Inside College Football

October 17, 1999

SAD CASE
Heisman candidate Peter Warrick's felony charge overshadowed
Florida State's sixth win

After a week in which he surrendered himself to Tallahassee
police to be charged as a felon and surrendered his position as
a Heisman Trophy favorite, Florida State senior flanker Peter
Warrick spent last Saturday afternoon on the sideline at the
Seminoles' Doak Campbell Stadium dressed in jeans and waving a
white towel. It didn't matter that Warrick was waving it to
exhort his teammates to a 31-21 defeat of Miami. The imagery was
unmistakable.

Through five games Warrick had caught four touchdown passes,
rushed for two scores, thrown a touchdown, returned a punt for a
touchdown and averaged nearly 15 yards every time he'd touched
the ball. Last week's events proved he can be stopped by a double
team. It's just that no one figured it would be Tommy Hilfiger
and Ralph Lauren. On Sept. 29, Warrick and the Seminoles'
third-leading receiver, Laveranues Coles, walked into the
Dillard's department store at Tallahassee Mall and paid $10.70
apiece to a willing sales clerk for a combined $412.38 of
Hilfiger and Polo clothes. The store's surveillance system
recorded the transaction, and the state attorney based in
Tallahassee chose to pursue the case as third-degree felony grand
theft. Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden threw Coles, who had had a
previous run-in with the law, off the team and suspended Warrick
indefinitely.

Though some Florida State fans failed to take the scam
seriously--a message printed on the window of a car headed for
the stadium on Saturday read FREE THE DILLARD'S 2--Bowden and
Seminoles athletic director Dave Hart acted quickly. They had
decided to suspend Warrick even before the police pressed felony
charges. At a team meeting last Thursday, Bowden told his
players, "This is what I've been warning you guys about. Anybody
that can give you something for nothing is no good. Something's
wrong. You can't accept it." He then turned his attention to the
receivers, some of whom had groused that too many of the
Seminoles' passes were aimed at Warrick. "Hey," Bowden said,
"it's a chance for another star to be born."

Saturday's game suggested that if Florida State could afford to
lose two starters at any position, it was at wide receiver.
Quarterback Chris Weinke threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns,
completing 23 passes to 11 players, seven of them wideouts.
"Everybody has been complaining about not getting his at bats,"
senior Ron Dugans said after he led the Seminoles with five
catches for 80 yards. "Now's the time. A lot of guys make plays
in practice. They just want to show the nation they can make them
in games."

Before the game Warrick, who won't be allowed to play until the
charge is dropped or lowered to a misdemeanor, stood before his
teammates and apologized. "Pete is a guy who doesn't show a lot
of emotion," Weinke said after the victory. "I know he felt as
low as he has ever felt. He knows he let the team down." As
Warrick stood before the team, freshman flanker Greg Moore spoke
up from the rear of the locker room. "We got your back, Pete," he
said. "We got your back."

Georgia Lament
THESE DAWGS CAN'T HUNT

It has been a long couple of weeks for Georgia coach Jim Donnan.
On Sept. 25, Pat Watson, his friend of more than 20 years and
the Dawgs' offensive line coach, died of a heart attack at age
56. A week later the Bulldogs struggled to their second straight
one-point victory, 23-22 over LSU, prompting questions in Athens
about just how good--or bad--Donnan's 10th-ranked Dawgs actually
were. The answer was clear after sixth-ranked Tennessee drubbed
Georgia 37-20 on a rain-soaked night in Knoxville last Saturday.

The loss was crushing for the Bulldogs, who for the third
consecutive year had entered the game undefeated. Since Donnan
became Georgia's coach four years ago, he has stressed the
importance of beating Tennessee and Florida if the Dawgs are to
ascend to the upper echelon of the SEC. Under Donnan, Georgia is
0-4 against the Volunteers and 1-2 against the Gators. Worse,
the defeats have been downright ugly: The Bulldogs have been
outscored 228 to 104. "I'm heartbroken," said Georgia
quarterback Quincy Carter after Saturday's game. "We wanted to
make believers out of everybody. Instead, we let ourselves and
our fans down."

