Tallahassee Democrat from Tallahassee, Florida on January 2, 1993 · Page 48
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Tallahassee Democrat from Tallahassee, Florida · Page 48

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Tallahassee, Florida
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Saturday, January 2, 1993
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Page 48
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.... I i i i. ni.i jij j ' m i-T--)-T-r-r i i imt "i r" 1 , --p" ""'- 8DTallahassee DemocratSat., Jan. 2, 1993 FLORIDA STATE 27. NEBRASKA 14 PIT1 Stevenson Me is frustrated by lack of national title. NOTEBOOK 'Noles could have had better surroundings in which to prepare MIAMI All week long, Florida State's football team has not been able to escape the University of Miami. The Seminoles had been in the Hurricanes' city, had worked out at their practice facility, and had answered questions about Miami. Even worse, FSU played in Miami's home stadium Friday night at the same time the Hurricanes were going for a fifth national title. "I think about it every now and then," FSU offensive tackle Robert Stevenson said. "Especially when we go into their building and see the championship banners, knowing one or two should be yours. "I get frustrated when I see those because I feel we work harder than anybody. All those years to win the national championship, all we had to do was beat them. That's very frustrating." FSU players were reminded during the week when ESPN showed the Hurricanes doing a mock war chant before their Wednesday practice. Tamarlck Vanover, FSU's wide receiver from Leon High who nearly chose Miami, said he likes all the Hurricanes except linebacker Michael Barrow. Vanover was nailed by Barrow in a vicious hit during Miami's 19-16 win earlier this season, and saw Barrow brag about it on ESPN this week. "He was talking about how he put me on the map," Vanover said. Overhearing that, FSU quarterback Charlie Ward yelled jokingly, "We don't run that play anymore." Vanover kidded back: "Stay in your own conversation." Vanover said he will have three more years unless he leaves early to turn pro to help bring a national championship to Tallahassee. "It's more our fault we didn't win the national championship," he said. "I tell you what, we're going to make a run at them next year." Disappointing turnout With so many Orange Bowl ticket holders also being Miami fans, only 57,324 attended the game. This was the smallest crowd in the 74,224-seat for the Orange Bowl since 1987 when 52,717 showed to watch Oklahoma beat Arkansas 42-6. The smallest crowd since then was 74,760 in 1988 when Miami beat Oklahoma 20-14 for the national championship. Outside the stadium, scalpers were getting only $20 a ticket two hours prior to kickoff . "Obviously, we would've loved to have sold it out," . Orange Bowl executive director Steve Hatchell said. "We fully understand where they're coming from. One scenario had them playing for the national championship in the Fiesta, and theoretically they could've played for it in the Cotton against Texas A&M . "I'm not saying we're their third choice, but to be candid, in the old days (before the bowl coalition) we would've gone after Florida State after the first of November. You're going to have those years. We're not down in the dumps about it." FSU sold 10,000 of its allotted 12,500 tickets. Nebraska sold only 4,000, but FSU did not sell any of those tickets turned back in from Nebraska. Wigwam wisps There were two head coaches on FSU's sideline the Seminoles' Bobby Bowden and his son, Terry, the new coach at Auburn. Terry Bowden wore an Auburn cap. Also on the sideline was former heavyweight champion Muhammad All, the Orange Bowl's Grand Marshal. Ali posed with Seminoles Henri Crockett and Eric Black. Former FSU players Terrell Buckley and Lawrence Dawsey attended the game. Buckley plays defensive back for the Green Bay Packers, and Dawsey is a wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. - Junior Sean Jackson made his seventh start at tailback for