Shayne Graham

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Posted by sonny 04/05/2009 @ 04:12

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News headlines
Kickers Have Feelings Too: 24 Questions for the Bengals Shayne Graham - Bleacher Report
However, over the last four seasons, there's only one player on the team that's gotten better as the Bengals have gotten worse, and that's the man I would spend 20 minutes with: the red-headed-righty, Mr. Shayne Graham. JB: Shayne let's start this off...
Season tickets offered -
Graham's future: Shayne Graham is tanned, rested and looks to be in the best shape of his nine-year NFL career. The only thing missing is a long-term contract for the Bengals. After signing his franchise tender on April 30, Graham reported to the...
Rebuilding the Bengals: The offense can only get better - USA Today
Special teams: Shayne Graham, whose 85.6% field-goal accuracy is fifth-best all-time in the NFL, was designated as the Bengals' franchise player in February. With the offense struggling, Kyle Larson was the busiest punter in the NFL last season (100...
Palmer likes what he sees -
BACK IN TOWN: After signing his franchise tender, Shayne Graham is back in town and has joined his teammates for offseason conditioning. "It's been good to be around the guys (this week)," Graham said. "I was down living in Florida, enjoying the...
Bengals Kicker Plays Host To Underprivileged Kids - WLWT
Tonight, Shayne Graham and the Cincinnatian Hotel will host a dinner for children from the FreestoreFoodbank's Kids Cafe program. The event is part of Graham's Good For 3 philanthropic program. Through Good For 3, Graham pledged to pay $300 to the Kids...
Rugby League, May 24 - Courier Mail
Referee: Shayne Hayne, Gerard Sutton. Crowd: 10923. CANBERRA 38 (J Croker 2 D Milne 2 T Campese T Thurling T Waddell tries T Campese 5 goals) d NZ WARRIORS 12 (S Mannering S Price tries D Kemp 2 goals) at Canberra Stadium....
Revamped Bengals take field -
It is also Huber's first look in the operation with the long-time duo of long snapper Brad St. Louis and kicker Shayne Graham. St. Louis has snapped for all of Graham's 154 field goals as a Bengal and Larson held for 132 of them....
Smith on right track? -
SLANTS AND SCREENS: Kicker Shayne Graham met the Cincinnati media Wednesday for the first time since the Bengals made him their franchise free-agent back in February and admitted he was "disappointed" that there wasn't a "serious" effort to reach a...
Newman launches major Council spending review - ABC Online
Opposition Leader Shayne Sutton says she supports efficiency measures but she is worried the new review will revisit some of the controversial suggestions made last time. "To outsource things like our Brisbane city libraries and our roads and drainage...
Amnesia Amnesia a metal band worth remembering - Belleville Intelligencer
The band was formed last June by drummer Jason Goettler, who connected with guitarists Graham Stone and Shayne Gosselin, lead singer Todd Barriage, and bass guitarist Jordan Salmon. This column is being typed with translations for the chronologically...

Shayne Graham

Michael Shayne Graham (born December 9, 1977 in Radford, Virginia) is an American football placekicker for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League. He was originally signed by the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent in 2001. He played college football at Virginia Tech.

Graham has also played for the Carolina Panthers.

Graham attended Pulaski County High School and was an avid soccer player as a kid. Graham has an older sister named Michelle.

He played college football at Virginia Tech and signed as a free agent with the New Orleans Saints in 2000, but was waived before the start of the regular season.

He spent the second half of the 2001 season with the Buffalo Bills, replacing erratic rookie Jake Arians after Arians had missed an extra point. The Bills released Graham at the end of the season, and Graham signed with the Carolina Panthers for the 2002 season, and in 2003, began his current stint with the Bengals. Ever since joining the Bengals, Graham has had an extremely successful career. In his first year with Cincinnati in 2003, Graham set a franchise record by making 88% (22 of 25) of his field goals. In the following season, Graham narrowly missed equalling his previous mark, finishing the year 27 of 31 (87.1%). In 2005, Graham made 28 of 32 field goals (87.5%), scored a franchise record 131 points, was selected to be the kicker for the AFC Pro Bowl squad, and helped the Bengals record their first winning season since 1990. Graham was the first kicker in franchise history ever to be selected to play in a pro bowl.

His high accuracy and reliability has garnered him the nickname, "Golden" Graham or "Sugar Foot".

Graham is known for his ability to eat massive quantities of food and is currently considered to be the undisputed eating champion of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Graham has joined two other Bengals kickers (Doug Pelfrey and Jim Breech) as Executive Board Members of Kicks For Kids. Kicks For Kids is a children's charity that was founded by former kicker Doug Pelfrey in 1995 and strives to provide opportunities to children at risk in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and Southeast Indiana.

Graham has also worked to gain sponsorship for a program that donated $200 for each of his field goals in 2004 to Cincinnati's FreeStore/FoodBank, and he extended that program to also cover field goals made by the Cincinnati Marshals indoor team. He built a partnership with the Westin Cincinnati to give deserving children a chance to eat with him at the hotel's gourmet restaurant. He donated proceeds from a local kicking clinic to the YMCA. He also has worked with the Cincinnati Veterans Administration Hospital, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the IHOP Read Across America.

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1998 Gator Bowl

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The 1998 Gator Bowl was a post-season American college football bowl game between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Tar Heels from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida on January 1, 1998. The game was the final contest of the 1997 NCAA Division I-A football season for both teams, the 53rd edition of the annual Gator Bowl game, and ended in a 42-3 victory for North Carolina.

Virginia Tech was selected to play in the 1998 Gator Bowl as a reward for a 7–4 regular season. Facing the unranked Hokies were the No. 7-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. The Heels had gone 10–1 during the regular season and were ranked seventh in the Associated Press poll heading into the game. North Carolina narrowly missed an at-large selection to a higher-prestige Bowl Alliance postseason game and was playing under new head coach Carl Torbush for the first time. Torbush had taken over for former head coach Mack Brown on December 8 after Brown announced that he was departing to take the position of head coach at Texas.

The game kicked off on January 1, 1998 at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. From the opening kickoff, North Carolina dominated every aspect of the game. In the first quarter, the Tar Heels scored 16 unanswered points, including a defensive touchdown. North Carolina added six points in the second and third quarters before Tech scored its first points of the game—a 40-yard field goal by kicker Shayne Graham. The Tar Heels rounded out the game by scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter. The Tar Heels set school records for largest bowl game margin of victory, most points scored in a bowl game, and most touchdown passes in a bowl game. The eventual 42–3 loss was Virginia Tech's largest bowl loss in school history.

Quarterbacks Chris Keldorf and Nick Sorensen were named the most valuable players of their respective teams, and each team saw multiple players selected in the 1998 NFL Draft, which followed the game.

During the 1997 college football season, the Gator Bowl selection committee held contracts with both the Big East and Atlantic Coast Conferences. In exchange for guaranteeing to pay a total of $3.2 million to the participating teams, the committee held the right to the second pick of bowl-eligible teams from each conference. Each conference's champion was awarded an automatic spot in a Bowl Alliance game, and it was expected that the Gator Bowl would select each conference's second-place team unless other circumstances arose.

Prior to the final week of the regular season, it appeared that circumstances might indeed throw that plan into confusion. North Carolina, the ACC's second-place team, had risen to No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 7 in the Associated Press college football poll, and was considered to be a candidate for an at-large Bowl Alliance selection. If North Carolina was selected for a higher-tier bowl game, the door would be opened for Notre Dame to play in the 1998 Gator Bowl—a circumstance provided for if neither the first nor second-place ACC team was available to play. In the end, however, ACC runner-up North Carolina was bypassed by Bowl Alliance officials, leaving the team available for the Gator Bowl. Facing the Tar Heels were the Virginia Tech Hokies, second-place finishers in the Big East Conference. Gator Bowl officials considered inviting Big East third-place West Virginia due to its reputation for bringing large numbers of fans to bowl games, but decided against inviting the Mountaineers out of recognition that North Carolina and West Virginia played each other in the 1997 Gator Bowl.

The North Carolina Tar Heels began the 1997 college football season having gone 10–2 in 1996, a year that ended with a 20–13 win over West Virginia in the 1997 Gator Bowl. Hopes were high for the Tar Heels heading into the 1997 season, with some writers and fans picking North Carolina to have a chance to compete for the national championship. The Tar Heels bore out those hopes in the first game of the season, beating Big Ten opponent Indiana, 23–6.

North Carolina rose to No. 7 in the national college football polls, and the victory over Indiana was followed the next week by a 28–17 win over No. 17 Stanford University. The two season-opening wins were followed by six more in succession. The Tar Heels beat Maryland, 40–14, on September 20, and Virginia on September 27 by a score of 48–20. Prior to the win against Virginia, North Carolina rose from No. 7 to No. 5 in the polls, and remained at that level after the win. Texas Christian University fell 31–10 to the Tar Heels on October 4, and Wake Forest lost to North Carolina, 30–12, on October 11. After a week of inactivity, in which the Tar Heels rose to No. 4, North Carolina defeated in-state rival NC State by a score of 20–7, and after another week and a half, the Tar Heels beat Georgia Tech narrowly, 16–13, in a Thursday night game.

In their ninth game of the season, the Tar Heels lost to No. 2 Florida State, 20–3. The loss was the sole losing effort for the Tar Heels in the 1997 season, and came at the hands of the eventual Atlantic Coast champion Seminoles. During the game, the Tar Heels also lost their then-starting quarterback, Oscar Davenport, to a broken ankle. North Carolina recovered from the loss to win its final two games: 17–10 against Clemson, and 50–14 over Duke. Despite having only one loss, the Tar Heels were denied a chance to participate in a Bowl Alliance game and instead accepted a bid to the 1998 Gator Bowl.

The Virginia Tech Hokies began the 1997 college football season having gone 10–2 the previous season, ending with a 41–21 loss to Nebraska in the 1996 Orange Bowl. The Hokies began the new season with hopes of repeating the success that saw the team reach consecutive Bowl Alliance games in the previous two seasons, but the loss of much of the starting lineup that led the Hokies in those years left some people's skeptical about Tech's chance to reach a third Bowl Alliance game.

In the Hokies' first three games of the season, however, they answered their critics with wins. A season-opening 59–19 win against Rutgers was followed by a 31–3 win over Syracuse and a 23–13 triumph against Temple. A 50–0 shutout win against Arkansas State University saw the Hokies elevated to the No. 14 position in the national college football polls. This, however, was followed by a 24–17 loss to Miami of Ohio that dropped the Hokies to No. 23. Tech rose again to No. 19 with a victory against Boston College. At No. 21 West Virginia, however, the Hokies lost, 30–17.

The loss returned Tech to No. 23 in the polls. A recovery to No. 19 followed victories over the University of Alabama-Birmingham and the University of Miami. In the final two games of the season, however, The Hokies lost to Pittsburgh, 30–23, and Virginia, 34–20. The dual losses dropped Tech out of the polls for the first time since the opening week of the season, and the Hokies prepared for the Gator Bowl after recording a 7–4 regular-season record.

Pregame media coverage of the contest focused on North Carolina's rejection by the Bowl Alliance, the Tar Heels' new coach, and questions about whether a lightly regarded and unranked Virginia Tech team could compete with a top-five North Carolina squad. This latter fact was reflected in the game's point spread. On December 9, shortly after the matchup was announced, spread bettors favored North Carolina to win by 12 points. Several sports commentators, including Lou Holtz and Craig James, said North Carolina deserved a more prestigious bowl game due to its high ranking. "The Alliance has not served its purpose," Holtz said in an interview. "It's politics as usual." The game was the 27th meeting between the two teams, continuing a matchup that first started in 1895. Despite that early beginning, the two teams hadn't played each other since 1946.

