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Slow start, Seminole finish
FSU needs a half to get engines running against La. Tech
Posted: Saturday August 28, 1999 10:08 PM
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida State's Peter Warrick came back to college for his final season with a purpose: He wants a national championship on his resume when he turns pro.
Warrick's slithering 20-yard touchdown run late in the first half broke a 7-7 tie as the top-ranked Seminoles overcame a sluggish start to take a 41-7 victory Saturday over Louisiana Tech.
"Warrick's run was unbelievable," Louisiana Tech coach Jack Bicknell said. "When you play against people like that, that's what they do. They make huge plays for their team."
Warrick, who also caught nine passes for 121 yards, took a handoff from quarterback Chris Weinke and ran laterally across the field -- reversing direction twice to elude several Bulldogs defenders -- before racing to the end zone to give the Seminoles a 14-7 lead 39 seconds before halftime.
"I thought we had him tackled 15 times," said Bicknell, who was making his debut as a college coach. "I said, 'OK, he's down' and the next thing I know he keeps going. That was frustrating."
"It happened so fast," Warrick said. "When I ran to the left and came back to the right and I saw the middle, I said, 'Oh, yeah, this is going to be nice.' "
Earlier in the same possession, Warrick ran 21 yards on a third-down reverse to keep the scoring drive alive.
"A lot of guys were looking up to me so I just wanted to step up and make a play," said Warrick, who spurned sure millions and the NFL this year to play his senior season.
Weinke, making his first appearance since a four-hour operation on his spine last November, was 20-of-32 for 242 yards and threw two touchdown passes to freshman Anquan Boldin on plays covering 4 and 29 yards.
"I didn't think Chris' injury would bother him, but I'm glad he got in there and was fine," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. "I was more concerned about him being rusty and he might have been."
Sparked by Warrick's touchdown, Florida State blew the game open in the third quarter.
"We needed that. We needed someone to spark the offense," Weinke said. "Coach Bowden said before the game that great players make great plays."
William McCray scored on a 1-yard run and Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 49-yard field goal in addition to Boldin's second TD catch as Florida State took a 31-7 lead.
Louisiana Tech tied the game 7-7 midway through the second quarter when quarterback Tim Rattay arched a 13-yard scoring pass to John Simon.
Rattay, the nation's leading passer a year ago, completed 28 of 48 passes for 240 yards, but suffered two interceptions.
Florida State's defense, ranked first nationally a year ago, allowed 269 yards, but only 80 in the second half.
Linebacker Theon Rackley picked off Rattay's pass and ran 10 yards for a touchdown early in the final period, boosting Florida State's lead to 38-7.
"You make little mistakes against them and they are going to turn them into big plays," Rattay said.
Janikowski added a 23-yard field goal to complete the scoring as Florida State extended its home unbeaten streak to 41 games. The Seminoles' last loss in Tallahassee was a 17-16 defeat to Miami in 1991.
Warrick's go-ahead touchdown came after Louisiana Tech, threatening to take the lead, instead turned the ball over. Tech's Sean Canagelosi fumbled when hit at the Florida State 5 by Clevan Thomas, and Sean Key recovered for the Seminoles.
"The guy made a big hit, those things happen," Rattay said.
"They had the momentum when we got the key fumble recovery," Bowden said. "When Peter made the run ... it took it away from them."
Louisiana Tech had gotten the ball when Bobby Gray picked off
Weinke's pass from the end zone to avoid being sacked for a safety.
Weinke had thrown 237 consecutive passes without an interception,
eclipsing the Atlantic Coast Conference mark of 231 straight by
Virginia's Matt Blundin.
Louisiana Tech was a last-minute substitute on the Florida State
schedule for Auburn, which paid $500,000 to buy out of a two-year,
home-and-home deal with the powerful Seminoles.
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