcus Outzen listed among the NCAA's passing efficiency leaders. He hasn't averaged a minimum of 15 throws to make the official cut. But CNN/SI doesn't take attempts into account, and it shows. Outzen, who has completed 23 of 32 passes for 438 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, is No. 1 with a rating of 205.3, far ahead of Louisiana State's Rohan Davey (182.3), Florida's Rex Grossman (174.4), Pittsburgh's John Turman (170.1) and FSU starter Chris Weinke (163.7).
"The fact that Tommy got beat (Saturday) kind of puts it back in the mortal thing; he was getting to be an immortal thing, like I'm playing against the good lord. Now that he got beat, it puts him back in my category. He's mortal like me."
-- BOBBY BOWDEN
Q: Is the "Bowden Bowl" easier this year than last year?
BOWDEN: Yeah, I've been through it and it's not happening up there. I'm always afraid of those situations like (Saturday night) at N.C. State. A new coach. New enthusiasm. Good success and you've got to go into their back yard. That bothers me. That's the way it was at Clemson last year. Now this year, he's in my backyard and he's got to come here and whip us. That's a little bit different.
Q: Who will your wife Ann root for this year, you or her son Tommy?
BOWDEN: That's a good question. She is a front-runner if there's ever been a front-runner. She might even wait to see who scores first and then pull for them. It's tough. I don't know. But the financial thing. She has to go with me.
Q: Who's the funniest guy in the family?
BOWDEN: Gosh, all the boys really have a sense of humor. Tommy was always the jokester. Tommy's the one who always got somebody in trouble. He'd go kid about Terry to his mother and get Terry spanked; he might kid about Steve and Steve would have to get a spanking. "Mama, how come Steve stole that guy's lawnmower." He was always riling up trouble between all the rest of them in a prank kind of way. You have to be humorous or you can't come to our meetings, you can't come to our family affairs.