Tickets to the game sold quickly at first, but trailed off as the game approached. Virginia Tech sold 5,000 tickets in the first three days after the Hokies were selected, but one week later, Tech managed to increase that total to just 8,300. In an effort to spur sales at the school, Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver asked fans to buy tickets even if they did not plan on attending the game. The tickets could then be donated to charity. As an incentive for Gator Bowl officials to select Virginia Tech, the school agreed to sell 18,000 tickets—more than the minimum 11,500 North Carolina agreed to sell. When a shortfall resulted in Tech selling just 11,000 tickets, the school was forced to purchase the remaining 7,000, costing Virginia Tech $245,000. At North Carolina, tickets sales were even slower, with about 6,000 having been sold through the school two weeks after the matchup was announced. The Gator Bowl ticket office sold approximately 22,000 tickets directly to fans in the same timeframe, and Gator Bowl officials predicted a crowd of between 50,000 and 55,000 people at the game.

Reduced ticket sales were a concern for Gator Bowl officials, who eyed an expiring television contract with NBC following the game. If attendance and viewership of the game's broadcast were low, it could have a negative effect on negotiations for future contracts with NBC or its rival, CBS.

Following the conclusion of the regular season and prior to North Carolina's acceptance of the invitation to play in the Gator Bowl, Tar Heels head coach Mack Brown received an offer from the Texas Longhorns to become that school's head coach. A day and a half after Texas extended the offer, Brown resigned his position as North Carolina's head coach and accepted the Texas job. He replaced John Mackovic, who was fired three days earlier after finishing the season with a 4–7 record.

Immediately after Brown's resignation, the question of his replacement and who would coach the team during the Gator Bowl arose. Brown offered to stay on to coach the team through the bowl game, but the proposal was met with hostility from some North Carolina players who felt betrayed by the coach's resignation. School administrators' first choice to replace Brown was then-Georgia head coach Jim Donnan, who previously characterized the North Carolina head coaching position as his "dream job." Donnan rejected the administrators' offer, however, saying that he had a commitment to his then-current players.

Following Donnan's rejection of the North Carolina offer, several Tarheel players approached North Carolina athletics director Dick Baddour, demanding that he hire Brown's defensive coordinator, Carl Torbush, as the team's new head coach. Torbush and UNC offensive coordinator Greg Davis were considered the two likeliest remaining candidates, but after Davis indicated his intention to follow Brown to Texas, UNC administrators acquiesced to the players' demand and named Torbush as North Carolina's new head football coach.

On the same day Mack Brown announced his acceptance of the Texas head coaching position, seven North Carolina football players allegedly assaulted a North Carolina student, severely injuring him. All seven were charged with offenses ranging from misdemeanor assault to simple assault. Among the players charged were defensive leader and All-American linebacker Kivuusama Mays and two other starters on North Carolina's defense. At the time, UNC policy dictated the immediate suspension of any player charged with a felony, and punishment for lesser charges to be decided on a case-by-case basis. After investigating the incident, North Carolina school officials cleared six of the seven accused players to participate in the Gator Bowl with judicial charges still pending. The seventh accused player, backup defensive tackle Ricco McCain, was suspended indefinitely from the team while legal action proceeded.

The North Carolina coaching staff and administration was criticized for allowing the accused players to participate in the game, with at least one critic saying the school only did so in order to better its chances to win the game. Following the game, three of the players—Varian Ballard, Greg Harris and Ricco McCain—were found guilty of simple assault. Two others were found not guilty and charges were dismissed against another. The seventh player, Kivuusama Mays, pled no contest to the charge.

On the field, North Carolina's offense was led by quarterback Chris Keldorf. Keldorf was plagued by injuries during his college career, but still managed to set a North Carolina single-game passing record when he threw for 415 yards against Texas Christian University. He replaced original starting quarterback Chris Carpenter, who broke his ankle midway through the regular season. Keldorf finished the season having completed 104 of 181 passes for 1,448 yards, 12 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. With Keldorf and Carpenter splitting command during the regular season, North Carolina averaged 27.8 points and 379 yards per game.

The favorite passing target for Keldorf and Carpenter was wide receiver Na Brown, who set a school record by catching 55 passes during the regular season. Overall, North Carolina's offense averaged 262 passing yards per game during the season.

On the ground, North Carolina's rushing game was led by running back Johnathan Linton, who finished the season with 1,004 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was the 24th player in North Carolina history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season and against Georgia Tech became the first Tar Heel in school history to rush for more than 100 yards and have more than 100 yards receiving in the same game. In a practice just before the game, however, Linton strained a ligament in his right knee, putting his presence at the game in doubt. Linton's backup was Mike Geter, who played in one game during the season and had just 120 rushes for 530 yards and two touchdowns in his career prior to the Gator Bowl. North Carolina fullback Deon Dyer, who rushed 25 times for 90 yards during the regular season, was not expected to play in the Gator Bowl due to a fractured fibula suffered in the Tar Heels' 10th game of the season.

During the regular season, the Hokies averaged 29.3 points per game and scored at least 21 points in 22 consecutive games—a streak dating to the 1995 season. Virginia Tech's offense was led on the field by quarterback Al Clark, who passed for 1,476 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also ran for 344 yards during the regular season. At the beginning of December, however, Clark underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in order to repair damaged cartilage in the joint. Due to the long recovery time involved with the surgery, it was questioned if he would play in the Gator Bowl or if he would be able to play at full strength. Four days prior to the game, Clark's presence at the game was put even more in doubt when he caught the flu and developed a 102-degree fever. Clark's backup, redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Sorensen, completed 11 of his 21 pass attempts during the season for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

Also injured was Virginia Tech wide receiver Ricky Scales. Scales didn't play for 10 weeks during the regular season because of surgery to an injured tendon. Despite playing in only four games during the season, he finished the regular season as the Hokies' No. 5 receiver, catching 13 passes for 298 yards. Scales' injury caused the Hokies to be ranked among the worst in the Big East in receiving yardage, averaging less than 180 yards per game through the air. As the game moved closer, however, Scales recovered from his injury and appeared near full strength.

Virginia Tech's rushing offense, led by running back Ken Oxendine, led the Big East in rushing yards, averaging 215.3 yards per game. Oxendine entered the Gator Bowl as the No. 5 rusher in Virginia Tech history to that point, and accumulated 904 rushing yards and 13 receptions during his final season as a Hokie. Oxendine was supported by fullback Marcus Parker, who ran for 363 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season. Parker also found success in the passing game, becoming Tech's leading receiver for the season by catching 20 passes for 212 yards. He was the first Virginia Tech runner since 1969 to lead the team in receptions. Backing up Oxendine was running back Lamont Pegues, a transfer student from Clemson who accumulated 85 carries for 391 yards and five touchdowns. All three players were assisted by Virginia Tech's offensive line, which was led by Gennaro DiNapoli. DiNapoli was named to the All-ACC team, but was predicted to face a tough task in stopping North Carolina's top-ranked defense.

North Carolina's defense was among the best in the country during the regular season, finishing the year ranked second in total defense (209.3 yards per game) and fifth in scoring defense (13 points per game). The Tar Heels also were ranked second in the country in terms of rushing yards, allowing an average of 77.9 rushing yards per game during the regular season. Those statistics were due to the performance of three consensus first-team All-America defenders: defensive end Greg Ellis, linebacker Brian Simmons and cornerback Dré Bly. Ellis had 87 tackles during the season (18 for loss) to lead the team in both categories. Another defender, linebacker Kivuusama Mays, was a third-team All-American. Simmons in particular felt confident enough to guarantee prior to the game that the Tar Heels would win if they held Virginia Tech to 20 points or less. No team had scored more than that total since the 1995 season.

Other North Carolina defensive players also performed well during the season. Defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday was named a first-team All-ACC selection after earning 64 tackles—13 for loss. Fellow defensive tackle Russell Davis finished just behind Holliday in total tackles with 60.

The Tar Heels faced a setback on defense when first-team All-ACC defensive back Robert Williams was involved in a car accident that injured his face, neck, and shoulder. Despite requiring more than 20 stitches, however, Williams recovered from his injuries to play in the game.

The Hokies' defense, which appeared strong in the first games of the season, faltered in later games, allowing 129 points in its final five games. During the entire season, the Hokies allowed only 185 points. One of the stars of the Virginia Tech defense was defensive tackle Nat Williams, who had a team-best 8.5 tackles for loss amid 52 total tackles. Linebacker Steve Tate was the team's leader in tackles, recording 104. Former walk-on defensive tackle Kerwin Hairston was fifth on the team in tackles (69) and tied for third in sacks (3.5) and quarterback hurries (eight). Starting linebacker Cory Bird was predicted to miss the game due to a knee injury.

Virginia Tech's special teams squad was more highly regarded than its defense. Overall, Virginia Tech was 14th nationally in net punting and 37th in kickoff returns. Punter Jimmy Kibble was the No. 10 player in the country at his position, averaging 45.1 yards per kick during the regular season. Because of Virginia Tech's success at blocking kicks—the Hokies blocked seven during the season—North Carolina made a special effort to prepare for Virginia Tech's kick blockers on special teams. Virginia Tech placekicker Shayne Graham set Big East single-season records for field goals made (19) and points scored by kicking (92) during the season. He was 35 of 36 on extra points and 19 for 23 on field goals, but caught the flu prior to the Gator Bowl.

The 53rd edition of the annual Gator Bowl game kicked off on January 1, 1998. An estimated 54,116 fans were in attendance at the game, which was held in Jacksonville's Alltel Stadium, since renamed Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. The game was televised on NBC, and an estimated 5.1 million Americans watched the broadcast, giving the game a television rating of 3.7, 12th highest of the 21 bowl games that season. Charlie Jones, Bob Trumpy, John Dockery were the sportscasters of the broadcast. During the week prior to the game, the weather had been cold and rainy, with temperatures in the mid-40s and more than two inches of rain. At kickoff, the weather was clear, with temperatures near 55 degrees. North Carolina won the ceremonial pre-game coin toss to determine first possession and elected to play defense to begin the game.

The game's opening kickoff was returned to the Virginia Tech 22-yard line, and the Hokies ran the first play of the game—a pass from quarterback Al Clark to fullback Marcus Parker. The play went for nine yards, but the Hokies needed two runs by running back Ken Oxendine to pick up the remaining yard and the first down. From the Tech 32-yard line, the Hokies earned one yard on two plays before Clark completed a seven-yard pass to wide receiver Angelo Harrison. Still short of the first down, the Hokies were forced to punt. The ball rolled out of bounds at the North Carolina 19-yard line, and with 12:16 remaining in the first quarter, North Carolina prepared for its first possession of the game.

On the Tar Heels' first play of the game, running back Jonathan Linton ran up the middle for a three-yard gain. After the gain, Carolina quarterback Chris Keldorf completed a 31-yard pass to tight end Alge Crumpler for a first down at the Virginia Tech 47-yard line. Now inside Virginia Tech territory, Linton ran for a five-yard gain, which was followed by a pass from Keldorf to Linton, who gained 26 yards on the play. Following the catch, North Carolina had a first down at the Virginia Tech 16-yard line. Linton left the field limping slightly, and backup running Mike Geter replaced him, then ran for four yards up the middle. Geter was stopped for no gain on the next play, and a third down pass by Keldorf fell incomplete. North Carolina kicker Josh McGee entered the game to attempt a 29-yard field goal, which was good. With 9:15 remaining in the quarter, North Carolina took a 3–0 lead.

