Bobby Bowden had trouble concentrating Saturday night. That's OK, because No. 6 Florida State had Peter Warrick and a dominating defense.
One night after son Terry
Bowden, admittedly distracted by his son's problems, left most of the planning to his assistants.
"I probably didn't concentrate as hard as I needed to because of what happened to Terry," Bowden said. "That shocked me."
The Seminoles (7-1, 4-1 ACC) already had the nation's top-ranked defense, allowing only 214 yards per game, and actually improved their average against a team that had scored 40 points in five straight games.
Warrick caught two touchdown passes from Chris Weinke and added a 16-yard scoring run on a reverse. Florida State turned a close game into a rout with a 24-point fourth quarter, which included a 60-yard touchdown run by Laveranues Coles.
"Sooner or later, the best team is going to rise to the top," said Weinke, who was 17-of-26 for 208 yards and stretched his streak without an interception to 175 passes. "I think we're the best team in the ACC right now."
The Yellow Jackets (5-2, 4-1) could have taken the inside track t their first ACC title since 1990. Instead, they are now in a three-way tie with Florida State and Virginia, which meet on Nov. 7 in Tallahassee.
Tech, seventh nationally with an average of 40.8 points per game, put together an 18-play, 80-yard drive on its first possession, capped by Phillip Rogers' 2-yard touchdown dive.
That seemed to fire up the Seminoles' defense, which allowed Tech to cross midfield only twice more the rest of the game. The Yellow Jackets, averaging 415 yards per game, managed only 199 against Florida State.
"We settled down," defensive tackle Jerry Johnson said. "If you X-out that first drive, they pretty much had nothing."
The Seminoles are 51-2 in the ACC since joining the league in 1992, including seven straight victories over Tech. The Yellow Jackets have been outscored 255-30 by Florida State in the last six meetings.
Tech, trailing only 10-7, saw its hopes for an upset end with a two-play sequence late in the third quarter. First, quarterback Joe Hamilton completed an 11-yard pass to Mike Sheridan, giving the Yellow Jackets a first down at the Florida State 47.
But Hamilton suffered a bruised left
| Bradley Jennings shows Georgia Tech's Joe Burns why the Seminoles have the nation's top-ranked defense. (AP) |
"It was big adversity when Joe went out of the game," Rogers said. "We knew going into the game that everything wasn't going to go perfect, but I think we could have bounced back from being down 10-7."
Warrick was one of nine Seminoles who traveled to Atlanta by bus after Florida State's charter flight suffered engine problems before taking off Friday from Tallahassee. He didn't seem bothered by the 5½-hour trip, catching six passes for 82 yards and running three times for 21.
"I sure wish now we hadn't lost that game," Warrick said, referring to the Seminoles' lone defeat against North Carolina State. "We'd be right where we wanted to be."
Warrick caught his first touchdown on the final play of the first quarter, when the Seminoles faced third-and-26 at the Tech 44. Weinke stepped away from pressure, hooked up with his receiver cutting across the middle and Warrick went the rest of the way down the right sideline.
Tech's maligned defense, ranked 92nd nationally, allowed nothing else in the half. The Seminoles helped by committing 75 yards in penalties and fumbling three times -- although they recovered all three -- and RodneWilliams kept Florida State backed up by averaging 56 yards on three punts.
The Seminoles went ahead for good on the opening possession of the second half, driving into position for a 43-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski.
In the final period, Warrick caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Weinke, Janikowski kicked a 32-yard field goal and Warrick sealed the victory on his touchdown run with 5:31 remaining. Coles' long run simply made the score more impressive.
Georgia Tech lost receiver-running back Charlie Rogers to a shoulder injury in the first quarter, and the offense was doomed when Hamilton was hurt. However, it probably wouldn't have mattered who was at quarterback against the Seminoles.
Hamilton completed only 8-of-14 passes for 56 yards, with one interception, and he never did hook up with Dez White, who had caught six passes for a school-record 243 yards against Virginia the previous week.
White finally caught his only pass, a 9-yarder from Godsey, with 8:39 remaining in the game.
The Yellow Jackets fumbled six times, losing three.
"It's very obvious that you can't beat a team like Florida State when you turn it over (four) times," coach George O'Leary said. "I thought defensively we hung in there until the third or fourth turnover, and then we wore down a bit."
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