Saturday, Nov. 4 7:30pm ET
Seminoles clinch ninth straight ACC title


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- 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.

Woodrow Dantzler
Slowed by a sore left ankle, Clemson QB Woodrow Dantzler was sacked four times and threw two interceptions against Florida State.

"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, 7-0) improved to 37-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference games at home, and clinched the ACC title for the ninth straight time.

Clemson (8-2, 6-2) lost its second straight after an 8-0 start, and will spend an off week soothing egos. The Seminoles finished with 771 yards, the most ever allowed 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."

Because there is very little to build on after a loss like that. It's unlike last season, when 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.

FSU 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 surely keep Florida State well 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.

Using a wonderful play-action fake in which he stood flat-footed in the end zone with his back to the line of scrimmage, Weinke turned suddenly and fired a laser downfield to Minnis, who had the fooled Clemson defensive backs beaten by 20 yards.

It was an easy sprint to the end zone from there, as Weinke and Minnis broke the record for Florida State's longest touchdown pass, set by Jimmy Jordan and Kurt Unglaub in 1976, Bobby Bowden's first season at FSU.

"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."

The touchdown gave Florida State a 10-0 lead. More telling -- it offered a textbook example of the way good teams respond to bad breaks, stealing the momentum Clemson had just gained when punter Jamie Somaini nailed a 74-yard kick to the Seminoles' 2.

Clemson had other chances to be competitive, but squandered most of them.

Trailing 10-7 in the first quarter, the Tigers used a good punt return to take over on Florida State's 18. After three plays netted minus-2 yards, Tommy Bowden called a fake field goal, but it fooled nobody.

Late in the first half, Jason Holloman recovered a fumble in Florida State territory. Clemson quarterback Woody Dantzler answered with an interception on the next play.

The Tigers opened the third quarter with a nice defensive stand, but Dantzler fumbled on the first play after the punt. Florida State drove 50 yards and Randy Golightly scored his second touchdown to put the Seminoles ahead 30-7.

"They're a good team, but we're are own worst enemy," Tommy Bowden said.

Dantzler played the first 2½ quarters despite the sore left ankle that has limited him the last two weeks. He finished 7-for-21 for 91 yards.

Weinke completed 27 of 43 passes and has 3,490 passing yards this season, breaking Thad Busby's single-season record.

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Clemson Clubhouse

Florida State Clubhouse

 Florida State's Davy Ford breaks one loose for an 82-yard touchdown run.
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 Florida State's Marvin Minnis scores on a 98-yard pass from Chris Weinke in the first quarter.
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 Jeff Chaney goes 42 yards on a screen pass from Chris Weinke.
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 Clemson's Travis Zachery rumbles into the endzone for a touchdown.
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 Marvin Minnis dodges several tacklers helping set up another Seminole score.
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 Atrews Bell makes a spectacular catch, leading to another Seminole touchdown.
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 ESPN's Adrian Karsten talks with Bobby and Tommy Bowden after their father-son meeting.
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 Chris Weinke tells ESPN's Adrian Karsten Florida State was looking to make a statement.
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