North Carolina's post-score kickoff was returned to the Virginia Tech 25-yard line, and the Hokies prepared for their second possession of the game. Parker was stopped for no gain on a run attempt, and another attempt on the next play was stopped for a loss of a yard. Facing third down, Clark attempted to scramble for the first down, but was stopped after a gain of six yards. Having gone three and out, the Hokies punted again. The kick was downed at the 36-yard line, and North Carolina's offense returned for its second possession of the game. On the first play of the drive, Linton gained two yards on a run up the middle of the field. On the next play, Keldorf completed a 62-yard pass to Octavus Barnes, who had broken free of the Virginia Tech defense. Barnes sprinted into the end zone for a touchdown, and after the extra point kick, North Carolina led 10–0 with 6:07 remaining in the quarter.

Following the kickoff by North Carolina and a short return, Virginia Tech took over at its 26-yard line. On Tech's first play, Clark completed a seven-yard pass to Williams. Running back Lamont Pegues then was stopped for a one-yard loss, and Clark's third-down pass attempt fell incomplete. After again going three and out, Tech punted. The kick was returned to the North Carolina 14-yard line, and the Tar Heels began their third possession of the game. The first play of the drive was a pass from Keldorf to Crumpler, who gained 10 yards and a first down. From the Tar Heels' 24-yard line, Linton gained one yard on a short run, then Keldorf threw a 30-yard pass to wide receiver Na Brown. The play gave the Tar Heels a first down at the Tech 44-yard line, and Linton gained four yards with a running play on first down. Two incomplete passes later, North Carolina punted for the first time in the game. The ball rolled into the end zone for a touchback, and the Hokies' offense started at the 20-yard line with 2:49 left in the quarter.

A one-yard rush was followed by a pass to running back Ken Oxendine that lost three yards. Following the negative-yardage play, North Carolina committed a five-yard penalty that gave the Hokies a third down and seven. Despite the extra yardage provided by the penalty, Clark's pass attempt on third down was incomplete and the Hokies again prepared to punt. During the kick, however, North Carolina defender Quinton Savage broke through the Virginia Tech offensive line and blocked the punt by Jimmy Kibble. Tar Heels' defender Dre Bly picked up the loose ball and ran into the end zone for North Carolina's second touchdown of the game. Following the play, North Carolina was penalized 15 yards for excessive celebration and the resulting 35-yard extra point kick was no good. Despite the missed kick, North Carolina extended its lead to 16–0 with 1:03 remaining in the first quarter.

Virginia Tech's kick returner slipped during the subsequent kickoff, and the Hokies' offense started at its 13-yard line. Oxendine gained three yards on the first play of the drive, then Clark was sacked for a nine-yard loss. The sack was the final play of the first quarter, and North Carolina had a 16–0 lead with three quarters still to be played.

The second quarter began with Virginia Tech in possession of the ball and facing a long third down after a quarterback sack on the final play of the first quarter. On the first play of the quarter, Tech quarterback Al Clark was sacked by Brian Simmons, and this time he fumbled the ball. The loose ball was picked up in the end zone by Carolina defender Greg Ellis for the Tar Heels' third touchdown of the game. Because North Carolina missed its extra-point kick following its previous touchdown, Tar Heels' head coach Carl Torbush ordered the team to attempt a two-point conversion in order to gain the missed extra point from the previous play. A pass attempt by Keldorf fell incomplete, but with just seven seconds elapsed in the second quarter, North Carolina led 22–0.

The Tar Heels' kickoff was returned to the Hokies' 24-yard line. Clark scrambled for one yard, then completed a five-yard pass. Facing third down and four, Clark scrambled for a first down at the Tech 38-yard line. Following the first down, Parker gained two yards on a running play. Clark then completed a 10-yard pass to Parker, and the Hokies were aided by a 15-yard personal foul facemask penalty against North Carolina during the play. Following the pass and penalty, Tech entered North Carolina territory for the first time and had a first down at the Tar Heels' 35-yard line. On the first play inside Carolina territory, Clark completed a 35-yard pass to Parker for an apparent touchdown, but the play was negated by a 15-yard penalty against Virginia Tech. From the 50-yard line, Pegues ran for four yards and Clark threw two incomplete passes, forcing a punt. The kick was downed at the Carolina 10-yard line, and the Tar Heels' offense took over with 10:40 remaining before halftime.

Linton ran for nine yards, then picked up a first down with a five-yard gain on second down. Keldorf completed a 12-yard pass to Barnes for a first down, Linton ran seven yards to the Carolina 43-yard line, then gained another first down with a run to the 50-yard line. From midfield, Keldorf attempted a deep pass on first down, but the ball fell incomplete. On second down, Keldorf completed a four-yard pass to Linton but was sacked on third down by the Virginia Tech defense. The sack forced Carolina to punt for the second time in the game, and the ball rolled out of bounds at the Virginia Tech 11-yard line.

From that point, Pegues rushed for 13 yards on the first play of the drive, giving the Hokies a first down at their 24-yard line. Two more rushes by Pegues gained seven yards, then North Carolina committed a five-yard offsides penalty, giving the Hokies a first down at the 36-yard line. Clark threw an incomplete pass, Pegues was tackled for no gain on a running play, then Tech committed a five-yard delay of game penalty. On third down, Clark was sacked for a loss, and Tech punted. The kick was partially blocked, allowing North Carolina to return the ball to the 45-yard line of Virginia Tech. The Tar Heels thus began a drive inside Virginia Tech territory with 3:33 remaining in the first half.

The first play of the drive was a six-yard run by Linton, and it was followed by an incomplete pass from Keldorf to Crumpler. Crumpler made up for the missed pass on the next play, when he caught a short pass for a first down from Keldorf. Now at the Hokies' 31, Linton ran straight ahead for a two-yard gain. Linton's run was followed by two incomplete passes by Keldorf, but rather than punt, the Tar Heels attempted to try to convert the fourth down. The fourth-down pass fell incomplete, and the Tar Heels turned the ball over on downs at the Tech 30-yard line. Clark completed a six-yard pass to Parker, then threw an incomplete pass downfield with less than a minute remaining on the clock. On third down, Clark completed a nine-yard pass to Michael Stuewe for a first down. A first-down pass attempt was batted down by the North Carolina defense, but on second down, Clark completed a pass to Stuewe for a first down at the Tar Heels 40-yard line. After a deep pass went incomplete, Clark was sacked and fumbled the ball for the second time in the first half. The loose ball was picked up by Vonnie Holliday with 13 seconds remaining, and the Tar Heels' offense returned to the field. North Carolina tried a deep pass in an attempt to get into scoring position before the end of the half, but Keldorf was sacked and the Tar Heels kneeled on the football to end the half with a 22–0 lead.

Because Virginia Tech began the first half in possession of the football, North Carolina received the ball to begin the second half. The Hokies' kickoff was returned to the 39-yard line, Virginia Tech committed a 15-yard personal foul penalty, and North Carolina began the first possession of the second half at the Virginia Tech 46-yard line. The first play of the half was a short run by Linton, and after two incomplete passes by Keldorf, the Tar Heels prepared to punt. Rather than kick, however, North Carolina faked a punt and had punter Brian Schmitz pass the ball to linebacker Brian Simmons, who normally played defense. Simmons gained 28 yards and a first down on the play, which allowed the Tar Heels to continue their drive. Now at the Hokies' 13-yard line, North Carolina committed a five-yard delay of game penalty. On the next play, Linton made up the lost yardage, gaining six yards and advancing the ball to the Tech 12-yard line. The running play was followed by a pass from Keldorf to Linton for an eight-yard gain. Needing one yard to gain a first down, North Carolina was stopped on third down then attempted to convert the fourth down rather than kick a field goal. Keldorf ran the ball straight ahead and gained the needed yardage, gaining a first down at the three-yard line. Two plays later, Linton ran across the goal line and into the end zone for the Tar Heels' first touchdown of the second half. The extra point kick was partially blocked by the Virginia Tech defense and was no good, but the Tar Heels still extended their lead to 28–0 with 9:43 remaining in the quarter.

Virginia Tech returned North Carolina's kickoff to their 22-yard line, and the Hokies began their first drive of the second half. Quarterbacking the Hokies was backup quarterback Nick Sorensen, who replaced starter Al Clark. On the drive's first play, running back Ken Oxendine broke free of the North Carolina defense for a 36-yard gain and a first down at the North Carolina 42-yard line. Sorensen scrambled for a two-yard gain, then completed a pass to wide receiver Shawn Scales at the 27-yard line for another first down. A run by Marcus Parker gained one yard, Sorensen was tackled for a two-yard loss, then threw an incomplete pass. Facing fourth down and needing 11 yards, Tech coach Frank Beamer attempted to convert the fourth down rather than punt, and Sorensen scrambled for a first down at the 16-yard line. From there, Oxendine was stopped for a loss of five yards, Sorensen was sacked for a seven-yard loss, and Sorensen completed a short pass to Parker. Beamer elected not to attempt to convert another fourth down and instead sent kicker Shayne Graham into the game to attempt a 40-yard field goal. The kick was good, and with 4:37 remaining in the quarter, Tech cut North Carolina's lead to 28–3.

The Hokie kickoff rolled into the end zone for a touchback, and North Carolina started its second drive of the half from its 20-yard line. The first play of the drive was a three-yard run, and it was followed by a six-yard pass from Keldorf to Linton. Needing a single yard for a first down, the Tar Heels rushed straight ahead and gained two yards and the first down at the 31-yard line. North Carolina continued to move the ball efficiently: Linton gained two yards on a rushing play, then Keldorf threw a short pass to Linton that gained 37 yards after Linton broke free of the Virginia Tech defense. The play resulted in a first down at the Virginia Tech 31-yard line. There, however, Keldorf was sacked for a three-yard loss. After the sack, Keldorf completed a 21-yard pass to Crumpler for a first down at the 13-yard line. Keldorf then attempted to scramble for a gain, but was stopped for no gain. That play was the final one of the quarter, which ended with North Carolina still in possession of a firm lead, 28–3.

The fourth quarter began with North Carolina in possession of the ball and facing a second down and 11 on the Tech 14-yard line. On the first play of the quarter, Keldorf completed a 14-yard pass to Barnes for a touchdown. The extra point was good, and the Tar Heels extended their lead to 35–3 with 14:55 remaining in the game. North Carolina's kickoff was returned to the Tech 34-yard line, and the Hokies' offense began the first full drive of the fourth quarter. Tech's first play of the drive was a trick reverse to Scales, who gained 29 yards and a first down on the trick play. After an incomplete pass by Sorensen from the Carolina 37-yard line, Pegues rushed for four yards, then the Hokies were stopped for no gain on third down. Tech attempted to convert the fourth down, but Sorensen's pass fell incomplete and Virginia Tech turned the ball over on downs with 12:39 remaining.

Following the turnover, the Tar Heels had a first down at their 32-yard line. Linton was stopped for no gain on a rushing play, passed for no gain, then completed a nine-yard pass to Brown. Failing to gain the first down, the Tar Heels punted and the ball was returned to the 30-yard line. Oxendine gained two yards on a rush up the right side, then Sorensen ran for one yard on the left side of the field. On third down, Sorensen scrambled for a first down before fumbling the football. The loose ball was picked up by Tech lineman Derek Smith, and the Hokies' drive continued. After a rush for no gain, another running play resulted in a Tech fumble, their second of the drive. Unlike the previous fumble, however, this one was recovered by North Carolina's Russell Davis, and the Tar Heels offense was put into position for another scoring attempt.