FSU. He rushed for 489 yards and four touchdowns on 96 carries during the regular season. Sophomore Tiger McMlllon, who started the other five games, split time with Jackson during the night. McMillon led the Seminoles during the regular season with 579 yards and three touchdowns on 116 rushes. FSU broke a four-game Orange Bowl stadium losing streak. FSU had not won in Miami since a 38-3 victory over Miami in 1984. Also, the Seminoles were winless in their two previous trips to this bowl game, losing to Oklahoma 24-7 in 1980 and 18-17 in 1981 . - Nebraska's headsets went out for about five minutes during the second quarter. Democrat sports editor Bill McGrotha wrapped up his 40th season covering FSU football. He covered his first game in 1953 in where else? Miami. The Hurricanes beat FSU 27-0 in that game, also then-head coach Tom Nugent's first. , This finished FSU's 46th season. : The night's most surreal moments? Whenever the Miami-Alabama score was announced to the crowd. Fans cheered wildly when it was announced Miami was losing 3-0 early in the Sugar Bowl, something not often heard at this stadium. The volume was just as loud whenever the game was announced as tied. Florida State fans were hoping for a tie so the Seminoles would have a claim for the national title. Usually, Chief Osceola rides Renegade to the middle of the field just before kickoff. This time, based on NBC's request, the ritual took place about 17 minutes beforehand. Mark Anderson, Steve Ellis, Alex Marvez and Bill McGrotha y r -'-- . v ,r JJU, 2 f Phil CoaleDemocrat FSU's Charlie Ward gets rid of the ball just before he is hit by charging Nebraska defenders, including Travis Hill (93). FSU Jackson leads big FSU rushing attack FromID first school to win eight consecutive bowl games. "There's no embarrassment in finishing in the top three," linebacker Reggie Freeman said. It may have been the last game at FSU for junior linebacker Marvin Jones, who after the game called a press conference for 2 p.m. Monday in Miami to announce whether he plans to enter the National Football League draft a year early. As for llth-ranked Nebraska (9-3), Tom Osborne had hoped his team would be motivated to not lose a sixth straight bowl game. It didn't happen, and he has an Orange Bowl MVP performance by Seminole quarterback Charlie Ward, FSU's defense, and Nebraska's mistakes to blame. First, there was Ward. Frequent blitzes by Nebraska failed to fluster Ward. He improvised often under pressure and directed scoring drives of 75, 58, 70 and 85 yards. Ward completed 15 of 30 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception. "We're three points away from the national championship," Ward said. "The second part of the season, we're always better than everyone else." Then there was the FSU defense. Nebraska, which averaged 328.2 rushing yards in the regular season, was held to 76 in the first half and 144 for the game. FSU, in containing Nebraska We-Backs Calvin Jones and Derek Brown, has held opposing backs to 100 or fewer yards in 13 straight games. Jones and Brown, both of whom averaged more than 100 yards rushing per game during the regular season, finished with 76 and 13 yards, respectively. "It was clear our main goal had to be to stop their run," said tackle Dan Footman. "If we did that, we knew their weakness was the passing game. I thought we did a pretty good job." By stopping Nebraska's running game, including a fourth-and-1 situation on Nebraska's first drive, FSU forced the Corn-huskers to throw. When that happened, quarterback Tommie Frazier looked like the true freshman he is. Finally, there were the Nebraska miscues. FSU already was ahead 10-0 In the second quarter when Frazier committed his biggest mistake. While in the grasp of an FSU defender, he pitched the ball wildly to Brown near Nebraska's 15. Footman finally corralled the ball at the 2-yard line to set up Ward's 4-yard touchdown pass to Kez McCorvey. Ward was a big reason FSU led 20-7 at halftime. He completed 9 of 21 passes for 104 yards from the shotgun in the first half. He finished with 187 