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December 3, 2005

ACC Championship Game Notebook

Bunkley gets the record

On the heels of being snubbed by the media by not making the ACC's first team defense, Brodrick Bunkley set a new FSU single season record in tackles for loss Saturday night. The Tampa native entered the game leading the nation for interior defensive linemen with 20.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Against Virginia Tech, the senior noseguard picked up 2.5 more giving him 23 on the season, which broke Darnell Dockett's all-time record of 22 in one season set in 2001.

Appropriately, his record-breaking tackle came when Virginia Tech was mounting a furious comeback midway into the fourth quarter. After scoring touchdowns on two straight series, and the Hokies facing a third and 15 on the 25-yard line, Bunkley busted through the line and sacked Marcus Vick forcing the punt.

"He's not bad for a second team all-ACC lineman," defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews joked. "We'll take as many as we can get like him. He's played great for us all year. It's hard to figure how anybody would not put him on the first team. He is a great football player. He's made himself some money this year."

For his career, Bunkley has (34) tackles for loss which moves him into fifth place all-time at FSU. He passed Corey Simon who finished his career with 33.

Weatherford bounces back

Over the first five games, Drew Weatherford threw 11 touchdowns and had only five interceptions. The freshman quarterback took a nosedive in the next six games connecting for only five touchdowns while throwing 13 interceptions. The player that came out of the gates strong early in the season returned Saturday night throwing for 225 yards, one touchdown, and zero interceptions.

His turnover free performance was the first time since the October 8th Wake Forest game that the Land O'Lakes native didn't throw at least one interception.

Weatherford's effort on Saturday gives him 2,950 passing yards on the season moving him past Chris Rix (2,734) into second place on the ACC freshman passing list. He still trails NC State's Philip Rivers, the record holder with 3,054, by 104 yards.

The luck of the Hokies

Notre Dame is supposed to be the team that gets all the luck of the Irish, but on Virginia Tech's first scoring drive, they got four huge breaks that allowed them to tie the score at 3-3.

(1) The Hokies should have been held to a three-and-out, but after Marcus Vick's third and nine pass was knocked down FSU was called for illegal participation giving the Coastal Division champs new life.

(2) On the very next play, running back Mike Imoh fumbled and Andre Fluellen had a clear shot at the football with nobody around him. However, Fluellen, who has a cast on his left arm, overran the ball just enough for it to slip out of his grasp. It was eventually recovered by the Hokies' Jeff King.

(3) Two plays later, with Virginia Tech facing a third and 10, wide receiver Justin Harper clearly ran out of bounds before reeling in a 35-yard catch and putting the Hokies in scoring position. There was no call on the play.

(4) After the Seminole defense finally stopped the Hokies on FSU's 28-yard line, Brandon Pace lined up for a 45-yard field goal attempt. The kick hooked to the left but managed to ricochet off the left upright and went through for the field goal.

Penn State-Florida State matchup likely for the Orange Bowl

After FSU's upset victory, officials from the Orange Bowl informed Florida State that they were selected to be one of the teams represented in the 2006 Orange Bowl. If all goes according to plan later today, the 'Noles and Bobby Bowden should be matched up with Penn State and Joe Paterno.

"I think right now if you look at a good matchup for us, that's an excellent matchup," Orange Bowl Chairman Football Bowl Association Keith Tribble told Warchant.com. "To put the two winningest coaches together, the fact that this may never happen again - they may never coach against each other - that's intriguing for us."

The only possible holdup is the Fiesta Bowl. With Texas headed to the BCS Championship game in the Rose Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl gets the first pick to replace the team they lost from the Big 12. In all likelihood, they will select Notre Dame and the next pick goes to the Orange Bowl, who has made it pretty clear that they want Penn State.

"It's unbelievable to have the number one and number two all-time coaches as a possibility," Tribble said. "This gives us an opportunity."

With the win against Virginia Tech, Bobby Bowden is up to 359 and Joe Paterno is on win No. 353.

Quote of the day

Brodrick Bunkley on what he told the team on Friday night to get them fired up for the game: "I did a little scene from Braveheart and told them 'we must fight and we must leave victorious.'"

Notable

* 546 press credentials were issued for the ACC Championship game

* The 'Noles scored a field goal on their first drive and with the win are now 8-0 on the season when scoring first.

* Bobby Bowden is now 14-0 all time against Virginia Tech (12-0 as FSU's head coach).

* Senior linebacker Marcello Church left the game in the first half with a broken fibula. It is very likely that his career at FSU will come to an end with that injury.

Defensive stats - highlights

TOTAL TACKLES:

B. Davis - 10
L. Timmons - 8 (2 sacks)
AJ Nicholson - 8
K. Hall - 7 (2 PBUs)
E. Sims - 7 (3 PBUs)
P Watkins - 6
J. Bryant - 6 (2 PBUs)
B. Bunkley - 4 (2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, FR)
R. Williams - 4 (2 FF)

Other sacks: Church (1), Moffett (0.5), Boston (0.5)

Interceptions: Pat Watkins

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