After the turnover, North Carolina had a first down at the Tech 34-yard line. Keldorf threw an eight-yard pass to Crumpler, North Carolina was stopped for a one-yard loss on a running play, then the Tar Heels earned a first down with a four-yard run by Geter. On first down, Keldorf threw an incomplete pass. Second down resulted in a 15-yard gain and a first down on a run by Geter along the left side of the field. Now at the Tech eight-yard line, Geter ran straight ahead for a five-yard gain. Geter was stopped for a two-yard loss on the next play, but North Carolina recovered from the loss with a five-yard pass from Keldorf to Carrick for a touchdown. The extra point kick was blocked, but a penalty against Virginia Tech allowed Carolina kicker Josh McGee another chance at the extra point. The second attempt was successful, and the kick gave the Tar Heels a 42–3 lead with 5:01 remaining in the game.

The Hokies returned North Carolina's kickoff to the Tech 35-yard line, and the Hokies began their final possession of the game. Sorensen completed a four-yard pass, then ran for 19 yards and a first down at the North Carolina 42-yard line. A shovel pass by Sorensen gained three yards, but he lost three yards on the next play and was sacked for a six-yard loss on third down. A fourth-down pass was batted down by the Carolina defense, and the Tar Heels' offense returned to the field with 2:41 remaining in the game.

Backup quarterback Kevin Carty came onto the field for the Tar Heels, and handed the ball to Dominique Williams, who ran the ball twice for one yard. On third down, he broke free of the Virginia Tech defense and gained 20 yards and a first down at the Tech 33-yard line. Two more rushes gained three yards and ran the remaining time off the game clock. Time expired, and North Carolina won the 1998 Gator Bowl, 42–3.

In recognition of their performances during the game, North Carolina quarterback Chris Keldorf was named the most valuable player of the winning team, and Virginia Tech backup quarterback Nick Sorensen was named the most valuable player of the losing team. Keldorf finished the game having completed 12 of his 28 pass attempts for 290 yards. On the opposite side of the ball, Sorensen completed four of eight passes for 24 yards and carried the ball 10 times on the ground for a total of 19 yards. Al Clark, the quarterback whom Sorensen replaced, finished the game having completed nine of 17 pass attempts for 66 yards.

North Carolina's receivers benefited from Keldorf's passing proficiency. Octavus Barnes caught three passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns, while Alge Crumpler caught five passes for 77 yards. Virginia Tech's leading receiver was Parker, who caught four passes for just 32 yards. On the ground, North Carolina's Linton carried the ball 20 times for 68 yards and a touchdown. He also was the game's second-leading receiver in terms of yardage, catching six passes for 81 yards. The Tar Heels' Geter was second on the team in rushing, accumulating 25 yards on seven carries. For Virginia Tech, running back Ken Oxendine led all Hokie rushers with 39 yards on 10 carries.

Barnes' 62-yard touchdown reception from Keldorf was the sixth-longest scoring play in Gator Bowl history at the time of the game.

Virginia Tech's loss dropped it to a final 1997 record of 7–5, while North Carolina's win raised it to a final record of 11–1. The Tar Heels also rose in the final college football polls of the season, finishing in fourth place in the Coaches' Poll and sixth in the Associated Press media poll. Virginia Tech's defeat was its worst loss since a 45–0 shutout by Tulane in 1983. Jacksonville businesses and hotels benefited from the influx of out-of-town guests. At least 25,000 fans arrived from outside of the Jacksonville area, injecting an estimated $30 million extra into the city's economy. Many fans praised the stadium, facilities, and attractions available for visitors. NBC's television coverage of the game was not given as high marks, however, and at least one commentator called the broadcast "sloppy" and "routine".

Though they were concerned by low attendance at the game, Gator Bowl officials were able to renegotiate a sponsorship agreement with Toyota Motor Company after the game's previous contract expired following the game. The game's television contract with NBC was not renewed, and bowl officials signed a new contract with CBS instead.

Though North Carolina head coach Carl Torbush was confirmed in his position prior to the Gator Bowl, several assistant coaching positions were not filled at the school until after the game. On January 11, Torbush hired then-Texas A&M running backs coach Ken Rucker to fill the new position of special-teams coach. To fill Torbush's former job as offensive coordinator, he hired Texas A&M offensive coordinator Steve Marshall, who filled the position until 1999.

In the weeks following the game, several players from each team announced their intentions to enter the 1998 NFL Draft. North Carolina defender Dre Bly was among a handful of eligible players (the National Football League requires a player to be at least three years out of high school) who declined to enter the draft, instead choosing to return to school for another year. North Carolina had seven players taken in the draft, three of whom were selected in the first round: Greg Ellis was taken with the eighth pick, Brian Simmons with the 17th pick, and Vonnie Holliday with the 19th pick. The four remaining selections were Omar Brown (103rd overall), Kivuusama Mays (110th), Robert Williams (128th), and Jonathan Linton (131st). Virginia Tech had no players taken in the first round during the 1998 draft, but four players were taken in later rounds: Todd Washington (104th overall), Gennaro DiNapoli (109th), Ken Oxendine (201st), and Marcus Parker (202nd).

Bold denotes BCS National Championship Game.

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Big East Conference football awards

Donovan McNabb is the only player to win the award three times.

The Big East Conference gives five football awards at the conclusion of every season. The awards for first given in 1991 following the conference's first football season. The five awards include Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Special Teams Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year. The recipients are selected by the votes of the conference's eight head coaches.

The award recipients having included Heisman Trophy winners, NFL first-round draft picks, and NFL All-Star selections. The Miami Hurricanes have been the most successful team through the school's tenure with the conference from 1991 to 2004, winning six awards for offensive players, seven for defense, four for special teams, three for Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year six times. Every current and past conference member has been represented at least once. Temple's Dan Klecko won the defensive award in 2002, and Connecticut's Donald Brown won the offensive award in 2008. They are the only two schools without multiple recipients.

Donovan McNabb of Syracuse is the only player to win three times, as Offensive Player of the Year in 1996, 1997, and 1998. Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech and Dennis Erickson of Miami each are three-time Coach of the Year.

The Offensive Player of the Year is awarded to the player voted most-outstanding at an offensive position. The first two awards were given to quarterback Gino Torretta of the University of Miami. In 1992, Torretta was a unanimous selection, the only player to receive that distinction as of 2009. There have been three ties, in 1996, 2001, and 2002, and a three-way tie in 2001. Besides Torretta, quarterbacks Ken Dorsey of Miami and Pat White of West Virginia have both been awarded twice; Dorsey's awards in 2001 and 2002 were both ties. Donovan McNabb was selected three times and became the second overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. Miami has received the most awards, six before leaving the conference in 2004. Of the current members, only Cincinnati and South Florida, who both joined in 2005, have no offensive winners.

Of the 23 winners, 14 have been quarterbacks, while five have been running backs, three wide receivers, and one tight end. Eight seniors have been awarded, six juniors, eight sophomores, and Michael Vick the only freshman. Larry Fitzgerald, the 2003 winner, set seven Big East and two NCAA records. His Big East records included single-season receiving yards (1,595) and single-season TD catches (22).

The Defensive Player of the Year award has been given 20 times, with ties in 1991 and 2001. Of the 20 winners, 12 have been defensive lineman. Five linebackers and three safeties have also been awarded. 13 of the recipients have been seniors, six juniors, and George Selvie the only sophomore.

The first award in 1991 was a tie between Darrin Smith, a Miami linebacker, and George Rooks, defensive lineman from Syracuse. Miami then won three consecutive awards between 1992 and 1994. Corey Moore is the only player to have won the award twice, in 1998 and 1999.

Like Offensive Player of the Year, Miami has won the most defensive awards as well with seven. Syracuse and Virginia Tech have each won three. Temple, a member from 1991 to 2004, won its only conference award with Dan Klecko in 2002. Pittsburgh took the longest of the original 1991 members to win, first winning with H.B. Blades in 2006. Pittsburgh won again with another linebacker, Scott McKillop, in 2008.

The Special Teams Player of the Year award is given to the player voted best on special teams. The recipient can either be a kicker, punter, returner, or a position known as a gunner. The first winner was Kevin Williams, a returner from Miami. Andy Lee, a Pittsburgh punter, is the only player to receive the award more than once, having done so in 2002 and 2003.

There have been 20 recipients with ties in 2002 and 2003. Ten of the players have been seniors, seven juniors, and three sophomores. Three placekickers have won the award, mostly recently Virginia Tech's Shayne Graham in 1999. Todd Sauerbrun was the first punter to win when he was awarded as a unanimous selection in 1994. National Football League Pro Bowler Marvin Harrison won as a Syracuse returner in 1995.

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2006 Cincinnati Bengals season

The 2006 Cincinnati Bengals season began with the team trying to improve on their 11-5 record in 2005, defending their AFC North Division Championship title, and progress further through the playoffs than they made in the 2005 season having lost to Pittsburgh in the 1st round after losing star quarterback Carson Palmer to injury on the second play of the game.

Jan 10 Signed S Tony Bua from the practice squad. Feb 1 Signed WR P.K. Sam (Free Agent from New England Patriots). Feb 7 Signed QB Doug Johnson (Free Agent from Tennessee Titans). Feb 13 Signed LB Rashad Jeanty (Free Agent from CFL team Edmonton Eskimos). Mar 10 Terminated contract of DE Duane Clemons. Mar 13 Signed S Dexter Jackson (Unrestricted Free Agent from Tampa Bay Buccaneers). Mar 21 Signed WR Antonio Chatman (Unrestricted Free Agent from Green Bay Packers). Mar 31 Terminated the contract of S Kim Herring. Apr 3 Signed DT Sam Adams (Unrestricted Free Agent from Buffalo Bills). Apr 21 Signed QB Anthony Wright (Unrestricted Free Agent from Baltimore Ravens).

Exceeding expectations Carson Palmer was able to play on his reconstructed ligaments in only 8 months.

Carson's fame was boosted by a favorable interview with Sports Illustrated documenting his recovery progress.

There was a minor controversy when it appeared that Marvin Lewis wanted Carson to play in the preseason earlier than Carson said. The controversy was dismissed by Lewis as miscommunication and sensationalism by the media.

The entire Marvin Lewis staff returns in 2006 intact.

The lawsuit introduced by a city council member charging the Bengals' organization with making the deal in bad faith was dropped.

The Bengals opened the regular season on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs on September 10. The Chiefs scored first on a 29-yard field goal by opposing kicker Lawrence Tynes. However, in the second quarter, the Bengals exploded with 17-straight points. Kicker Shayne Graham tied the game up with a 37-yard field goal, then RB Rudi Johnson ran 22 yards for a touchdown, and RB Kenny Watson ran 8 yards for a TD, making the score 17-3 at halftime. After both sides failed to score in the third quarter, a third quarter marked by Trent Green getting tackled so hard that he did not remember it (and subsequently resulted in his removal from the game), Bengals kicker Shayne Graham made the score 20-3 with a 42-yard field goal. Afterwards, the Chiefs tried to come back with a 9-yard TD pass from opposing back-up QB Damon Huard to opposing TE Tony Gonzalez. Fortunately, a 36-yard field goal by Graham would put the game away in favor of the Bengals.

