Seminoles playing waiting game

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 26, 1999

The Associated Press

Florida State might have to wait a little longer to see which team it will play for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl on Jan.

Friday, November 26, 1999

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Florida State might have to wait a little longer to see which team it will play for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4.

No. 2 Virginia Tech (10-0) and No. 3 Nebraska (9-1) are the top contenders. But if the Hokies beat No. 22 Boston College (8-2) and the Huskers beat Colorado (6-4) in today’s games, the No. 1 Seminoles still won’t know who their opponent until Nebraska plays No. 7 Texas in the Big 12 title game on Dec. 4, with the Bowl Championship Series standings having the final say on Dec. 5.

The No. 1 Seminoles (11-0) completed their season last week.

What if Virginia Tech and Nebraska both lose? Then Tennessee, Florida and Kansas State are among the teams that could move into title contention.

”We’ve got to come out like we’ve done all season long prepared to play the game of our life,” Tech defensive end Corey Moore said. ”We win that game and we’re playing for the national championship. I firmly believe that.

”I think it would be just an absolute tragedy if we don’t get a chance to play for the national championship.”

The Huskers are trying to focus on Colorado instead of figuring out how they can move ahead of the Hokies in the BCS standings.

”There has not been any talk amongst our team about anything other than Colorado,” Nebraska coach Frank Solich said. ”I have not heard one word uttered.”

In other Top 25 games today, it’s No. 7 Texas at No. 24 Texas A&M; Ohio at No. 12 Marshall; No. 17 Arkansas at LSU; and No. 25 Louisiana Tech at Southern California.

On Saturday, it’s Vanderbilt at No. 6 Tennessee; and No. 16 Georgia at No. 20 Georgia Tech.

No. 18 Mississippi St. beat No. 23 Mississippi 23-20 on Thursday night.

The Hokies are shooting for the second perfect season in school history, the first since 1918 when they were 7-0.

So far Virginia Tech has dispatched the previously ranked teams it has played this season – 31-7 over Virginia, 62-0 over Syracuse, and 43-10 over Miami.

Tech, which leads the nation in scoring at 41.7 points per game, is directed by redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Vick, who has 1,550 yards and nine TDs passing, 504 yards and seven TDs rushing.

The Eagles, behind quarterback Tim Hasselbeck and running back Cedric Washington, are having quite a season themselves. Right now BC is headed to the Bowl, but could move up to the Gator Bowl with an upset.

”I said after the Syracuse game that our kids have hearts as big as oceans,” O’Brien said, referring to BC’s 24-23 win over the Orangemen on Oct. 30. ”They’re going to play hard, and that’s all we can ask of them.”

Virginia Tech has won the last three meetings, with BC managing a total of 14 points.

Nebraska has a seven-game winning streak over Colorado, but the past three games have been close. The Huskers won by two points last year, three points in ’97 and five points in ’96.

Quarterback Eric Crouch leads an offense ranked sixth nationally in rushing at 260.1 yards per game, while the defense is second in yards allowed (234.5) and third in points allowed (11.4). Crouch, who ran for 158 yards and two TDs in the Huskers’ 41-15 win over Kansas State two weeks ago, has 694 yards and 13 TDs rushing.

Bowl berths are on the line in several other games Saturday: Pittsburgh (5-5) at West Virginia (3-7), Syracuse (6-4) at Miami (6-4), Oklahoma State (5-5) at Oklahoma (6-4), and Arizona (6-5) at Arizona State (5-5).

Notre Dame (5-6) tries to avoid its first losing season since 1986 when it visits Pac-10 champion Stanford (7-3).

No. 18 Mississippi St. 23,

No. 23 Mississippi 20

In Starkville, Miss., Scott Westerfield hit a 44-yard field goal with four seconds left as Mississippi State rallied for a victory.

Mississippi State, which trailed throughout the game, scored 17 fourth-quarter points. After the game, thousands of State fans poured onto the field and tore down the goalpost that Westerfield sent his second game-winner of the season through. Minutes later, they toppled the goalpost at the other end of the field,

Mississippi State quarterback Wayne Madkin took the Bulldogs (9-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) 88 yards, hitting C.J. Sirmones with a 38-yard touchdown to tie it at 20 with 27 seconds left. Then, Eugene Clinton intercepted Mississippi (7-4, 4-4) QB Romaro Miller’s pass and returned the ball 27 yards to set up Westerfield’s kick.