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Seminoles hope win is enough

FSU waits to see what effect 35-6 win over Wake has on BCS.

By BRIAN LANDMAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 12, 2000


College Football 2000 Preview
[AP photo]
Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke throws a pass under pressure during the Seminole victory against Wake Forest.
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Before Saturday's afternoon game against lowly Wake Forest, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden made a point to remind his players who would be watching.

"I told them we're not on television, but we are on the computer," he said, referring to the eight computers that are used to calculate the all-important Bowl Championship Series standings and determine the No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in the Jan. 3 Orange Bowl.

Although the Seminoles easily beat Wake Forest 35-6, they appeared more interested in Saturday's showdown with Florida and weren't as dominant as folks, and those pesky computers, expected.

"We didn't get up like we were supposed to," said senior receiver Marvin Minnis, who had three touchdowns. "We didn't play Florida State football and it showed. We weren't just playing against Wake Forest today, we were playing against the computer.

"And we didn't win."

The Seminoles (10-1, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) were No. 2 in last week's BCS standings and clinging to a 0.39 point lead over Miami, the only team to beat them.

But with FSU playing the Demon Deacons (1-8, 1-6), who were 48-point underdogs despite a recent history of giving FSU fits, Miami figured to get a boost in the BCS if it beat Pittsburgh. The Hurricanes blew out Pitt 35-7.

"It wouldn't surprise me one bit," Bowden said of possibly dropping behind the Hurricanes when the new BCS standings are released Monday. "But with us playing No. 5 Florida and they're not playing anybody who's ranked, that's big. If we beat Florida, I can't see us but moving back up."

In this state, somebody may demand a recount.

The Seminoles, who saw their top four tailbacks leave with injuries, those to Jeff Chaney and Davy Ford potentially season-ending, didn't have to be in this precarious position had they routed Wake Forest. Yet the passion, the urgency they've shown since the Oct. 7 loss at Miami was missing.

"As much as you tell yourself how important the game is, with the biggest game of the year coming up next week, it's hard not to think about that as hard as we tried not to," said senior quarterback Chris Weinke, who completed 23 of 36 passes for 324 yards and five touchdowns. "We obviously didn't execute today the way we have the last few weeks, but again, they played us hard the last couple of years and they played us hard again tonight."

Weinke effortlessly moved his team on its first possession, squeezing a pass between defenders to Minnis for a 10-yard touchdown.

But after an interception by junior Michael Clinkscale, Wake Forest parlayed some trickery -- direct snaps to sophomore tailback Tarence Williams and senior Chris McCoy -- into a 28-yard field goal with 9:27 left in the half. A holding nullified a touchdown on the series.

The Seminoles needed four plays to answer as Weinke, off a play-action fake, hit Minnis in stride for a 46-yard touchdown and a 14-3 lead. They did little else the rest of the half.

The Demon Deacons kept the Seminoles defense off-balance and the offense off the field.

FSU had the ball for 10 plays and 3:06 in the second quarter. The Demon Deacons ran 24 plays and ran off 11:55.

Although FSU senior linebacker Brian Allen said he and his teammates may have been guilty of looking ahead a bit, he didn't blame the performance on a lack of intensity.

"We have a mature team; we know how important each ball game is," he said. "I don't think it had anything to do with our emotional level. We just got a little confused early in the ballgame. We weren't lining up right. ... We didn't adjust well to something we didn't see on film. Once we adjusted to some alignments that we saw, we were able to get some three-and-outs."

After Wake Forest cut the deficit to 14-6 on Tyler Ashe's 44-yard field goal early in the third quarter, Weinke hooked up again with Minnis on a 16-yard touchdown, then hit sophomore receiver Anquan Boldin on scores of 4 and 14 yards in the fourth quarter.

"If you're not hitting on all cylinders, it's hard to just flip the switch and say, "Okay. Let's go up and down the field and score four or five touchdowns,' " Weinke said. "It's no secret that the team we just played was 1-7 and the team we're playing next week has a chance to go and play for the national championship. With that being said, obviously, there's going to be a different intensity throughout this football team."

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