Chris Weinke does more than throw touchdown passes for No. 2 Florida State - he runs, blocks and even knocks over opposing coaches.
Weinke threw two scoring passes and ran 21 yards to set up another touchdown as the Seminoles opened defense of their national title with a 29-3 victory over BYU on Saturday night in the Pigskin Classic.
On Weinke's first TD pass, a 19-yarder to Javon Walker just 2:47 into the season, the quarterback was pushed into BYU's LaVell Edwards on the sideline and the collision sent the 69-year-old coach sprawling. It might have been the hardest hit Weinke took all night at Alltel Stadium.
BYU was overmatched from the start, unable to keep up with Florida State's new set of speedy receivers featuring Marvin Minnis, Atrews Bell, Anquan Boldin and Walker. Peter Warrick? Who's he?
And the Seminoles' defense, anchored by end Jamal Reynolds, caused one safety, intercepted three passes and sacked BYU quarterbacks Bret Engemann and Charlie Peterson a total of five times. The Cougars had 79 yards in the first half minus-13 rushing.
The 28-year-old Weinke set career highs for attempts and completions, going 32-of-50 for 318 yards.
Weinke, who weighed 245 pounds last season, is now a slimmed-down 229, and after a 3-yard TD pass to Bell and a safety made it 15-0, he took off on the longest run of his career. Before the 21-yarder, his previous longest run was 8 yards.
He rolled left, saw running room and outlegged several BYU defenders before being chased out of bounds at the 6. On the next play, a double reverse, he threw the block that freed up Bell for the TD that put the Seminoles in control at 22-0 early in the second quarter.
BYU, making a rare isit to the East Coast, had little chance against the much faster Seminoles, who were last seen beating Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl for their second national title and first perfect season under coach Bobby Bowden.
Weinke now needs 389 yards to become Florida State's career passing leader, ahead of Gary Huff, who had 6,378 yards from 1970-72. Weinke, among the top Heisman Trophy contenders, has won 22 of 23 games he's started.
Florida State extended its winning streak to 13 games and has won 22 consecutive regular-season games.
One problem the Seminoles do have is their kicking game. Sebastian Janikowski, and his accurate leg, is gone and new kicker Matt Munyon, a redshirt freshman walk-on, missed field-goal attempts of 34- and 27 yards and an extra point.
Florida State, with a crowd of 54,260 looking on, scored on its opening drive, with Weinke's first completion of the season a 15-yarder to Minnis helping to set up the TD. Four plays later, the one in which he was shoved into Edwards, Weinke lofted his TD pass to Walker from about the 30. It dropped into the receiver's arms with three BYU defenders around him.
The Seminoles went ahead 13-0 with 3:01 left in the first quarter as Weinke went 5-of-6 for 46 yards in a 70-yard drive. The final completion was the 3-yarder to Bell.
Reynolds helped create the safety late in the first quarter. He slapped the ball out of Engemann's hands as he dropped back to pass and the ball bounced back 17 yards into the end zone. Florida State's Jerel Hudson nearly recovered the ball, which would have resulted in a TD for the Seminoles, and BYU's Ben Archibald fell on it for the safety.
Florida State extended the lead to 22-0 thanks to a 17-yard punt return by Anquan Boldin, yet another wide receiver. Weinke then hit passes of 9- and 10 yards to Boldin, ran 21 yards to the BYU 6, and then handed off to Davy Ford, who gave it to Bell, who followed his quarterback's block into the end zone.
Travis Minor ran 5 yards for a score with 1:11 left to close out the scoring.
While BYU still hopes to make Edwards' 29th and final season a winning one, no doubt the coach will not soon forget the hit he and his team took against Florida State.
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