Georgia's biggest obstacle against Tennessee was that the Vols
finally started to play as if they're capable of repeating as
national champions. For the first time since the season opener,
junior running back Jamal Lewis ran with pizzazz. Though he
gained only 79 yards on 22 carries, his fourth straight game
under 100 yards, he made decisive cuts and posed a big enough
threat to force the Dawgs to put nine men near the line of
scrimmage. Volunteers offensive coordinator Randy Sanders
responded by calling play-action passes--Tennessee's trademark
last season. Not coincidentally, quarterback Tee Martin threw
for 283 yards. "We weren't perfect, but we're getting there,"
said Sanders. "I feel a whole lot better now than I did a week
ago."

Donnan does not. --Lars Anderson

Revitalized Washington
THE HUSKIES OPT FOR THE OPTION

After Washington fell to 0-2 with a 31-21 loss to Air Force on
Sept. 18, Huskies coach Rick Neuheisel noticed that his team was
averaging just 112 yards on the ground. Neuheisel, known for his
pass-happy offenses, decided to take advantage of quarterback
Marques Tuiasosopo's mobility by running the option. The move
has paid dividends. The Huskies have averaged 238.3 yards
rushing while winning three games in a row, including a 47-21
victory over Oregon State last Saturday. --B.J. Schecter

Air Force's New Pilot
SMOOTH RIDE WITH THIESSEN

When Air Force starting quarterback Cale Bonds went down with a
sprained ankle early in the Falcons' 23-22 victory over San
Diego State on Oct. 2, coach Fisher DeBerry turned to backup
Mike Thiessen, a 6-foot, 195-pound junior who's no stranger to
center stage. A star shortstop on the Air Force baseball team,
Thiessen last spring led the WAC with a .424 average and
finished with a school-record 30-game hitting streak. Operating
out of the Falcons' wishbone against the Aztecs, he rushed for
138 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with
4:09 to go. Last week he guided Air Force (4-1) to a 19-14
victory over Navy, rushing for 108 yards and a touchdown.
--B.J.S.

Two Upsets That Got Away
THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN A KICK

Classic comedy routine: A woman spies a banana peel, steps
nimbly around it, smirks and steps into an open manhole.

Classic comedy routine updated: Coaches Carl Torbush of North
Carolina and Tommy Tuberville of Auburn, both of whose teams
were on the verge of upset victories last week, step around the
potential disaster of a blocked kick and lose anyway.

It's hard to say which defeat was more painful. The Tar Heels,
on the road against No. 7 Georgia Tech, led 24-21 with 1:14 to
play and had the ball fourth-and-goal at the two-yard line.
Torbush decided against kicking a field goal, reasoning that
either North Carolina would score a touchdown or leave the
Yellow Jackets in an impossible hole. "We thought they wouldn't
be able to drive 97 yards" is the way he put it after the game.
Given that Tech had no timeouts and that its quarterback, Joe
Hamilton, had thrown interceptions on his previous two passes,
Torbush's decision made sense. But when the Yellow Jackets held
on fourth down, Hamilton came onto the field energized. In six
plays, one of them a spike to stop the clock, he marched Tech 79
yards to the Tar Heels' 19. Luke Manget kicked a 36-yard field
goal to tie the game and deflate North Carolina. The Yellow
Jackets won 31-24 in overtime.

At Auburn the Tigers led unbeaten and No. 14 Mississippi State
16-3 with 4:06 to go when Tuberville turned down the chance to
attempt a 45-yard field goal and gave up the ball to the
Bulldogs on downs. "The only way I thought they could win the
damn game was if they blocked a kick," Tuberville said on
Monday. Mississippi State drove 67 yards for a touchdown. With
50 seconds to go, on Tuberville's orders, punter Damon Duval ran
out of the end zone rather than risk a blocked kick. The safety
narrowed Auburn's lead to 16-12. After Pig Prather returned the
free kick across midfield, Bulldogs quarterback Matt Wyatt drove
Mississippi State 47 yards in four plays, hitting Matt Butler
with an 11-yard touchdown pass for the win. "I tried to milk the
clock and got it to 19 seconds," Tuberville said. Bulldogs coach
Jackie Sherrill, leading 18-16, ordered Wyatt to take a knee on
the conversion attempt. He didn't want to risk a blocked kick
either.

