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Oklahoma Silences Critics As It Shuts Down Florida State, 13-2

by Mike Mitchell

Chalk this one up to the Oklahoma defense which shut down Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke and the Florida State Seminoles. With a 13-2 victory in the Orange Bowl, the Sooners put the finishing touches on an undefeated season.

In Bob Stoops second season as head coach, Oklahoma gained their first national title since 1985 and seventh since 1950.

The Sooners collected field goals from Tim Duncan in the first and third quarters for a 6-0 lead that appeared to be in serious jeopardy early in the fourth period when Florida State drove inside the Oklahoma 40-yard line.

But on 4th down, Bobby Bowden elected to go for it instead of pinning the Sooners deep with a punt. Weinke's underthrown pass was batted away near the goal line and Oklahoma took over with good field position.

Though the Sooners would have to punt after picking up just one first down, the kick pinned FSU deep and Weinke fumbled while trying to scramble for a first down at his own 15.

That turnover produced the only touchdown of the game two plays later when Quentin Griffin scored from 10 yards out with 7:21 left in the contest.

Florida State's only score came with 55 seconds remaining when the Sooners were trying to punt. A bad snap was chased down and covered in the end zone by the punter to avoid giving FSU a touchdown.

Josh Heupel, who finished second to Chris Weinke in Heisman Trophy balloting, bagged the bigger prize as he completed 25 of 39 passes for 214 yards.

Weinke hit on 25 of 51 for 274 yards, but he also threw two interceptions, underthrew several potential touchdown passes, had the costly fourth quarter fumble, and was the victim of numerous drops by his receivers.

To the credit of the Oklahoma defense, led by MVP linebacker Torrance Marshall, they never gave Florida State a chance to get their offense in gear. The secondary seemed to converge on every throw and the running game was held to just 27 yards.

SUGAR: Miami did all it could to impress the sportswriters who vote in the AP Poll that they should be the number one team. Unlike the coaches poll, the AP poll does not have a binding agreement to vote the BCS winner as number one.

The Hurricanes were everything we said they would be in this game - fast on defense and balanced on offense - as they methodically beat Florida, 37-20.

Miami surprised everyone by throwing on 9 of their first 11 plays, but wound up with 43 rushes and 40 pass plays on the night.

The Miami mascot, Ibis, provided the evening's comic relief by running onto the field and hugging Najeh Davenport after he scored the game-clinching touchdown with 4:21 left to play. The move drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Hurricane coach, Butch Davis, could be seen mouthing the words, "Get that s.o.b. off the field".

Steve Spurrier was probably saying that about a lot of the Miami players as several contributed to the Gators' demise.

Ken Dorsey threw for 270 yards and 3 td's, though he also tossed 2 int's after throwing only five all year. Davenport scored two touchdowns - one rushing and one receiving. James Jackson ran for 62 yards before leaving with an injury. Clinton Portis rushed for 97 yards as Jackson's replacement. Jeremy Shockey contributed a scoring reception. And, Santana Moss gathered 89 yards on 6 receptions.

Florida, meanwhile, was a one-man show for much of the game. Reche Caldwell hauled in six catches for 110 yards, but negated 15 yards of one of his own gains when the officials flagged him for taunting after excessively celebrating of a long pass play. The penalty backed the Gators up from the Miami 21 to the 36 and ultimately resulted in a missed field goal.

FIESTA: Jonathan Smith threw three touchdown passes for Oregon State and the defense limited Notre Dame to 155 total yards as the Beavers routed the Fighting Irish 41-9.

ROSE: Marques Tuisasosopo ran for a score, passed for another and completed 75% of his passes (18-of-24) as Washington beat Purdue 34-24.

Drew Brees was 23-of-39 for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns but the Boilermaker running game was limited to just 76 yards on 28 attempts.

CITRUS: After Auburn kicked a field goal with 2:26 to play, Michigan recovered the onside kick to preserve a 31-28 win in which Wolverine tailback Anthony Thomas gained 182 yards and scored two touchdowns.

Drew Henson completed 15-of-20 passes for 205 yards and two scores to offset the performance by Auburn's Ben Leard who was 28-of-37 for 394 yards and three touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions.

OUTBACK: South Carolina capped a remarkable one-season turnaround with a 24-7 win over Ohio State. The Gamecocks, 0-11 a year ago and on a 21-game losing streak at the start of the season, finished 8-4 with the win. Ryan Brewer, who in high school was bestowed the title of Mr. Football-Ohio but still overlooked by Ohio State, buried the Buckeyes with three rushing touchdowns as he gained 109 yards on 19 carries.

