Nov. 13, 1999
By BRENT KALLESTAD
Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - After weeks of inconsistent performances, top-ranked Florida State looked deserving of its ranking Saturday.
Chris Weinke threw six touchdown passes - three to Peter Warrick - as the Seminoles clobbered Maryland 49-10, reaching 10 victories for the 13th straight season.
The Seminoles (10-0, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) need to defeat archrival Florida (9-1) next Saturday at Gainesville to guarantee a second straight trip to the national championship game.
"This is what we needed," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said of his team's dominating performance against Maryland. "I'd have been pretty disappointed if we hadn't played good."
Florida State trailed at one point in each of its previous four victories, barely escaping once - 17-14 at Clemson, Oct. 23.
Bowden admitted much of the season has been a tuneup for the showdown with No. 4 Florida.
"Now the rest comes next week," Bowden said. "I doubt if anything we could do would intimidate them."
Weinke, who did not play in the fourth quarter, threw four touchdown passes by halftime. He had two 6-yard scoring throws to Ron Dugans, another 5-yard TD to Warrick and a 30-yarder to Atrews Bell as the Seminoles built a 28-3 lead.
Weinke combined with Warrick on scoring plays covering 26 and 28 yards in the third period as the Seminoles increased the lead to 42-3. Marcus Outzen's 35-yard touchdown pass to Greg Moore in the fourth quarter completed Florida State's scoring.
Weinke missed last year's game against Florida as Outzen led the Seminoles to a 23-12 victory.
"They're going to play good football at home," Weinke said. "We realize that."
The 27-year-old quarterback knows Florida State fans rate the team and its quarterbacks on how they do against the Gators.
"If you don't win that game everybody forgets about the first 10 wins," Weinke said. "We saw two years ago. We felt like we had a better team going down there and we got beat."
There was no doubt who was better Saturday.
Maryland (5-5, 2-5) was hurt by five turnovers and also had two punts blocked, offsetting LaMont Jordan's 169 rushing yards - the most this year against Florida State.
"Our expectations were to compete on even terms," Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden said. "We couldn't move the ball."
Warrick caught nine passes for 134 yards and became the ACC's career leader with 3,427 receiving yards. North Carolina State's Torry Holt held the record for a year with 3,379 yards.
"I did not come back this year for records," said Warrick, who surprised most everyone earlier this year when he decided against making himself eligible for the NFL draft where he was a certain high first-round pick.
"I came back to try and win a national championship," Warrick said. "We've got ourselves in position to do that and that's what I'm happy about."
Although he missed two games for legal reasons, Warrick has caught 62 passes for 844 yards and eight touchdowns. His touchdown catches Saturday give him the school record with 32, eclipsing E.G. Green's 29.
Weinke, who was 23-of-33 for 304 yards, matched the school record for touchdown passes set in 1989 by Peter Tom Willis against Memphis State.
Jermaine Arrington's 77-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter set up Maryland's only touchdown, a 1-yard pass from Trey Evans to tight end Eric James. The Terrapins also scored on Brian Kopka's 38-yard field goal in the opening minute of the second quarter.
Maryland lost its next best scoring opportunity in the third period when Evans' pass was intercepted in Florida State's end zone by Clevan Thomas, who had two of the Seminoles' four interceptions.
Freshman quarterback Latrez Harrison, making his first start for Maryland, was knocked out of the game in the first half with a sprained ankle.
The Terrapins are 0-10 against Florida State.
Since joining the ACC in 1992, Florida State has won six league titles outright, shared two and stands 62-2 in conference play.
The Seminoles have not lost at home in eight years, a span of 46 games while winning their last 29 since a 31-31 tie against Florida in 1994.
Bowden's teams are 107-13-1 this decade and 57-1-1 at home where they haven't lost since a 17-16 defeat to Miami in November 1991.
"Thank goodness we haven't had one of those lately," Bowden joked Saturday.
During the 13-year run of 10-win seasons, Florida State's record is 139-17-1.