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Recap | Box Score | This Week's Scoreboard
Oklahoma 13, Florida St. 2
Posted: Thursday January 04, 2001 02:44 AM ET
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Big Twelve

By Doug Mittler SportsTicker College Football Editor MIAMI (Ticker) -- Oklahoma completed its stunning revival as a college football power by shutting down another.

The top-ranked Sooners bottled up Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke and Quentin Griffin scored on a 10-yard run in a 13-2 victory over third-ranked Florida State in the Orange Bowl on Wednesday.

Oklahoma (13-0) claimed its first national title since 1985 and seventh since 1950, a figure unmatched by any school. The only undefeated team in the country, the Sooners finished atop both polls, released early Thursday morning.

The architect of the resurgence was Bob Stoops, the second-year coach who restored the pride that had been missing since Barry Switzer won three titles before departing under pressure after the 1988 season.

"I think we can say it now -- Oklahoma is back," Stoops said. "We weren't just happy to be here. We fully expected to win."

Switzer was among those in attendance but the team that dethroned the Seminoles did not need his wishbone offense. Instead, it relied on a stifling, attacking defense that would have handed the Seminoles their first shutout since 1988 if not for a safety with 55 seconds left.

Florida State (11-2) failed in its quest to win back-to-back national titles and its third crown since 1993. It also eliminated any chances of Miami, which defeated Florida in the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday, earning a share of the national title.

"No split title. We're No. 1," Sooners linebacker Rocky Calmus said.

Tim Duncan kicked a pair of field goals to give the Sooners a tenuous 6-0 lead after three quarters, and it was a key play by the defense that increased the lead.

A scrambling Weinke had the ball swatted away by linebacker Rocky Calmus and safety Roy Williams recovered at the Seminoles 15-yard line. Two plays later, Griffin raced in for a 13-point lead with 7:46 left. Griffin carried 11 times for 40 yards.

The defense iced the victory with two other big plays later in the quarter. Derrick Strait batted away a fourth-down pass that could have gone for a touchdown and fellow cornerback Ontei Jones completed the domination with an interception in the final seconds.

Linebacker Torrance Marshall, a Miami native who had a first-half interception and six tackles, was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

"We came in prepared to win. That's you guys that think we couldn't win," said Marshall. "We went out there and took it."

Oklahoma quarterback Josh Heupel finished second to the 28-year-old Weinke in the Heisman Trophy voting but it was the southpaw who ended up with the last laugh.

Heupel completed the unusual journey to a national title that began in his hometown of Aberdeen, South Dakota and included stops at Weber State and Snow Junior College in Utah. He completed 25-of-39 passes for 214 yards.

"We wanted to be part of the comeback at Oklahoma," Heupel said. "It's not a Cinderella season. It's a drema come true. We're going to be on top for a long, long time."

Once again, it was South Florida that served as the stage for a great Oklahoma moment. The previous national title for the Sooners was completed with a win over Penn State in the 1986 Orange Bowl. While Wednesday night's game took place at Pro Player Stadium, Stoops staged his final practice on Tuesday at the aging Orange Bowl stadium, perhaps as a reminder of past glory.

Weinke clearly missed his favorite receiver, Marvin Minnis, who was suspended for academic reasons. There were numerous drops by Weinke's targets, including a pivotal miss in the third quarter that could have given the Seminoles a first down.

"This would have been icing on the cake, but we couldn't put it together," said Weinke, who was 25-of-51 for 274 yards and was intercepted twice.

The Seminoles were a dismal 1-for-15 on third-down conversions.

"You needed a catch here, you didn't get it," Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden said. "You need a little block here, you didn't get it. That is what it would have taken to win this ballgame."

Atrews Bell had a big game for the Seminoles, catching seven passes for 137 yards, including a 35-yarder on the first play of the game.

"There were some key plays that could have turned the game around," Bell said. "Big plays got us to the dance and we couldn't finish the drill."

The opening quarter had as many turnovers as points, with the only score being a 27-yard field goal by Duncan.

Two of the turnovers were forced by Seminoles cornerback Tay Cody, who first stripped Andre Woolfolk following a 22-yard reception.

Marshall answered with an interception of Weinke on the next play. All three of his interceptions this season came in the last five games.

A 36-yard pass from Heupel to Josh Norman set up the field goal by Duncan.

Heupel moved Oklahoma down the field on the next possession but tried to force one pass too many and Cody ended up with it at Florida State's 8. Cody left the game later in the first quarter with an abdominal injury and was taken to a hospital for tests.

Florida State's kicking woes also resurfaced. Brett Cimorelli missed badly on a 30-yard field goal attempt with 7:30 left in the second quarter.

The Seminoles failed to score in the first half for only the second time this year. The other was in a loss to Miami at the Orange Bowl on October 7.

The Sooners doubled their lead on a 42-yard field goal by Duncan with 4:24 left in the third period. Heupel scrambled and threw a 39-yard pass to Curtis Fagan but Oklahoma settled for three points after he overthrew a wide-open Antwone Savage in the end zone.

Duncan had a controversial miss on a 37-yard attempt earlier in the third quarter. The kick went over the top of the upright and was ruled just wide, ending a drive in which the Sooners chewed up the first seven minutes of the period.


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