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Bowden perfect against Hokies

POSTED: November 11, 2007 5:04 a.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — It's a big week for major college football's winningest coach. Bobby Bowden observes his 78th birthday Thursday and two days later he seeks his 373rd career win and 300th at Florida State when the Seminoles visit No. 11 Virginia Tech.

"I'm kind of anxious to get back up there because it's a great place to play and will bring back a lot of memories," Bowden said.

Florida State (6-3, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won the last 12 in the series, including a 46-29 win in the 1999 national championship game in New Orleans. In their last meeting, Florida State defeated the Hokies 27-22 in the 2005 ACC championship game.

Bowden, who is three coaching wins ahead of Penn State's Joe Paterno, is 15-0 lifetime against the Hokies, (7-2, 4-1 ACC).

"There's some series, for some reason, it goes your way," said Bowden, who had three wins over Virginia Tech when he was head coach at West Virginia. "That's strictly a year-to-year thing."
Noting unranked Florida State's 27-17 win at then second-ranked Boston College last week, Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer is thinking he might've preferred catching the Seminoles earlier in the season.

"When you look at this Florida State crowd, I'd say we're getting them at the wrong time," Beamer said. "They were hitting on all cylinders the other night."

Beamer ranks third among active major college coaches with 205 wins, but none against Bowden.

ACC parity

In the two years the Atlantic Coast Conference has had a postseason championship, four different schools have made it to the title game.

And should Virginia win the Coastal Division and Boston College or Clemson take the Atlantic, the number would become six.

Although No. 8 Boston College (8-1, 5-1 ACC) holds a one-game lead in the Atlantic Division, Clemson can win the division outright with a win Saturday over defending league champion Wake Forest and another Nov. 17 over the Eagles. Both games are at Clemson.

The Coastal Division outcome could come down to the winner of the Virginia-Virginia Tech game, Nov. 24.

Florida State defeated Virginia Tech in the 2005 championship game while Wake Forest defeated Georgia Tech in last year's game. It's possible for Wake Forest to repeat in the Atlantic, but it would have to win out and BC lose twice.

With the schedule winding down, only Duke (1-8, 0-6 ACC) has no chance to become bowl eligible.


Clemson coach Tommy Bowden is a longtime admirer of Wake Forest's Jim Grobe.

When some complained about the Demon Deacon's blocking technique, Bowden tried to emulate it. "I got (film) cut ups and tried to coach like that," Bowden said. "I tried to get my guys to play like his."
Bowden remembers their 2003 game when Wake Forest led Clemson 35-0 on its way to a 45-17 victory and recalls that Grobe could've rung up more points.

"That's when I knew he was a Christian," Bowden says with a smile.

Bowden says Grobe brings a humble and professional approach to his program, which won an Atlantic Coast Conference title a season ago.

"I don't think they've been rated in the top 50 in recruiting in 50 years, and to do what he's done," Bowden said. "I know he's well respected."

Wake Forest (6-3, 4-2 ACC) is still alive to repeat as the Atlantic winner, but first needs a win Saturday and then some help since it has already lost to Boston College.

Saturday's game at Clemson (7-2, 4-2) marks the first time Wake Forest will play before a sellout crowd at Death Valley.

Go Seminoles?

A sign of the apocalypse, perhaps?

Miami enters the week in an awkward position. For the Hurricanes to have any chance of reaching the conference championship game, they need to win their final three regular-season games against Virginia, Virginia Tech and Boston College.

But that's not all.

Miami (5 -4, 2-3 ACC) also needs help from its vaunted archrival — Florida State.

The Seminoles play Virginia Tech this weekend, and a Florida State victory could help the Hurricanes down the road in some tiebreakers in the unlikely event that there's a multi-team tie for the Coastal Division title.

So yes, around the Hurricane camp this week, there's a definite sense of "Go Seminoles."

"It's bad that we have to do that," offensive lineman Derrick Morse said. "But that's the way it has to happen."

Rich's switch

Not often in Butch Davis' coaching career has a player flourished so quickly after moving from one side of the ball to the other.

That's happening now at North Carolina, where Richie Rich started the season in the mix at running back but switched to cornerback and made a key play that helped the Tar Heels seal their win against Maryland.

"A lot of times, you move a guy and a lot of times he just plays (as a) scout-team player, maybe he's a second- or third-team guy and maybe he gets to kind of grandfather himself in by springtime," Davis said.

But not Rich, who made three of his five career tackles against the Terrapins. With North Carolina protecting a three-point lead and Maryland driving, Rich's coverage on LaQuan Williams on a critical third-down play in Tar Heel territory forced an incompletion that led to a game-clinching stop on fourth down.

The Tar Heels (3-6, 2-3 ACC) visit N.C. State (4-5, 2-3) Saturday.

Walk (on) this way

A rash of injuries to Maryland's offensive line led coach Ralph Friedgen to take a chance on using walk-on Paul Pinegar, a redshirt freshman who participated in 39 plays over the past two games.

"Just because he's a walk-on, doesn't mean he's not good. I told our staff, 'We may have found an offensive lineman,"' Friedgen said. "The thing that Paul's dealing with right now is maturity. Not from an emotional standpoint, but from a physical standpoint."

The 6-foot-3, 277-pound Pinegar could start Saturday for Maryland (4-5, 1-4 ACC), against No. 8 Boston College (8-1, 5-1) in an 8 p.m. game to be shown by ABC.

"He's going to get more confidence, and as he gets bigger and stronger, he's going to turn into a pretty good football player," Friedgen said.

Cavalier kharma

Virginia defensive end Chris Long joked after Virginia held on to beat Wake Forest on a missed field goal by All-ACC kicker Sam Swank that the Cavaliers not only believed in kharma, but were doing things to keep it on their side.

"I think we've got guys that let people cross the street and help old ladies cross the street," he said with a laugh after Virginia's third one-point win in a row.

The Cavaliers (8-2, 5-1 ACC) visit Miami (5-4, 2-3) Saturday.

Toe boys
Six of the 20 finalists for the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top placekicker are from ACC schools. They are Connor Barth, North Carolina; Travis Bell, Georgia Tech; Gary Cismesia, Florida State, Jud Dunlevy, Virginia Tech, Steven Hauschka, North Carolina State and Wake Forest's Sam Swank.

Cismesia leads the league in scoring with 78 points and with 19 field goals while Hauschka has made 14 of 15 field goal tries and Barth 13 of 14. Bell is 18 of 21 on field goal attempts and perfect on 23 extra points.

Special Jackets
Georgia Tech is disappointed to be 5-4 overall and 2-4 in the ACC one year after playing in the conference championship game, but it can't blame its kicking game.

Durant Brooks' current career punting average of 45.27 is the best in conference history. Wake Forest's Ryan Plackemeier averaged 45.26 from 2002-05. Brooks is one of 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award given each year to the nation's best punter and Travis Bell is a semifinalist for the Lou Groza award.

The Yellow Jackets visit Duke (1-8, 0-6) Saturday.

Seminole streaks

Florida State quarterback Drew Weatherford has thrown 156 passes without an interception — his lone pick of the season coming Sept. 8 in a 34-24 win over UAB. And not to be left out, Seminole teammate Patrick Robinson has interceptions in five straight games, tying a Florida State record held by Terrell Buckley.



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