GATOR: Michael Vick passed for a score and ran for another, Lee Suggs added a Gator record three rushing touchdowns, and the Virginia Tech defense shut down Clemson for a thorough 41-20 win.

COTTON: Jonathan Beasley ran for 98 yards and a touchdown, and threw for 210 yards and two more scores, as Kansas State cruised past Tennessee 35-21.

INDEPENDENCE: Bulldog coach Jackie Sherrill beat his former team when Mississippi State edged Texas A&M, 43-41, in overtime in a heavy snowstorm.

Ja'Mar Toombs put the Aggies ahead 41-35, but the Bulldogs blocked the extra point and returned it for two points of their own, cutting the lead to 41-37. Then, Wayne Madkin found the endzone on a 6-yard scramble to win the game.

SILICON VALLEY CLASSIC: The inaugural game was exciting as Fresno State lost 37-34 to Air Force after trailing 34-7 at halftime. It wasn't over until the Bulldogs misfired on a fake field goal with 14 seconds left to go in the game. In the first half, Mike Thiessen ran for two scores and threw two touchdown passes as the Falcons built a cushion that they barely hung on to.

ALAMO: Nebraska set a bowl record for points scored in crushing Northwestern 66-17. Dan Alexander ran fro 240 yards and two scores, and Eric Crouch ran for two scores and threw a pair of touchdown passes.

SUN: Jamar Fletcher intercepted a pass with a minute left to play to preserve a 21-20 win for Wisconsin in heated battle over UCLA. In defeat, Freddie Mitchell caught 9 passe for 184 yards.

PEACH: Rohan Davey threw three touchdowns passes in the second half, in relief of starter Josh Booty, to bring LSU back from a 14-3 halftime deficit to a 28-14 win over Georgia Tech. Six turnovers also helped bury the Yellow Jackets.

HOLIDAY: Joey Harrington threw two touchdown passes, ran for one, and caught one as Oregon outscored Texas 35-30 to cap the Ducks first 10-win season in their 105-year history.

LIBERTY: C. W. Hurst kicked three field goals and Cecil Sapp churned out 160 yards rushing as Colorado State downed Louisville 22-17.

MICRON PC: North Carolina State stormed back from a 24-point deficit behind Philip Rivers who threw for 310 yards, and Koren Robinson who caught seven balls for 157, to beat Minnesota 38-30.

INSIGHT.COM: Sage Rosenfels completed 23 of 34 passes for 308 yards and Chris Anthony caught both of his touchdown passes as Iowa State beat Pittsburgh 37-29, stopping short the Panthers rally from a 27-7 halftime deficit.

MUSIC CITY: West Virginia scored early and often, then withstood a furious second half rally, to beat Mississippi in the Music City Bowl, 49-38. The victory halted an 8-game bowl losing streak for the Mountaineers and sent retiring coach Don Nehlen out with his 202nd win.

HUMANITARIAN: Boise State beat UTEP 38-23 as quarterback Bart Hendricks threw a touchdown pass, caught another, and ran for two. The Broncos completed their last season in the Big West with a second Humanitarian Bowl trophy and a 10-2 record.

GALLERYFURNITURE.COM: East Carolina scored 27 points in the game's first 16 minutes, then held on to win this inaugural Houston game, 40-27, over Texas Tech in the Houston Astrodome.

MOTOR CITY: Byron Leftwich threw one touchdown pass and ran for another and Marshall won the Motor City Bowl for the third straight time, rallying from a 14-9 halftime deficit to beat Cincinnati 25-14.

ALOHA BOWL: Cedric Washington had two 10-yard touchdown runs as Boston College (7-5) downed Arizona State (6-6) 31-17 in a sparsely attended game in Hawaii.

OAHU BOWL: The last game for retiring Virginia coach George Welsh, and fired Georgia coach Jim Donnan, was played before fewer than 4,000 people at the Oahu Bowl as the Bulldogs downed the Cavaliers 37-14.

LAS VEGAS: UNLV piled up 475 yards of offense as Jason Thomas threw three touchdown passes and the Runnin' Rebels whipped Arkansas 31-14

MOBILE ALABAMA: Southern Miss rallied from a 21-14 deficit in the final 7:24 with two touchdown passes from Jeff Kelly, including a 29-yarder to Kenneth Johnson with 8 seconds left, as the Golden Eagles (8-4) upset TCU, 28-21.


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