The Bengals began Round 1 of 2006's Battle of Ohio in the Week 2 home-opener against the Cleveland Browns. Cincinnati started off with QB Carson Palmer throwing a 22-yard TD pass to WR Kelley Washington. The Browns would respond with a 30-yard FG by opposing Kicker Phil Dawson. Fortunately, the Bengals would further their lead with Palmer throwing an 8-yard TD pass to WR Chad Johnson. In the second quarter, Kicker Shayne Graham kicked a 37-yard field goal as time ran out in the half to give Cincinnati a 17-3 halftime lead. There wouldn't be any scoring in the third quarter, but in the fourth, points were flying everywhere. Graham would give the Bengals a 37-yard field goal, but then, the Browns responded with a 1-yard TD run by opposing RB Reuben Droughns. Fortunately, two TD runs by RB Rudi Johnson (a 1-yarder and a 9-yarder) helped put the game out of reach. The Browns would get one more touchdown with opposing QB Charlie Frye scoring on a 2-yard run, but the game belonged to the Bengals.

There were several injuries to Bengal players in starting positions. David Pollack, a 2nd year linebacker, suffered a non-paralysis broken neck (fracture of the C6 vertabrae) and was out for the rest of the season, and potentially for his career. Offseason free agent veteran acquisition, Dexter Jackson, had a severe ankle sprain and the amount of time he would be lost was not clear. Long time Bengal center, Rich Braham also suffered a leg injury and was expected to be out for some weeks. Popular receiving star, Chad Johnson had a few incidents that appeared to hamper him. On his 8-yard touchdown pass his shoulder was injured (noticeable by his unenthusiastic post-score celebratory dance) and, even though he continued to play, appeared to be in pain. Later in the game, during an intercepted pass by the Browns, he was blindsided hit by Brown's safety causing a concussion. A special team starter, Tab Perry, was also injured (hip) and appears to be out for a few games.

The loss of so many starting players and possible unavailability of other key players is a concern for the upcoming game at Pittsburgh.

The Bengals maintained their shared lead in the AFC North (3-0, 2-0) by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-20 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The game was marred by sloppy play by both teams, however Cincinnati benefitted greatly by creating 5 Steeler turnovers and blocking a Jeff Reed field goal attempt.

Pittsburgh appeared to be well on their way to a win, with Willie Parker scoring a touchdown on their first drive of the game. Following a Deshea Townsendinterception of Carson Palmer, the Steelers again drove into the redzone, however a Ben Roethlisberger pass was intercepted by Madieu Williams in the end zone and returned to the three-yard line.

The change in momentum was evident as the Bengals marched 97 yards capped by a 16 yard touchdown pass from Palmer to Chris Henry. Following a blocked field goal by John Thornton, Palmer and Henry would reconnect in the endzone late in the second quarter giving Cincinnati a 14-7 lead at the half.

In the third quarter Pittsburgh took back the momentum, scoring a field goal on their first drive followed by an Ike Taylor interception of Palmer on the Bengals' first drive of the half, setting up the Steelers on the Bengals' 7. Parker scored 4 plays later giving the Steelers a 17-14 lead.

After the touchdown, neither offense could get on track with the next seven drives ending in either punts or turnovers. With 8 minutes left in the game, the Bengals were forced to punt. A muffed return by Ricardo Colclough and subsequent recovery by the Bengals' Tony Stewart gave the Bengals the ball on the Steelers' 9. Palmer connect with T. J. Houshmandzadeh on the first play from scrimmage giving the Bengals a 21-17 lead. The Bengal defense responded by forcing a fumble on the next Steeler drive, giving the offense the ball on the Steeler 30-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Palmer again went to Houshmandzadeh in the end zone, connecting for a 30 yard touchdown and extending the lead to 28-17. The Steeler offense returned on the next possession, driving to the Bengals' 18 and adding another Jeff Reed field goal. After forcing a Bengal 3-and-out, the Steelers received the ball on their own 11 with 2:42 to play in the game. Roethlisberger was able to drive the Steelers down to the Bengals' 16 yard line, however the game effectively ended when a pass intended for Nate Washington in the end zone was intercepted by Kevin Kaesviharn.

The Bengals showed maturity and patience in an important win against the Steelers. However, the Bengals allowed 6 sacks, gave up 3 turnovers and were unable to involve either of the "Johnsons" as a significant part of the offense. The Bengals looked to improve in week 4 at home against the Patriots.

Odell Thurman was arrested for a DUI with teammates Chris Henry and Reggie McNeal in the vehicle. Odell had just entered the 3rd game of a 4 game suspension for violating the NFL's drug policy. The NFL suspended him for the remainder of the season.

The Bengals quarterback protection issues seemed to continue as Palmer was sacked an additional four times during this game. This is a major change to last year's success in that area where Palmer was sacked only 21 times for the entire year. Already, this year, he's been sacked 16 times. For the offense and defense the running game proved problematic. Rudi Johnson failed to gain 50 yards on the ground while the Patriots' running backs, former Bengal Corey Dillon and rookie RB Laurence Maroney, combined for 192 rushing yards. Even Patriots QB Tom Brady uncharacteristically got into the act with a 22-yard scamper, even though he's usually considered a run-shy player. Caleb Miller started in the right linebacker position and lead the Bengals in tackles during this game.

The passing offense for the Bengals appeared largely unsuccessful. Although WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh gained 94 yards, his starting counterpart, WR Chad Johnson, did not gain more than 70. WR Chris Henry was deactivated for the game for what is believed to be a disciplinary measure by Head Coach Marvin Lewis for his involvement in Odell Thurman's DUI incident.

This was the 1st game that Corey Dillon played at Paul Brown Stadium as a non-Bengal during a regular season game. His controversial behavior in his latter years with the Bengals made him a target for anger for many Bengals' fans. According to post-game reports, Dillon waved the rookie running back off the field when the Patriots were close to scoring a touchdown so Dillon could run it in himself. When he did he threw the football into the stands and proceeded to celebrate with such length and production, he drew a flag for a personal foul from the referees. Typically an NFL ball that made it to stands is considered a rare souvenir, but because of Dillon's reputation within the Bengals' fan base, the ball was rejected by the fans and tossed back onto the field instead.

The Cincinnati Bengals fell to second place in the AFC North (3-1) after a disappointing loss to the New England Patriots 38-13. Going into the bye-week, there is an expectation of the extra weekend will give some injured Bengals the time they need to return and play. Historically speaking, Lewis has done a great job with the 1st game after a bye having won the majority of those games but as coach for the Bengals his record to this point was 1-2.

The NFL determined Chris Henry would be suspended for the next 2 NFL games due to his involvement with the DUI incident involving Odell Thurman.

Hoping to rebound from their home loss to the Patriots, the Bengals flew to Raymond James Stadium for a Week 6 fight with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After a scoreless first quarter, Cincinnati took an early lead, as QB Carson Palmer completed a 33-yard TD pass to WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh for the only score of the half. In the third quarter, the Bucs would tie the game, as QB Bruce Gradkowski completed a 2-yard TD pass to TE Alex Smith, but the Bengals would regain the lead as kicker Shayne Graham kicked a 37-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, Graham would help Cincinnati increase the lead with a 47-yard field goal. During the last drive for the Buccaneers, on 1st down after penetrating the Bengals' 20 yard line close to scoring, DE Justin Smith apparently made the first sack of Gradkowski for the game during a solo tackle, however, the officiating crew felt Smith tackled the QB in such a way as to have driven the QB's head into the ground and penalized the Bengals for roughing the passer. The call is currently being reviewed by the league but a public statement will probably never be made by the NFL officiating committee if the call was errant or not (the NFL later reviewed the play and sent a letter of apology to the Bengals for the bad call). During the apparent sack, Smith caused a fumble which was recovered by the Bengals, with less than 2 minutes left on the clock and the Bucs with no time outs. When the play was overturned due to the controversial call, Tampa Bay managed to win on an 8-yard TD pass from Gradkowski to WR Michael Clayton later in the drive. Originally, it was ruled incomplete, but replay reviews managed to see that Clayton managed to break the plane of the goal line before losing the ball. With less than 1:30 minutes left in the game the Bengals drove from their 30 to the Bucs' side of the field and tried an extremely long 62-yard field goal against the prevailing winds and missed. With the loss, Cincinnati hold a 3-2 record. Lewis' win/loss ratio after the bye with the Bengals fell to 1-3.

Other comments Justin Smith said "I've never seen anything like that in my six years in the NFL." The official who made the call "must have season tickets down here." He further explained ""The dude (QB) ducked", suggesting it wasn't the force of Smith tackling but the QB's effort to double-over and protect the ball that made it appear he was being forced into the ground head first.

Hoping to rebound from their embarrassing loss to the Bucs, the Bengals went home for a showdown with the Carolina Panthers. In the first quarter, things didn't start out good for Cincinnati as Panthers QB Jake Delhomme completed a 7-yard TD pass to TE Kris Mangum for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, the Bengals managed to get on the board with QB Carson Palmer completing a 16-yard TD pass to TE Reggie Kelly. However, Carolina would respond with Delhomme completing a 20-yard TD pass to RB Nick Goings. Fortunately, in the second half of the game, it was all Cincinnati, with kicker Shayne Graham nailing a 23-yard field goal in the third quarter and Palmer completing a 1-yard TD pass to WR T. J. Houshmandzadeh. The drive which led to Housh's (a nickname used by local radio commentators for Houshmandzadeh) was kept alive by an uncharacteristically risky play. On 4th and 1 instead of the expected, and typically successful quarterback push in the middle or a short-yardage dive play involving a running back, the Bengals ran a "play action pass". Carson tossed a high arching pass down the sideline where a sprinting Chad Johnson caught up to it and made a tumbling catch just out of the reach of the defender for a 32-yard gain. The Panthers' last scoring opportunity was thwarted by Delhomme's first interception ever thrown as a Panther when in the opponent's 20 yard line. Kevin Kaesviharn made the interception to end the threat, much like the pass he intercepted during the Steeler's game earlier this year. This game saw the return of 3rd down running back specialist Chris Perry and safety Dexter Jackson. With the victory, the Bengals improved to 4-2, tying the Ravens for the lead in the AFC North.

There has been some speculation that the Panthers game may prove to be a pivotal moment in the Bengals' season. Specifically a focus on the daring 4th and 1 play that went for 32 yards. The somewhat downtrodden Bengals' offense is expected to have gained some confidence after their showing.

During this time period the Bengals' held a work out for former Bengal Peter Warrick. This appears to be in response to their thinning receiving corps.

After being relatively silent for most of the season Chad Johnson spoke out boastfully before the Atlanta game predicting he would score multiple touchdowns and damage the defensive back rival, DeAngelo Hall, into being cut from Atlanta's team. Chad stated he was using this opportunity for the offense to regain some of its confidence and swagger.

