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Sugar Bowl Notebook

Vick's magic not quite enough for Hokies

Click here for more on this story

Posted: Wednesday January 05, 2000 04:41 AM

  Michael Vick's electrifying performance may make him the preseason favorite for next year's Heisman trophy. AP

By Stewart Mandel,

NEW ORLEANS -- Virginia Tech fans found out Tuesday night that Michael Vick is human after all. But not by much.

Even in defeat, the redshirt freshman quarterback put on a dazzling show that undoubtedly left college football fans drooling over his return for at least one more year. He threw for 225 yards and ran for 97, slicing and dicing his way through the defense to the point where Florida State defenders Roland Seymour and Tommy Polley suffered game-ending knee strains trying to catch him.

"I wish we had him on our team," FSU safety Sean Key said.

As advertised, Vick failed to play like his 19-year-old age would suggest. But he did make a couple costly mistakes.

The Hokies got to the FSU 4 on their opening drive, thanks largely to Vick's 25- and 9-yard scrambles mid-drive. But on fourth-and-1, after what appeared to be a bad snap, Vick took off running only to have the ball stripped by the 'Noles' Derrick Gibson.

Even more devastating, with Tech trailing by seven with 11:42 left to play, Vick scampered 12 yards across midfield only to cough it up when hit. Key recovered. It was the beginning of the end for the Hokies.

On the field afterward, Vick hardly seemed frustrated with his effort. He smiled as a host of well-wishers from his team and the opponent congratulated him on his game and season.

"We did everything in our power that we could to win the football game, but that wasn't good enough," he said. "In my heart, we are still champions."

Weinke decision Friday

FSU 27-year-old junior quarterback Chris Weinke will announce at a press conference Friday whether he's turning pro a year early. He was 20-of-34 for 320 yards, four TDs and an interception. Though he repeatedly offered a "no comment" afterward about his future, all indications are he's gone.

"I've still got a few days to think about it," Weinke said. "What a way to go out, 12-0, but then again there's something special about being a senior. I don't know if there's a college football team that's gone 12-0 two seasons in a row, so there's a lot of reasons for coming back."

In the '99 regular season, Weinke completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 3,103 yards, 25 TDs and 14 interceptions. He took repeated exception this week to suggestions that Virginia Tech had an edge at quarterback with Vick and reiterated it after the Sugar Bowl.

"I said it all along, it's about winning the football game, not how far you can throw it," Weinke said, "and I won the game."

Cinderella? Hardly

Those who look just at the final score will say Virginia Tech didn't deserve its No. 2 ranking and spot in the BCS championship. But those who watched the Hokies play all season -- and especially in the bowl game -- know otherwise.

"It looked like a Florida State team playing another Florida State team out there," Seminoles LB Brian Allen said. "The way they get after people, it's like they were taking a play out of our book. They're a great team."

Coach Frank Beamer said all week his program would not live or die based on whether it won the championship. But the quest for respect has been an ever-present mantra in Blacksburg all year what with the media critcizing its weak schedule.

At 29-28, any lingering doubts probably went their way.

As for the future, Tech has the unenviable task of replacing All-American Corey Moore and seven other starters from its vaunted defense. The offense, however, returns 10 starters from Tuesday night's game.

"With Mike [Vick] coming back with another year under his belt ... that's just scary," receiver Andre Davis said.

Fitting the frame

When he returns to Tallahassee Wednesday, Bowden will fill in the infamous, empty picture frame in his office he's been reserving for his first undefeated team.

"[Athletic Director] Dave Hart gave me the picture already," he said. "It's one we took here a few days ago."

Worth noting

The Hokies rushed for an impressive 278 yards despite losing starting tailback Shyrone Stith to an ankle sprain late in the first half. His replacement, Andre Kendrick, gained 69 yards on 12 carries .. The 46 points scored by FSU was 25 more than Va. Tech gave up in any game this season ... This was the highest-scoring game in Sugar Bowl history, breaking the Florida-Florida State game of 1997. The Hokies' 29 points were the most ever by a losing team in the Sugar Bowl ... The crowd of 79,280 was the largest ever to watch a football game in the Superdome.

Related information
Seminoles claim second national title, rip Hokies
Hokies moms make game
Hokies' Vick dazzling in defeat
Photo Gallery: Fanfare
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