yards, two TD passes and one interception, and had a 26-yard run called back because of a clipping penalty. The junior quarterback, who gave advance notice he will be a Heisman contender next season, had FSU on the scoreboard rather quickly. Ward received help from two Nebraska penalties, a face mask and a roughing call, before finding Tamarick Vanover for a 25-yard touchdown strike over the middle with 7:41 remaining in the first half. Vanover, who sustained a slight shoulder separation late in the first half but continued to play, had a prominent role early. That's because Bowden, maybe figuring to reward the 57,324 who did show up, opened his famed bag of tricks before the heavy rains came in the second half. FSU clicked off three reverses, a fake punt out of necessity and a pass play to Ward. On one reverse, Vanover apparently had a 91-yard touchdown but officials ruled he stepped out of bounds. On the third reverse, he injured his shoulder. Another FSU hero was kicker Dan Mowrey, whose missed 39-yard field-goal attempt against Miami cost the Seminoles a tie. On Friday night, he kicked two field goals. The rain forced FSU to use new players, especially Sean Jackson, in the second half as the Seminoles returned to the I-formation and the running game. The ground game was effective despite the losses for second half of Robert Stevenson and Marvin Ferrell. Jackson, a junior tailback, had more than 100 all-purpose yards in the second half alone. Jackson finished with 101 rushing yards and caught four passes for 61 yards. He also threw a pass. . After being somewhat forgotten in the shotgun passing attack, Jackson keyed an 18-play, 85-yard drive early in the third quarter. That put FSU ahead 27-7 with 7:48 remaining in the period. "The weather was the big thing in us moving out of the shotgun," said offensive coordinator Brad Scott "When we took that first drive (in the second half) and scored, no question, that was the biggest thing that happened for us." McGROTHA FSU has too many weapons for Nebraska From 1D ' What is much is six straight assured top-five finishes by FSU, a team stuck among the bottom five when Bowden came 17 years ago. What is really much, though perhaps not so widely perceived, is the way FSU handled Nebraska, a team that had throttled on successive late-season weekends two other bowl teams Colorado 52-7 and Kansas 49-7. The handling likely would have been much worse, save for rain-soaked players and field. Expediently, FSU throttled down its offense, its explosive shotgun. Enough was enough, anyhow. If they played again tomorrow or next month the result would not likely change. It was kind of like what Miguel Gomez, the Cuban basketball coach, said after losing by 79 to the U.S. Olympic team: "There's an old Cuban saying, you can't cover the sun with your finger." Too many weapons Nebraska had not nearly enough fingers to cover Charlie Ward and the Seminoles. "We did what we had to do," said Bowden, "and I'm very proud of this football team. "Our defense did a great job. Better than I thought they would do, really. There's so much. We had great contribu- We did what we had to do, and I'm very proud of n this football team. .0 - FSU coach Bobby Bowden tion from our seniors, and their great leadership." This game wasn't five minutes old before Marvin Jones reassured FSU fans that the knee injury he suffered during Tallahassee practice for the bowl was nothing to induce sweat on a night that found the temperature at 75 degrees. As Nebraska on its first series penetrated inside FSU's 25, it came to fourth-and-1. Whereupon, freshman quarterback Tommie Frazier got stuffed by the AH-Ameri-can linebacker. Change in the weather Soon that temperature dropped a bit as rain pelted the crowd near the end of the first quarter. Now that may have brought more sweat on the FSU sidelines. Bowden had wanted a hot night Emulating FSU, the Cornhuskers got to the Seminoles' 6 after a 35-yard reverse. When fourth down came, Nebraska, some might unkindly say, continued to emulate FSU. Its kicker missed a 22-yard field goal. But Tom