Fed Ex Orange Bowl
Dec. 22, 2005
FED EX ORANGE BOWL
In a matchup where pregame discussions revolve around the two opposing coaches, ACC Champion Florida State (8-4) will battle Big Ten Champion Penn State (10-1) in the Fed Ex Orange Bowl on January 3. It will be the first-ever BCS Bowl for the Nittany Lions, and the sixth in the past eight years for the Seminoles.
It will be the seventh all-time meeting between major college football's two winningest coaches in Joe Paterno and FSU's Bobby Bowden, who has 359 all-time wins to put him just six ahead of Paterno. Recently named the FWAA Coach of the Year, the Penn State legend holds a 6-1 advantage in contests against Bowden. Both coaches are completing their 40th seasons on the sidelines.
The Seminoles are the lowest ranked team in the BCS mix at No. 22, but earned their place in the BCS bowl by upsetting then-No. 5 Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship to earn the conference's automatic berth. Until the win over the Hokies, Florida State was on a three-game losing streak for the first time in 13 years. The reward for their victory was a date with No. 3 Penn State, who was a last-second Michigan touchdown away from being undefeated. The Nittany Lions took a share of the Big Ten Championship, but earned the conference's automatic berth with a regular season win over Ohio State.
Florida State Bowl Record: 22-12
Penn State on Offense...
Freshmen have been Robinson's favorite targets all season long, with wide receiver Deon Butler averaging over 18 yards per catch for a total of 678 yards to lead the team in receiving. Before he was injured, classmate Derrick Williams pulled in 22 catches for almost 300 yards and also rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns in seven games. While Williams missed the final four games of the regular season, he remains a possibility to return for the Orange Bowl. Another freshman, Justin King, accounted for 327 yards and three touchdowns this season.
Junior running back Tony Hunt, a second-team All-Big Ten selection has taken some of the pressure off his quarterback by contributing 1,047 yards on 174 carries this season to lead Penn State on the ground. Hunt also ran for six touchdowns and caught for 203 yards. Clearing the way for Hunt is Levi Brown, a second-team All-American tackle.
Florida State on Offense...
Weatherford's favorite targets are Chris Davis and second-team All-ACC wide out Greg Carr. The two have combined for 75 receptions and over 1,200 yards. Davis has five touchdowns to Carr's nine. The Seminoles also feature a tandem of running backs in Lorenzo Booker and Leon Washington. The duo has racked up 950 yards on the ground and seven rushing touchdowns.
Posluszny, a junior, is the most decorated Penn State linebacker since LaVar Arrington, and like Arrington has won the Butkus and Bednarik Awards after recording 111 tackles over the regular season. In front of him are linebackers Hali and first-team All-Big Ten selection Scott Paxson. In the backfield, Zemaitis and another All-Big Ten first team member, Calvin Lowry form one of the best defensive backfields in college football. Zemaitis has five interceptions on the year, with three coming against Michigan State. Lowry was third on the team in tackles with 73.
As a unit, the Nittany Lions allow less then 100 yards per game on the ground, and allow only 16 points per game. The Seminole front line will have its hands full trying to stop Penn State from getting to their quarterback. The Lions, led by Jay Alford's seven, had a total of 38 sacks during the regular season.
Florida State on Defense...
Along with Bunkley and Nicholson, defensive lineman Kamerion Wimbley, line backer Ernie Sims and defensive back Pat Watkins were honored with selections to All-ACC teams on defense. Wimbley was second on the team with 10.5 tackles for loss in 10 games and 17 quarterback hurries. Sims recorded 66 tackles, including nine for loss, and two interceptions, while teammate Watkins was tied for the team lead with three interceptions and added 67 tackles.
Keys to the Game...
Conversely, Robinson will have to continue to be the leader in his last game for Penn State and carry his young backs and receivers downfield. If Robinson can minimize his turnovers and pose a threat in the air and on the ground, as he has done all season, the Nittany Lion offense should be able to get past the tough Seminole defense. The offensive line of Penn State will need to hold off Bunkley and his line-mates and protect its quarterback.