Akron's Comeback Player
EATON IS ZIPS' MR. VERSATILITY

After Akron's Jon Eaton had to undergo four operations in August
1997 necessitated by a severely sprained left ankle and ended up
spending 32 days in the hospital, doctors said he would never
play football again. The pain in his foot was still so intense
after the final surgery that he withdrew from school for a
semester.

Still, Eaton, who had started at cornerback for the Zips in 1995
and '96, was determined to play again. After countless hours of
rehabilitation he made it back for spring practice in '98 and
lined up at quarterback. Four months later he was moved to
receiver, and he made 32 catches last fall, second most among
the Zips, for 413 yards and a touchdown.

This season as a senior the 6'2", 200-pound Eaton is the team's
punter, his fourth position in five years, and is back on
defense, as a free safety. He leads Akron (4-2) with 41 tackles
and has an interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble
recovery. Last Saturday he had a team-high 12 tackles in a 41-28
victory over Ohio. He also punted four times, averaging 48.0
yards per kick. "I had to learn to walk again before I could run
or even think of football," says Eaton. "I'm very lucky to be
playing again." --B.J.S.

Boston College's Meltdown
THE EAGLES FALL AT TEMPLE

When asked last week to reflect on Boston College's 4-0 start,
Eagles coach Tom O'Brien was quick to point out that BC won its
first three games last season and proceeded to lose seven of its
final eight. "We're not very talented. If we don't play as hard
as we possibly can, we won't win," he said. His words were
prophetic: The Eagles blew a 14-point lead against winless Temple
and lost 24-14. --B.J.S.

Extra Points
PRENTICE DROPS THE BALL!!!

Miami (Ohio) senior running back Travis Prentice's streak of
carries without losing a fumble ended at 862 when he coughed up
the ball in the second quarter of the RedHawks' 45-31 victory
over Bowling Green last Saturday. Prentice gained 4,138 yards
during the streak, which began on Nov. 2, 1996.... Rice
sophomore Derek Crabtree took over the placekicking for the Owls
12 games ago and has made all 28 extra points and all 11 field
goals he has attempted.... Last week wasn't a good one for
potential first-round draft choices who put off the NFL to
return for their senior seasons. In addition to Warrick's
problems, Indiana defensive end Adewale Ogunleye tore ligaments
in his left knee and is out for the year.

For complete scores and stats, plus more news from Ivan Maisel,
go to cnnsi.com/football/college.

COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO Miami's Santana Moss put up Warrick-like stats--nine receptions for 180 yards and two scores--but he didn't catch everything thrown his way.

Fast Forward

--USC (3-2) at Notre Dame (3-3)

This matchup--11 Heisman Trophy winners have played in this
series' 70 games--has produced some of the sport's memorable
moments: 55 points in less than 17 minutes (Southern Cal '74),
green jerseys (the Fighting Irish '77) and the $8 million extra
point (missed by Notre Dame in '96). USC has won three straight
after failing to win the previous 13 games. The Trojans' streak
figures to stop on Saturday. Their running game is an
embarrassment, and their passing game won't trouble the Irish,
who stopped more potent Oklahoma's air attack earlier this month.

--Syracuse (5-1, 2-0) at Virginia Tech (5-0, 1-0)

These teams have won or shared the last four Big East
championships, and the home team has won the last eight
meetings. The heir to former Orangeman Donovan McNabb as the
league's most dangerous running and passing quarterback is
Hokies freshman Michael Vick, a player the Orangemen coveted. In
his last two games Vick has completed 18 of 21 passes for 470
yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 108 yards and another
score. Looks like another home-team victory.

--Ohio State (4-2, 1-1) at Penn State (6-0, 2-0)

This Buckeyes team doesn't compare to Ohio State's previous four,
but the Nittany Lions will prepare as if it does. That means Joe
Paterno should get his 314th victory and tie Amos Alonzo Stagg
for third place on the alltime Division I-A list.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)