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Hokie moms make game

Donations help players' mothers get to New Orleans

Click here for more on this story

Posted: Wednesday January 05, 2000 01:43 AM

  A Virginia Tech fan dressed in a Hokie costume harasses a Florida State fan on Bourbon Street. AP

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The mother of Virginia Tech cornerback Anthony Midget had a tough choice to make last month: her son's graduation or the Sugar Bowl.

Cheryl Midget decided to travel from Florida to Blacksburg, Va., to see her son get his diploma, thinking that she couldn't also afford to go to New Orleans for the national championship.

But now, thanks to a Christmas story in The Palm Beach Post and donations from community groups and individuals, she and two other Hokie moms from Clewiston, Fla., attended the game against Florida State.

Using the donated money, Midget got a van, a driver and traveled to New Orleans with Cynthia Summers, mother of linebacker Phillip Summers, and Sarah Blain-Franklin, mother of defensive tackle Thenus Franklin. The moms also got $1,500 for the trip.

"I said, 'Ooooh, Anthony. Oh, Lord, Momma got a blessing today,'" said Midget, a single mother with six sons. "'Momma's going to get to see you play.' He was so glad. So glad."

In that number

The 79,280 people attending the Sugar Bowl was the largest crowd to ever watch a football game in the Superdome. The largest crowd to ever attend any event in the Dome was the 87,500 who watched a Rolling Stones concert there in 1981.

Isn't he special

Virginia Tech's Ike Charlton had been wanting to return punts for a long time. When he got the chance, he made the most of it. With Hokies regular punt returner Ricky Hall out after breaking a bone in his left foot in practice last week, Charlton got the call in the Sugar Bowl. He had four returns for 88 yards. His biggest run was a 46-yard return to the Florida State 36 that set up a touchdown in the third quarter.

Fan confusion

There was so much maroon being worn in New Orleans the past week it was hard to tell if people were fans of Florida State or Virginia Tech.

That's because both teams wear the color. The Seminoles are maroon and gold; Virginia Tech maroon and white.

"It gets confusing," said Bob Johnson, a bartender at a French Quarter bar. "Their colors are so similar and they both say they're No. 1. I just pump my fist and say, 'Yeah, you right.' It makes them all happy."

Hokies fans apparently far outnumber Florida State fans in town for the game. Of the 79,280 at the game, more than 40,000 were expected to root for Virginia Tech. They were also expected to provide the bulk of attendance at a smaller facility behind the Superdome, where fans paid $15 to watch the game on the giant screen.

Virginia Tech merchandise was outselling Florida State merchandise 10-1 at Sports World of the South next to the Superdome.

"It's just old hat for Florida State fans," a clerk said.

The Seminoles have played in the Sugar Bowl five times in the last 11 years.

Ticket takers

Sugar Bowl officials estimated the crowd outside the Superdome before kickoff Tuesday at 120,000. There were about 79,280 seats for the game, leaving ticket-sellers with a brisk business.

Scalping is illegal in New Orleans, punishable by up to three months in jail and a $500 fine, and undercover officers were working the area. Buyers and sellers, however, did not seem intimidated.

Tickets with a face value of $85 were selling for as much as $600, according to some buyers outside the Superdome. Tickets in prime locations were reportedly selling for as much as $1,500 earlier in the week.

Underdog's game

Being the underdog at the Sugar Bowl had paid off in the past when No. 1 and No. 2 met. In the first three such meetings, No. 2 won.

Alabama beat No. 1 Penn State 14-7 in 1979; Penn State beat No. 1 Georgia 27-23 in 1983; and No. 2 Alabama beat No. 1 Miami 34-13 in 1993.

Top-ranked Florida State prevailed Tuesday night 46-29.

Florida was No. 3 when it beat No. 1 Florida State 52-20 for the national title in 1997.

Bonus boys

Winning paid off for both coaches.

Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer received three months' salary, about $45,000, for making it to the game and could have earned another $100,000 if the Hokies won.

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden got $75,000, regardless of the outcome.

Playing hurt

Virginia Tech split end Ricky Hall, despite having a broken bone in his left foot, was in for two plays in the first half.

Tuesday night's injuries: Florida State -- DE Roland Seymour, sprained right knee, LB Tommy Polley, sprained left knee, DB Pete Henderson, sprained left knee; Virginia Tech -- LB Cory Bird, sprained left shoulder, RB Shyrone Stith, sprained left ankle.

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