Following their victory against the Panthers, the Bengals stayed at home for a throwdown with the visiting Atlanta Falcons. In the first quarter, the Falcons drew first blood, as kicker Morten Andersen nailed a 42-yard field goal. The Bengals would respond with a 1-yard TD run by RB Rudi Johnson. Yet, Atlanta drew closer with Andersen kicking a 40-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Cincinnati added on to their lead with QB Carson Palmer completing a 12-yard TD pass to WR Chad Johnson. However, the Falcons would respond with QB Michael Vick completing a 16-yard TD pass to TE Alge Crumpler. Fortunately, the Bengals had kicker Shayne Graham nail a 51-yard field goal near the end of the half. In the third quarter, the Falcons started to get some steam with Vick completing a 26-yard TD pass to WR Michael Jenkins. Graham would kick a 26-yard field goal for Cincinnati's only score of the period, yet Vick managed to hook up with FB Justin Griffith, which was followed up with a bobbled snap on the PAT and a failed two-point conversion). In the fourth quarter, Andersen helped the Falcons get a 39-yard field goal and a semi-hefty lead over Cincinnati. The Bengals would respond with Palmer completing a 55-yard TD pass to WR Chris Henry. However, on their last drive, any chance for Cincinnati to pull off a comeback ended in a fumble, as the Falcons held on to win, while making the Bengals fall to 4-3.What happened during practice is Chad Johnson, on the back of his name label, it says Ocho Cinco instead of C. Johnson.Soon, Carson Palmer ripped it off to reveal C.Johnson.

Hoping to rebound from their home loss to the Falcons, the Bengals flew to M&T Bank Stadium for an AFC North fight with the Baltimore Ravens. From the get-go, the Bengals trailed, as RB Jamal Lewis got a 2-yard TD run, while QB Carson Palmer got intercepted by CB Samari Rolle at Cincinnati's 49-yard line. Rolle would go 24 yards, before lateraling the ball off to Free Safety Ed Reed, who ran the remaining 25 yards for a touchdown. In the second quarter, kicker Matt Stover got a 43-yard field goal for the Ravens. The Bengals would finally get a touchdown, as Palmer completed a 26-yard TD pass to WR T. J. Houshmandzadeh. In the third quarter, Stover got two more field goals for Baltimore (a 25-yarder and a 36-yarder), while Cincinnati kicker Shayne Graham nailed a 51-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, the Bengals started to claw back with RB Rudi Johnson getting a 4-yard TD run. However, Stover got another field goal, which was from 35 yards out. Even though Graham would get a 31-yard field goal, the Ravens emerged as the victor, while the Bengals fell to 4-4.

Hoping to snap their two-game skid, the Bengals went home for a Week 10 match-up of former AFL West rivals with the San Diego Chargers. The Bengals started off strong with FB Jeremi Johnson getting a 3-yard TD run. Afterwards, RB Rudi Johnson got a 7-yard TD run and QB Carson Palmer completed a 51-yard TD to WR Chad Johnson. In the second quarter, the Chargers managed to get on the board with RB LaDainian Tomlinson getting a 9-yard TD run. Cincinnati would respond with Palmer completing a 7-yard TD pass to WR Chris Henry. For the second half, the points came in huge chunks. In the third quarter, San Diego responded with Tomlinson getting a 4-yard TD run, while QB Philip Rivers completed a 46-yard TD pass to WR Malcom Floyd. The Bengals would respond with kicker Shayne Graham getting a 21-yard field goal. The Chargers would strike with Rivers completing a 9-yard TD pass to TE Brandon Manumaleuna. The Bengals would answer with Palmer completing a 73-yard TD pass to Chad Johnson. In the fourth quarter, the points didn't stop coming in, as San Diego responded with Tomlinson getting a 2-yard TD run and a 9-yard TD run. Cincinnati would get a 44-yard field goal from Graham, but the Chargers wrapped up this high scoring contest with Rivers and Manumaleuna hooking up with each other again on a 5-yard TD pass. With the loss, the Bengals fell to 4-5.

Hoping to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, the Bengals traveled to the Louisiana Superdome for a Week 11 fight with the New Orleans Saints. In the first quarter, the Bengals drew first blood as QB Carson Palmer completed a 41-yard TD pass to WR Chad Johnson. However, the Saints would reply with QB Drew Brees completing a 72-yard TD strike to WR Joe Horn. In the second quarter, Cincinnati took the lead before halftime as kicker Shayne Graham nailed a 21-yard field goal. After a scoreless third quarter, New Orleans tried to come back in the fourth quarter, as kicker John Carney nailed a 24-yard field goal. Fortunately, the Bengals offense went into overdrive as Palmer and Johnson connected with each other two more times with a 60-yard TD pass and a 4-yard TD pass. Then, the defense helped out as rookie DB Ethan Kilmer returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown. The Saints could managed only one more touchdown, as Brees completed a 27-yard TD pass to WR Terrance Copper (with a missed PAT), but the Bengals managed to snap a three-game skid and improve to 5-5.

Coming off of their impressive road win over the Saints, the Bengals flew to Cleveland Browns Stadium for Round 2 of the Battle of Ohio against the Cleveland Browns. From beginning to end, Cincinnati dominated the game. In the first quarter, the domination began with RB Rudi Johnson getting a 1-yard TD run for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, QB Carson Palmer completed a 7-yard TD pass to WR Chris Henry, while kicker Shayne Graham completed a 24-yard field goal. In the third quarter, Palmer would hook up with WR T. J. Houshmandzadeh on a 6-yard TD pass (with a failed PAT) for the only score of the period. In the fourth quarter, Palmer and Henry would hook up one more time on a 10-yard TD pass. With their second-straight sweep over Cleveland, the Bengals improved to 6-5.

Coming off of their dominate road win over the Browns, the Bengals went home for a Thursday Night fight in an AFC North rematch against the Baltimore Ravens. After a scoreless first quarter, kicker Shayne Graham helped the Bengals draw first blood with a 23-yard and a 27-yard field goal. In the third quarter, things went even better as QB Carson Palmer completed a 40-yard TD pass to WR T. J. Houshmandzadeh on a flea flicker for the only score of the period. In the fourth quarter, the Ravens had a late comeback as QB Steve McNair completed a 36-yard TD pass to WR Derrick Mason, but fortunately, the Bengals squashed any chance of Baltimore's comeback by succeeding on the onside kick. With the win, the Bengals improved to 7-5. Shane Graham missed the 1st extra point attempt in his entire career as it was blocked bringing his 158 success streak to an end. Chris Perry suffered another season-ending injury during this game and has not played a full season of professional football in his career yet.

Deltha O'Neal became the 8th Bengal since the 2005 - 2006 season to be arrested. He was charged with drunk driving. He did not play in the next game but had been nursing a nagging injury for many previous weeks. It was not clear if he did not play as a disciplinary measure or due to the injury.

The 2-10 Raiders came into Paul Brown Stadium Kevin Malone was at this game in which with a highly-ranked pass defense and poorly ranked offense. Even though QB Carson Palmer uncharacteristically threw 3 interceptions and RB Rudi Johnson fumbled the ball away, the 4 turnovers given to the Raiders were not enough for their offense to mount any consistent scoring efforts. Graham missed another extra point but it was unblocked. Cincinnati also did not punt once during this game. For the first time in Bengals' history, four players were over 100 yards in offensive production (Carson, Houshmandzadeh, Chad and Rudi Johnson). The Bengals' defense, although facing an unproductive Raiders' offense, continued their dominance.

After going on this 4-game win streak, and various AFC teams contending for the wild card spots losing on week 14, the Bengals regained control of their own destiny in regards to the playoffs. The next week they will go to Indianapolis to face the Colts. The possibility of the Bengals winning the AFC North division was still alive.

Following their victory over the Raiders, the Bengals flew to the RCA Dome for a Monday Night fight with the Indianapolis Colts. In the first quarter, things started off slow with Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri nailing 30-yard field goal, while kicker Shayne Graham got a 27-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Indianapolis took the lead with QB Peyton Manning completed a 4-yard TD pass to WR Marvin Harrison. Cincinnati responded with RB Rudi Johnson got a 12-yard TD run. However, Manning hooked up with Harrison again on a 3-yard TD pass. In the third quarter, the Bengals managed to have Graham kick a 30-yard field goal. However, things got worse with Manning completing a 1-yard TD pass to Harrison while completing an 18-yard TD pass to WR Reggie Wayne. In the fourth quarter, Cincinnati's only response was Graham's 28-yard field goal. Afterwards, the Colts wrapped the game up with Vinatieri's 44-yard field goal. With the loss, not only did the Bengals fall to 8-6, but their loss allowed their division rival, the Baltimore Ravens, to win the division.

Trying to rebound from their road loss to the Colts, the Bengals flew to Invesco Field at Mile High for a snowy Week 16 intraconference fight with the Denver Broncos. In the first quarter, Cincinnati struck first with RB Rudi Johnson's 6-yard TD run for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, the Broncos struck back with QB Jay Cutler completing a 1-yard TD pass to TE Tony Scheffler and a 39-yard TD pass to WR Javon Walker. Fortunately, the Bengals pounced back into the lead with kicker Shayne Graham's 46-yard field goal and QB Carson Palmer's 11-yard TD pass WR Chris Henry. However, in the second half, Denver pulled ahead with RB Mike Bell's 2-yard TD run in the third quarter and kicker Jason Elam's 24-yard field goal. Cincinnati would pull within one point with Palmer's 10-yard TD pass to WR T. J. Houshmandzadeh. Unfortunately, on the extra point attempt, punter/holder Kyle Larson had the snap go right through his hands, securing the loss. With that, the Bengals fell to 8-7.

Trying to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, the Bengals wrapped up their regular season at home with a crucial AFC North rematch game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bengals had two possible options for reaching the post-season 1 - A Bengals win and a Jets loss, or 2 - A Kansas City Chiefs win, a Denver Broncos loss and a Bengals win. After a scoreless first quarter, the Steelers struck first with RB Willie Parker scoring a 1-yard TD run. Afterwards, Cincinnati would manage to score with kicker Shayne Graham nailing a 34-yard field goal. After a scoreless third quarter, the Bengals would take the lead after recovering a Willie Parker fumble on the 1-yard-line, when QB Carson Palmer completed a 66-yard TD pass to WR Chris Henry. Afterwards, Pittsburgh retook the lead with Parker getting another 1-yard TD run. Cincinnati would then jump back into the lead with Palmer completing a 5-yard TD pass to TE Tony Stewart. The Steelers would manage to tie the game late in the 4th period with kicker Jeff Reed's 35-yard field goal, yet the Bengals managed to quickly move into field goal range. However, Graham's game-winning 39-yard field goal attempt went wide right. In overtime, the Steelers won with QB Ben Roethlisberger completing a 67-yard TD pass to WR Santonio Holmes. With the loss, not only did Cincinnati fall to 8-8, but their three-straight losses to end the season denied the Bengals of their playoff chances. In a cruel twist of fate, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Denver Broncos lost to the San Francisco 49ers meaning that the Bengals cost themselves the post-season and ensured that Cincinnati would once again have nothing invested in the playoffs. It was Marvin Lewis' third 8 - 8 season in his four years as the Bengals head coach.

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2000 Sugar Bowl

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The 2000 Sugar Bowl was the designated Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship Game for the 1999 college football season and was played on January 4, 2000, at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Florida State Seminoles, representing the Atlantic Coast Conference, defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies, representing the Big East Conference, by a score of 46–29. With the win, Florida State clinched the 1999 Division I college football championship, the team's second national championship in its history.

An estimated total of 79,280 people attended the game in person, while approximately 18.4 million US viewers watched the game on ABC television. The resulting 17.5 television rating was the third-largest ever recorded for a BCS college football game. Tickets were in high demand for the game, and tens of thousands of fans from both teams attended the game, many using scalped tickets to gain entry.

