FedEx Orange Bowl


(3) Penn State 26

(11-1, 4-1 away)

(23) Florida St 23

(8-5, 6-2 home)

Coverage: ABC

8:00 PM ET, January 3, 2006

1 2 3 4 3OT T
#3PSU 7 7 0 2 1026
#23FSU 0 13 0 3 723

Top Performers

Passing: D. Weatherford (FSU) - 258 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: A. Scott (PSU) - 26 CAR, 110 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: E. Kilmer (PSU) - 6 REC, 79 YDS, 1 TD

All eyes focused on Bowden, JoePa in Orange Bowl

MIAMI (AP) -- It's not often the coaches on the sidelines get more attention than the players on the field.

Then again, it's not often Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno play each other.

Try as they might, the two winningest coaches in major college history can't hide from the hype. Even their players know where the attention will be when No. 3 Penn State and No. 22 Florida State meet Tuesday night in the FedEx Orange Bowl.

"For somebody to say it's not a big deal, I think they'd be lying," Florida State running back Lorenzo Booker said. "This is like a once-in-a-lifetime deal, and it's not going to happen for another century. We won't be alive, because you have to coach a long time to do what these guys have done.

"It's something you can tell your grandkids," Booker added. "That you actually played for the guy that won the most and played against the guy that was second on the list."

At 79 and 76, respectively, Paterno and Bowden are the patriarchs of the college coaching profession. Bowden has the most victories with 359, while Paterno is right behind at 353. They're both in their 40th year as head coaches, with Paterno spending all of his time at Penn State and Bowden in his 30th season in Tallahassee.

They've become good friends through the years, traveling together with their wives at coaching seminars in the offseason.

Despite all that, they rarely play each other. Only seven times in 40 years, and the last meeting was way back in 1990. Paterno, by the way, has won all but one of their meetings.

"I'm going to look across the sidelines and say 'That's JoePa,"' Seminoles running back Leon Washington said. "I'm just proud to be a part of it. I can tell my son or my daughter that I played in that game. I can tell my grandkids that I played against JoePa."

See, it's that kind of talk that makes Bowden and Paterno cringe. Ever since their Orange Bowl matchup was announced last month, the two coaches have been trying to deflect the attention from themselves. They realize their rare meeting is a point of interest, but they want the focus to be on the players.

Both teams have struggled lately, and winning this game would bring a measure of redemption for each.

"I don't look at it as something personal," Paterno said Monday. "All I wanted to do was make sure everyone knew that we have a good football team."

But that's part of what makes this matchup so special.

For decades, Paterno and Bowden's programs were among the best in college football. Bowden's team finished in the top five every year from 1987 to 2000, and he won two national titles during that run. Paterno's 1982 and 1986 teams were national champs, and four other squads were unbeaten. He had one losing season in his first 34 years of coaching.

The last few years have been tough for both teams, though, and winning this game would show an old coach hasn't lost his touch.

After Penn State's fourth losing season in five years, there was a growing chorus of fans and alums calling for Paterno to step aside. But the Nittany Lions rebounded with a 10-1 record, their best season in a decade, and earned a trip to their first marquee bowl since 1996.

"The thing about great teams is if you don't finish the story, it ain't going to be a story that's going to be remembered," cornerback and tri-captain Alan Zemaitis said. "We go out with a loss, it's going to feel like everything we did, in essence, was nothing. We brought a lot of stuff back. But for our seniors, for the young guys, we've got to go out with a win."

Though the Seminoles haven't had a losing season since 1976, Bowden's first at Florida State, they've lost 15 games in the last four years _ two more than they did in all of the 1990s. This year, they lost three straight for the first time since 1983, and were out of the Top 25 for the first time in four years.

But the Seminoles (8-4) closed the season with an upset of then-No. 5 Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship. Beating Penn State would make it two victories in a row over top-five teams, and three this season.

"People won't remember the small little losing streak that we had. They wouldn't think that the game we had against Virginia Tech was a fluke," receiver Willie Reid said. "I think it would put an exclamation point on the whole season and be a good way to start the new one."

For those that pay attention, that is. Most people just care about the coaches.

"I am Exhibit B, Joe is Exhibit A. That's all we are." Bowden said. "There's a game in there somewhere."


Passing Leaders

C. Hackenberg55.829771215
D. Crook66.75710
J. Winston65.339072518
S. Maguire51.033912

Rushing Leaders

A. Lynch1476784.64
B. Belton1255264.26
D. Cook17010085.98
K. Williams1506894.611

Receiving Leaders

D. Hamilton8289911.02
G. Lewis5575113.72
R. Greene99136513.87
N. O'Leary4861812.96