Osborne was not to out-Bow-den FSU. The Seminoles retaliated with a 25-yard Tamarick Vanover reverse, followed by a Sean Jackson pass to quarterback Charlie Ward. Then, lo, Dan Mowrey put through a 40-yard field goal for 10-0. FSU had figured it had to force turn overs to win. Well, not necessarily. On a bad pitchout, Neoraska obligingly lay the ball down at its 2 for Dan Footman to fall upon. Soon Ward threw a touchdown pass, and not really long after Mowrey got himself another field goal, for 204. After mashing to the FSU 23, 6 and 17 without coming up with anything, Nebraska scored on a 41-yard pass shortly before halftime. For a team that finished 101st in passing during the regular season, that was no small thing, and FSU's secondary may be hearing it from Coach Mickey Andrews from now to next Christmas. On the other hand, FSU defenders often seem to be equal-opportunity benevolent in granting the occasional bomb. Rain didn't slow Seminoles Neither did the rain discriminate. It drenched everybody; as the last half started, and chased many underneath the stands, or maybe home. Wet or what the Seminoles mashed, turning to their big back Sean Jackson for dominant running in a 16-play, 85-yard drive on their first last-half series. The push consumed nearly 8 minutes, and put FSU back up by 20 after Jackson ran the touchdown in from the 11. That most though, Isealed FSU's fifth victory over this respected opponent in seven tries in a series that began in 1980. It really seemed so when Leon Fowler intercepted Frazier's next pass. But three penalties backed FSU to its 4, flaming the dying embers of suspense, however tentatively. The beat of the celebrated chant goes on, and it seems not likely to soon stop. G I think (Nebraska) figured we wouldn't be able to run the ball as effectively as we did. FSU's Sean Jackson 9 STATISTICS Jackson McCorvey SCORING SUMMARY Florida State Nebraska 7 13 7 027 0 7 0 714 FSU Vanover 25 pass from Ward (Mowrey kick) FSU FG Mowrey 40 FSU McCorvey 4 pass from Ward (Mowrey kick) FSU FG Mowrey 24 Neb Dixon 41 pass from Frazier (Bennett kick) FSU Jackson 11 run (Mowrey kick) Neb Armstrong 1 pass from Frazier (Bennett kick) A 57.324. Z TEAM First downs Rushing Passing Penalty Rushing attempts Yds gained rushing Yds lost rushing Net yds rushing Net yds passing Total offense Passes attempted Passes completed Intercepted Fumbles-lost Penalties-yds Lost Interceptions-vds Punts-vds Yds per punt Punt returns-vds Kickoff retums-yds Possession 3rd-down conv. Sacks by FSU Nebraska 23 13 8 11 5 0 3 48 34 362 182 41 38 221 144 215 14 434 290 31 22 14 10 1 2 3-0 5-1 4-71 6-50 2-0 1-12 4-215 4-17? 35.8 44.8 1-10 3-18 2-7 4-114 36:53 23:07 816 312 1-1 2-25 FLORIDA STATE RUSHING Player No. Yds. Avg. TD Jackson 17 101 5.9 I Vanover 3 50 16.7 0 Ward 14 23 1.6 McMillon 9 23 2.6 0 Wimberly 1 19 19.0 0 Floyd 4 5 1.2 0 PASSING Player No. Pet. Yds. TD Int. Ward 15-30 50.0 187 2 1 Jackson 1-1 1.00 28 0 0 RECEIVING Player No. Yds. Avg. TD Jackson 4 61 15.2 0 Vanover 3 40 13.3 1 Baker 3 32 10.7 0 McCorvey 3 23 7.7 0 Ward 1 28 28.0 0 Ellison 1 24 24.0 0 McMillon 1 7 7.0 0 Interceptions Player No. Yds. Avg. TD Fowler 1 0 0.0 0 Abraham 1 0 0.0 0 KICKOFF RETURNS Player No. Ydv Avg. TD McMillon 16 6.0 0 Vanover 1 1 1.0 0 PUNTING Player No. Yds. Avg. Long Wimberly 4 21 S 35.8 47 PUNT RETURNS Player No. Yds. Avg. TD Sawyer 1 10 10.0 0 NEBRASKA RUSHING Player No. Yds. Avg. TD Jones 19 76 4.0 0 Dixon 1 35 35.0 0 Lewis 3 19 6.3 0 Brown 4 13 3.2 0 Frazier 7 1 0.1 0 PASSING Player No. Pd. Yds. TD Int. Frazier 10-21 47.4 146 2 2 Bell 0-1 00.0 0 0 0 RECEIVING Player No. Yds. Avg. TD Dixon 5 123 24.6 1 Hawkins 2 18 9.0 0 Muhammad 1 4 4.0 0 Armstrong 1 1 1.0 1 Jones 1 0 0.0 0 INTERCEPTIONS Player No. Yds. Avg. TD Byrd 1 12 12.0 0 KICKOFF RETURNS Player No. Yds. Avg. TD Miles 2 79 39.5 0 Hughes 2 35 17.5 0 PUNTING Player No. Yds. Avg. Long Stlgge 4 179 44.8 58 PUNT RETURNS Player No. Yds. Avg. TD Hughes 2 11 5.5 0 Dixon 17 7.0 0 THRUST ALIGNMENT 574-4100 574-4101 t . A $24.S5 MOST CARS 4732 W. 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