The game kicked off at 8 p.m. EST, and Virginia Tech received the ball to begin the game. Though Tech advanced down the field, Florida State scored first and took advantage of a blocked punt for a touchdown, giving the Seminoles a 14–0 lead in the first quarter. Tech answered with a touchdown drive of its own before the end of the quarter, but Florida State scored two quick touchdowns to begin the second quarter. Virginia Tech scored a touchdown before halftime, but halfway through the game, Florida State held a 28–14 lead. In the third quarter, Virginia Tech's offense gave the Hokies a lead with a field goal and two touchdowns. Tech failed to convert two two-point conversions, but held a 29–28 lead at the end of the third quarter. Florida State answered in the fourth quarter, however, taking a 36–29 lead with a touchdown and successful two-point conversion early in the quarter. From this point, the Seminoles did not relinquish the lead, extending it to 46–29 with another touchdown and a field goal.

For his performance in the game, Florida State wide receiver Peter Warrick was named the game's most valuable player. Although Tech lost the game, several of its players won postseason awards—most notably Michael Vick, who earned an ESPY for his performance during the Sugar Bowl and the regular season. Several players from each team entered the National Football League after graduation, being selected either in the 2000 NFL Draft or later editions of that selection process.

By contract, the top two teams in the BCS Poll at the conclusion of the regular season are granted bids to the BCS national championship game. In 2000, the BCS Poll consisted of a combination of four different systems: media and coaches' polls (Associated Press college football poll and USA Today Coaches' Poll), team records, a collection of eight different computer ranking systems, and a strength-of-schedule component based on opponent records. The AP Poll has since been replaced by the Harris Interactive College Football Poll and the strength-of-schedule component has been removed, but the BCS system functions roughly the same as it did in 2000.

Under the BCS, the site of the national championship game rotates every year. In 2000, there were four BCS bowl games: the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Orange Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl. The national championship game rotated to a different location each year, and the other three games served as bowl games for lower-ranked teams. Today, the system is slightly different—the national championship game host also hosts an additional bowl game—but the principle is the same. In 2000, the Sugar Bowl was scheduled to host the national championship game.

The Florida State Seminoles ended the 1998 college football season with a 23–16 loss to the Tennessee Volunteers in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl, which was the national championship game that year. The loss was only the second of the season for Florida State, which had entered the game ranked No. 2 and favored against the No. 1 ranked Volunteers. Florida State players and coaches entered the off-season hoping to improve upon their runner-up finish in the national championship game the year before, and were voted the No. 1 team in the country in the annual Associated Press preseason poll.

Florida State lived up to its No. 1 ranking in its first game of the 1999 college football season, routing unranked Louisiana Tech, 41–7. The following week, in their ACC opener, the Seminoles had a closer contest against Georgia Tech, but still earned a 41–35 victory. As the weeks went by, the wins continued to accumulate. FSU defeated North Carolina State, 42–11; North Carolina, 42–10; and Duke, 51–23. In the seventh week of the college football season, the Seminoles faced off against a traditional rival: the Miami Hurricanes. Heading into the game, the Seminoles were without star wide receiver and potential Heisman Trophy candidate Peter Warrick, who was suspended from the team after being arrested for participating in a scheme to underpay for clothes at a Tallahassee, Florida clothing store. Despite the loss of Warrick, Florida State eked out a 31–21 victory over the Hurricanes after being tied, 21–21, at halftime.

The week after the Miami game, the Seminoles had an even closer call against the Clemson Tigers—their closest, in fact, of the entire season. Despite the return of Peter Warrick, who was cleared of charges in a Florida courtroom, Florida State fell behind the Tigers in the first half. Trailing in Clemson, South Carolina, 14–3 at halftime, Florida State cut the gap to 14–6 with a field goal midway through the third quarter, then tied the game at the end of the third quarter with a touchdown and two-point conversion. The Seminoles clinched the victory after a field goal late in the fourth quarter gave them a 17–14 lead and cemented the victory when a Clemson attempt to even the score with a field goal fell short. The victory was FSU head coach Bobby Bowden's 300th win and came against his son, Tommy Bowden, coach of the Tigers.

Florida State earned easy wins with a 35–10 victory over Virginia and a 49–10 win over Maryland before facing the rival Florida Gators in the final game of the Seminoles' regular season. Florida State led throughout the game, but had to fend off a last-minute Florida drive in order to clinch a 30–23 win and just the third perfect regular season in Florida State history. This season later was termed the "Wire to Wire" season as the Seminoles kept their No. 1 ranking the entire season.

Like Florida State, the Virginia Tech Hokies began the 1999 college football season with raised expectations. In 1998, the Hokies had gone 9–3 during the regular season and had posted a 5–2 record against fellow Big East Conference teams. The Hokies concluded that 1998 season—which was supposed to be a rebuilding year—in the 1998 Music City Bowl, where the Hokies defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide, 38–7. With the addition of redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Vick to a team that had allowed an average of just 12.9 points per game on defense, there was the possibility that Tech could improve upon its previous season's performance. Sports Illustrated, for example, predicted that the Hokies might challenge Miami for the Big East football championship, and the preseason Coaches' Poll ranked the Hokies No. 14 prior to the first game of the season.

In their first game of the season, the Hokies lived up to expectations, shutting out James Madison University, 47–0. The game was the first time Tech had shut out an opponent in a season opener since 1953. The game was marred, however, by a leg injury to Michael Vick that caused him to leave the game. The following week, against the University of Alabama Birmingham, Vick did not play. Despite his absence, the Hokies still managed a 31–10 win. This was followed by a 31–11 Thursday-night victory over Clemson in Virginia Tech's first game against a Division I opponent during the season.

Following the win over Clemson, Tech faced traditional rival Virginia in the annual battle for the Commonwealth Cup. Despite the rivalry and the fact that Virginia was ranked the No. 24 team in the country, the Cavaliers put up even less of a struggle than did Clemson. Virginia Tech won, 31–7. By October 3, the day after Tech's win over Virginia, Sports Illustrated considered Tech to be "in the heart of the national title race." Now No. 5 in the country, Tech began to distance itself from other national title contenders with consecutive wins over Rutgers and Syracuse. The 62–0 shutout of No. 16 Syracuse was the largest victory ever recorded against a team ranked in the AP Poll.

Following a 30–17 victory at Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech traveled to Morgantown, West Virginia, to face the West Virginia Mountaineers in the annual battle for the Black Diamond Trophy. In West Virginia, Virginia Tech eked out a 22–20 victory with a last-second field goal from placekicker Shayne Graham. It was Tech's closest victory of the season and moved the Hokies to the No. 2 ranking in the country.

Following the win over West Virginia, Tech defeated Miami, 43–10, and Temple, 62–7, to clinch the Big East championship. In the final game of the regular season, the Hokies beat Boston College, 38–14, cementing the third unbeaten season in Virginia Tech history and the Hokies' first since 1954.

In the month prior to the Sugar Bowl, media attention focused on Virginia Tech's sudden rise to national prominence and Florida State's perennial appearance in the national championship game. The Seminoles had the most top-5 finishes and the most national championship game appearances of any team in the 1990s, including a national championship victory in 1993. Many media stories focused on the apparent David and Goliath showdown between the two teams, with the Seminoles in the role of the overdog and the Hokies in the role of the underdog. Because of this fact, spread bettors favored Florida State to win the game by 5.5 points.

Tens of thousands of fans from both teams traveled to the game, often purchasing ticket and travel packages for thousands of dollars. The limited numbers of tickets available for the game were in high demand by fans of both teams.

The Seminoles threw for no fewer than 229 passing yards in every game during the regular season and averaged 12.7 points per game more than its opponents. On the ground, the Seminoles averaged 122.8 rushing yards per game.

Leading the Florida State offense was quarterback Chris Weinke, a former baseball player who, at 27 years old, was by far the oldest player on the Seminoles' team. After suffering a neck injury in the 1998 college football season, Weinke recovered to complete 232 of 377 pass attempts for 3,103 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions.

Weinke's favorite target was wide receiver Peter Warrick, who led all Seminole receivers with 71 receptions and 931 yards in just nine games during the regular season. Five times, Warrick earned more than 100 receiving yards in a game. Warrick's season was shortened by a two-game suspension following his arrest for underpaying for clothes, but he still was named an All-America selection at wide receiver, signifying his status as one of the best players in the country at the position.

Florida State placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, who was born in Poland, also was a key component of the Seminoles' scoring offense. In his career at Florida State prior to the Sugar Bowl, Janikowski made 65 of 83 field goal attempts, including 33 of his previous 38 kicks of less than 50 yards. Janikowski also handled kickoffs, kicking the ball so hard that 57 of his 83 kickoffs were touchbacks. Janikowski was considered to have the potential to be an early selection in the 2000 NFL Draft by several scouts for professional teams.

During the regular season, Virginia Tech's offense outscored opponents by an average of 31 points per game. Tech averaged 254 yards rushing per game, the eighth-highest average in the nation. Important to that success was running back Shyrone Stith, who had 1,119 rushing yards during the regular season. Even more important to the Hokies' success, however, was quarterback Michael Vick.

Vick was recognized by multiple nationwide publications for his performance during the regular season. His passer rating was the highest of any quarterback in the country, and he completed 59.2 percent of his 152 passes for 1,840 yards, 12 touchdowns, and five interceptions. In addition, He rushed for 585 yards and eight touchdowns on 108 carries. Vick was named Big East Offensive Player of the Year and was the runner-up in voting for the Associated Press Player of the Year. Vick's average of 242 yards of total offense per game were the most in the country, and his 184 passing yards per game were the second-most. In addition, Vick finished third in the voting for the Heisman Trophy, traditionally given to the best college football player in the country. He was featured in multiple national publications, including on the cover of Sports Illustrated twice.

A handful of days before the Sugar Bowl, Tech wide receiver Ricky Hall broke a bone in his foot during practice and was considered unlikely to play. Hall was Tech's second-leading receiver, having caught 25 passes for 398 yards and three touchdowns. In addition, Hall was the Hokies' starting punt returner, and had returned 40 kicks for 510 yards and one touchdown, setting a school record for punt return yardage.

Tech placekicker Shayne Graham won Big East Special Teams Player of the Year honors after scoring 107 points during the regular season. That mark set a Big East record, and Graham's 372 career points during his four years with the Hokies were a NCAA record at the time. Graham's award ensured Tech won all five of the Big East's player and coach of the year awards.

The Seminole defense was led by nose guard Corey Simon, who accumulated 48 solo tackles, four sacks, and one interception. For his accomplishments during the regular season, Simon earned consensus first-team All-America honors. Despite his accomplishments, Simon was not the Seminoles' leading tackler. That honor went to linebacker Tommy Polley, who accumulated 67 tackles during the season. Fellow linebacker Brian Allen contributed five quarterback sacks, the most in that statistical category for Florida State.

The Virginia Tech defense was ranked No. 3 in the country in both total defense and rushing defense. On average, Tech allowed just 247.3 total yards and 75.9 rushing yards per game. Tech's pass defense was No. 7 in the country, allowing an average of 171.4 passing yards per game. The Hokies permitted no more than 226 passing yards to any team during the regular season, and no opposing player earned 100 receiving yards. Tech defenders also accumulated 58 sacks during the season.

Virginia Tech defensive end Corey Moore was the top performer on the Hokie defense. Moore accumulated 55 tackles and 17 sacks during the regular season, and was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year and to the Associated Press All-America team. In the first week of December, Moore was awarded the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given to the best defensive college football player in the country. Tech's other defensive end was John Engelberger, who earned seven sacks, six other tackles for loss and 16 quarterback hurries. Engelberger was projected by pro scouts to be the first Tech player selected in the 2000 NFL Draft.

