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Four years added to annual battle

By BRIAN LANDMAN and JOANNE KORTH

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 19, 2000


TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State and Florida have extended their football series four years through 2004.

Each school will have the option once to move the game from the third weekend of November to the fourth if it is more beneficial, particularly from a television standpoint.

"We did that strictly for flexibility," FSU athletic director Dave Hart said.

"Both schools like the bye," UF athletic director Jeremy Foley said of the off week that comes after the game is played on the third Saturday. "But we're partners."

CLASS OF THEIR OWN: FSU honored 25 scholarship seniors, 27 in all, and their parents before Saturday's regular-season finale. The Class of 2000 entered the game as FSU's most successful with a 55-5 record, three national title games and one championship. Linebacker Brian Allen, the defensive captain; linebacker Jean Jeune, the special team's captain; and center Jarad Moon have received their degrees.

"It really has been a special class, and they have done this year exactly what you would want seniors to do: lead," coach Bobby Bowden said. "I can't ever remember it, there's probably been as good, but I can't ever remember it when our kids have practiced and cooperated any better than they have this year. They've done everything we've asked. They haven't dragged around about it, they haven't pouted about it. That's really been good, and a lot of it goes back to the seniors."

RECORD THROW: With his 34-yard touchdown pass to Marvin "Snoop" Minnis in the first quarter, FSU senior quarterback Chris Weinke became the Atlantic Coast Conference's all-time passing leader, passing former Duke quarterback Ben Bennett's total of 9,614. Bennett played for UF coach Steve Spurrier when he coached the Blue Devils.

Weinke is one of two players to throw for more than 9,500 yards and win a national championship. The other was UF's Danny Wuerffel.

BRONZE AGE: FSU officials unveiled an 11-foot bronze statue at Doak Campbell Stadium that they hope will remind student-athletes of the virtue of sportsmanship.

The statue was funded by FSU alumna Margaret Strum Allese, the university's first cheerleader who with her husband, Bob, has been a longtime benefactor. They endowed a $100,000 scholarship for women's golf and have contributed $50,000 to the construction of a meeting room at the stadium.

GAFFNEY SETS RECORDS: With his second reception of the second half, Florida's Jabar Gaffney broke the Southeastern Conference's record for freshman receiving yards, passing the mark of 1,068 set by Auburn's Ronney Daniels in 1999. With his next catch, his 65th of the season, he broke the SEC record set last season by LSU's Jerel Myers.

JOHNSON INJURED: UF safety Todd Johnson, the Gators' leading tackler this season, dislocated his left index finger in the third quarter. He did not return.

MYSTERY SOLVED: Auburn's victory at Alabama, coupled with Mississippi State's overtime loss to Arkansas, means Florida will play Auburn in the SEC Championship on Dec. 2 in Atlanta. The Gators beat the Tigers 38-7 on Oct. 14 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: For the third consecutive season and the fourth time in five years, ESPN's Gameday crew set up shop at the Florida-Florida State game.

PAYBACK: Last year, Florida fans poked fun at former FSU receiver Peter Warrick receiving discounted merchandise at a Tallahassee department store. On Saturday, a banner draped over the stadium wall read: "I can't find my wallet. Has anybody seen Gaffney?"

Gaffney pleaded guilty to petty theft after stealing cash and jewelry from the locker room at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium last year while it was being used for the high school state championships.

MINNIS IS FINALIST: Minnis on Saturday was named one of three finalists for the Fred Biletnikoff Award, named for the former Seminole and Oakland Raider. Pittsburgh's Antonio Bryant and UCLA's Freddie Mitchell are the other finalists.

FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: FSU junior fullback Chad Maeder, a former standout at Brooksville Central, made his first career start.

BIG CROWD: The crowd of 83,042, undeterred by a temperature of 49 degrees at kickoff and a rainy forecast, was a Doak Campbell Stadium record. The high was 82,514 against Clemson on Nov. 4.

PLAY IT AGAIN: Sunshine Network will show a replay of the FSU-UF game at 8 a.m. today, noon Monday and 11 p.m. Tuesday.

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