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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / WEEK 11

Battle of Bowdens Goes to Florida State in a Rout

Atlantic Coast: No. 4 Seminoles rack up 771 yards in a 54-7 dismantling of No. 10 Clemson.

November 05, 2000|From Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — They call it tough love, and Bobby Bowden doled out a bundle to his son Tommy on Saturday night.

Chris Weinke threw for 521 yards and No. 4 Florida State rolled to a 54-7 victory, turning Bowden Bowl II into a complete embarrassment for No. 10 Clemson and Coach Tommy Bowden.

"I felt bad, I really felt bad," Bobby Bowden said after improving to 2-0 in the father-son coaching matchup.

"But the only thing I could tell him is that I've been through it. I said, 'You're young. You ought to go through it.' I know exactly how he feels and there's not a thing you can say or do when something like this occurs."

The Seminoles, 9-1 overall and 7-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, improved to 37-0 in ACC games at home. They clinched the ACC title for the ninth consecutive year.

Clemson (8-2, 6-2) lost its second in a row after an 8-0 start, and will spend an off week soothing egos. The Seminoles finished with 771 yards, the most ever given up by Clemson, and drilled home just how far Tommy Bowden's rebuilding project has yet to go.

Somebody asked Tommy if he still loves his daddy after such a beating.

"Yeah," he said. "But not as much."

Last season Clemson led by 11 at halftime before falling, 17-14, to the Seminoles in Death Valley, where Bobby Bowden earned his 300th career victory.

"I didn't predict this," said Tommy's mother, Ann, who watched with mixed feelings from a luxury box, wearing a shirt with garnet and gold on one side and Clemson's burnt orange on the other.

"But Bobby felt like if we played as good as we could, it could end up like this."

Of course, winning is one thing, and pouring it on is another.

That's what Bobby Bowden seemed determined to do, as he left Weinke in to lead the Seminoles to their 47th point, then kept his starting defense in to prevent what would have been a consolation touchdown.

"Did we keep him in in the fourth quarter?" Bowden asked innocently about Weinke. "Yeah, that might have been too long."

When the starters finally came out, Clemson had basically quit anyway.

Florida State backup Davy Ford broke an 82-yard touchdown run that left Tommy Bowden in shock, kneeling on the sideline, head in hands as the Florida State crowd chanted, "Who's your daddy? Who's your daddy?"

It was a victory that should impress poll voters and keep Florida State in the race to defend its national title. The Seminoles will try to cap a seventh perfect ACC season next week against Wake Forest (1-7), before closing the regular season Nov. 18 against No. 6 Florida.

"They throw very talented, fresh bodies at you for 60 minutes," Tommy Bowden said. "We can eventually get to that level, but obviously, we have a ways to go."

And Bobby Bowden has only one piece of advice for his son.

"You've just got to recruit and keep recruiting," Bobby Bowden said. "That's the only thing you can do."

Florida State's excellence may have been defined by Weinke's 98-yard touchdown pass to Snoop Minnis in the first quarter.

"That's called a 'gym' play," Bowden said. "That means we don't work on it outside where someone might see it. We work on it in the gym. It worked, and we had a feeling it would."

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