The 2000 Sugar Bowl kicked off at 8 p.m. EST on January 4, 2000, at the Louisiana Superdome, in New Orleans, Louisiana. A crowd of 79,280 people attended the game in person, and an estimated 18.4 million people watched the game's television broadcast on ABC, earning the broadcast a television rating of 17.5, the third-highest rating ever recorded for a BCS game. ABC estimates were higher, speculating that at least 54 million people watched at least a portion of the broadcast. Brent Musburger, Gary Danielson, Lynn Swann, and Jack Arute were the television commentators for the event, and Ron Franklin, Mike Gottfried, and Adrian Karsten provided commentary for the ESPN Radio broadcast of the game. In exchange for their performance at the game, Virginia Tech and Florida State each received more than $4 million.

The traditional pregame singing of the national anthem was performed by the Zion Harmonizers, a New Orleans gospel quartet. Steve Shaw was the referee. Actor John Goodman performed the ceremonial pre-game coin toss to determine first possession of the ball. Florida State won the coin toss and elected to kick off to Virginia Tech to begin the game.

Virginia Tech received the game's opening kickoff in their end zone for a touchback, and the Tech offense began at its 20-yard line. On the game's first play, Tech committed a five-yard false start penalty. Running back Shyrone Stith was stopped for a loss on the first non-penalty play of the game, but Tech made up both that loss and the penalty when quarterback Michael Vick scrambled for 25 yards and a first down. Vick then ran for another nine yards, pushing the line of scrimmage near midfield. Tech executed an option run to Stith, who ran inside the Florida State 30-yard line. Tech picked up a few yards with a run up the middle, then Vick completed a pass to Davis, giving the Hokies a first down at the Florida State 13-yard line. Stith picked up seven yards on a rush to the six-yard line, but the Seminole defense stiffened, and Tech was unable to pick up the remaining three yards needed for a first down. Facing a fourth down and needing less than a yard to pick up another first down inside the Florida State three-yard line, Tech head coach Frank Beamer kept his offense on the field to attempt to gain the first down rather than kick a field goal. On the attempt, however, Vick fumbled the ball forward into the end zone, where Florida State recovered it for a touchback. Virginia Tech was thus denied the first score of the game, and Florida State's offense entered the game for the first time.

Starting at their 20-yard line after the touchback, Florida State's first play was a five-yard rush by running back Travis Minor. Quarterback Chris Weinke then completed a three-yard pass to wide receiver Peter Warrick, who was stopped short of the first down. After the next play failed to gain positive yardage, the Seminoles were forced to punt. Virginia Tech's offense began their second series after a short punt return to the 31-yard line. After an incomplete pass from Vick, Stith picked up a Tech first down with two running plays. From the their 43-yard line, Tech executed an end-around for a first down. Florida State also committed a five-yard facemask penalty that pushed Tech to the Seminoles' 40-yard line. Tech was stopped for losses on subsequent plays and committed a five-yard false start penalty, but Vick completed an 18-yard pass to Davis for a first down, making up the losses. Tech was unable to make good the losses accumulated on the next three plays, when Vick was sacked after throwing two incomplete passes. Tech punted, the ball rolled into the end zone, and Florida State's offense began again at its 20-yard line. Weinke threw two incomplete passes before connecting on a first-down throw to wide receiver Ron Dugans. On the next play, Weinke connected on a 64-yard throw to Warrick for a Florida State touchdown and the first points of the game. The extra point attempt was successful, and Florida State took a 7–0 lead with 3:22 remaining in the first quarter.

Following Florida State's post-touchdown kickoff, Virginia Tech's offense began its third possession of the game at the Tech 24-yard line after a short kick return. Running back Andre Kendrick ran for a short gain, but on the next play Vick was called for an intentional grounding penalty while attempting to avoid a sack. The Hokies were unable to make up the yardage lost by the penalty and punted after failing to gain a first down. Owing to the penalty, Tech punter Jimmy Kibble was forced to kick from his own end zone. Florida State was able to break through the Tech offensive line during the punt and blocked the kick. The ball was picked up by Florida State defender Jeff Chaney, who dashed into the end zone for Florida State's second touchdown of the game. The score and extra point gave Florida State a 14–0 lead with 2:14 remaining in the first quarter.

Florida State's kickoff was downed for a touchback, and Tech began at its 20-yard line. On the first play of the possession, Florida State committed a 15-yard pass interference penalty that gave Tech a first down at its 35-yard line. Tech was further aided by two five-yard penalties against Florida State that gave the Hokies another first down, and Vick completed a short pass across midfield. On the first play in Florida State territory, Vick completed a 49-yard throw to wide receiver Andre Davis for Tech's first touchdown of the game. The extra point attempt was good, and with 30 seconds remaining in the quarter, Tech narrowed Florida State's lead to 14–7.

Following Virginia Tech's kickoff and a touchback, Florida State's offense started work at its 20-yard line. Tech committed a five-yard penalty, and as the final seconds of the quarter ticked off, Florida State ran up the middle for five yards and a first down. At the end of the first quarter, the score was 14–7, Florida State leading.

The second quarter began with Florida State in possession of the ball, facing a first down at its 30-yard line. After picking up short yardage on two consecutive plays, Weinke completed a 63-yard pass to Dugans, who ran down the field for a touchdown. The extra point was successful, and with 13:45 remaining in the second quarter, Florida State extended its lead to 21–7. Following the Florida State kickoff, Virginia Tech returned the ball to the 33-yard line, where Tech's offense began operations. Tech committed an offensive pass interference penalty, and Tech was forced to punt after being unable to gain a first down after the penalty. The Seminoles' Peter Warrick was assigned to return the punt, and he fielded the ball at the Florida State 41-yard line. Thanks to several key blocks from other Florida State players, Warrick was able to run 59 unimpeded yards to the end zone for a touchdown. With 11:34 still remaining before halftime, the Seminoles extended their lead to 28–7.

Following the Florida State kickoff, Virginia Tech attempted to answer Florida State's kick-return touchdown with one of its own. Kendrick fielded the ball at the Virginia Tech goal line and returned it 63 yards, all the way to the Florida State 37-yard line, where the Hokie offense began work. Despite the good field position, Tech was unable to gain a first down. Tech kicker Shayne Graham was sent into the game, seemingly to attempt a 51-yard field goal. Instead of kicking the ball, Graham attempted to run the ball for a first down. Graham fumbled short of the first down, and Florida State took over on offense with 9:43 remaining in the first half.

On the Seminoles' first offensive play of the drive, they attempted a flea flicker pass, which was caught by Warrick at the Virginia Tech 33-yard line for a 33-yard gain. Following the play, Weinke was sacked for the first time by the Tech defense. This was followed immediately by Tech's second sack, which pushed Weinke back into the Seminoles' side of the field. On the third play of the Seminole drive, Weinke attempted to scramble for yardage, but was stopped short of the needed mark. Florida State's punt was downed at the Virginia Tech one-yard line, which was where the Tech offense began work. Florida State's defense prevented the Hokies from gaining a first down, and Tech again had to punt from its end zone.

Following the kick and a short return, Florida State began a drive at the Tech 34-yard line, seemingly in excellent field position. But on the first play of the State drive, the Seminoles were stopped for a loss. State was able to pick up a short gain on the second play, but on the third, Weinke was sacked for the third time in the game. After the Seminole punt and a touchback, Tech's offense started at its 20-yard line. The Hokies picked up a first down with an option run to Stith, then Vick ran for a long gain and another first down at the Florida State 20-yard line. Stith picked up seven yards on a rush up the middle of the field, then Vick completed a first-down pass to Derek Carter inside the Seminole 10-yard line. Kendrick advanced the ball to the Seminole three-yard line, then Vick ran the remaining yardage for a touchdown. Following the extra point, Tech cut Florida State's lead to 28–14 with 37 seconds remaining in the first half.

After the Virginia Tech kickoff and a Florida State return to their 17-yard line, Florida State began running out the clock to bring the half to an end. At halftime, Florida State held a 28–14 lead over Virginia Tech.

At halftime, several organizations and groups performed under the overarching theme of a "Gospel Jubilee." The halftime show was organized by Douglas K. Green and Bowl Games of America, a company founded to provide similar services to bowl games across the United States. Multiple high school bands and dance teams from Kansas to Florida entertained the crowd.

Because Virginia Tech received the ball to begin the game, Florida State received the ball to begin the second half. The Seminoles returned the kickoff to their 22-yard line, and on the first play of the second half attempted a lateral pass. Virginia Tech defender Corey Moore knocked the ball down and out of bounds, causing a loss of 16 yards. Despite the loss, Weinke was able to make good the needed yards with a 28-yard pass to Minor. Minor picked up short yardage on a run up the middle, then Weinke passed for another first down, advancing the ball to the State 45-yard line. On first down, Weinke fumbled, but managed to recover the ball after a five-yard loss. Unlike before, State was unable to regain the lost yardage and was forced to punt. Virginia Tech returned the kick to their 33-yard line, where the Tech offense began work.

Vick passed for six yards, then ran an option for 12 yards and a first down. Now on State's side of the field, however, the Tech defense was unable to gain another first down and punted back to Florida State, which returned the kick to its 21-yard line. State was stopped short on consecutive plays, committed a five-yard false start penalty, then was stopped for no gain on third down. After going three and out, State punted back to the Hokies, who returned the ball to the Seminoles' 41-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Vick completed a 26-yard pass to the Tech fullback, Hawkins. After three rushes failed to pick up the first down at the Florida State five-yard line, Tech coach Frank Beamer sent in Graham to kick a 23-yard field goal. The kick was successful, and with 7:54 remaining in the quarter, Tech cut Florida State's lead to 28–17.

Virginia Tech's post-touchdown kickoff was downed for a touchback, and Florida State's offense started a drive at its 20-yard line. Weinke completed one pass, but two others fell incomplete, and Florida State punted after again going three and out. The Hokies returned the State kick to the Seminoles' 36-yard line with a 45-yard return. Vick threw an incomplete pass, ran for seven yards, then handed it off to Kendrick, who broke through the Florida State defense and ran ahead 29 yards for a touchdown. Rather than attempt an extra point, Beamer ordered a two-point conversion in an attempt to cut Florida State's lead to just three points. The play, which was Tech's first two-point attempt that season, failed. Even without an extra point, the touchdown still cut Florida State's lead to 28–23.

After the post-score kickoff and return, Florida State began at its 22-yard line. Weinke completed a first-down pass to Warrick, but Warrick committed a 15-yard personal foul penalty in the process. On the next play, Weinke attempted a long pass downfield, but Tech defender Anthony Midget intercepted the ball at the Tech 41-yard line. Trailing by five, Tech's offense began a drive to potentially further cut Florida State's lead or put the Hokies in the lead themselves. After slipping on the field and taking a loss, Vick completed a 20-yard pass to Hawkins, who picked up a first down and pushed Tech to the Florida State 39-yard line. After a short rush by Kendrick, Vick scrambled to the State 21-yard line for another first down. On the next play, Vick was sacked for a seven-yard loss, but recovered the lost ground by running for 22 yards on the next play. With a first down at the Seminoles' seven-yard line, Vick handed the ball to Kendrick, who ran seven yards straight ahead for a Tech touchdown, giving the Hokies the lead for the first time in the game. Again, Beamer ordered a two-point conversion attempt, but again, Florida State stopped the Hokies short. Despite that failure to pick up the two-point conversion, Tech took a 29–28 lead with 2:13 remaining in the quarter.

The Seminoles returned Tech's post-score kick to their 15-yard line, where Florida State's offense began work again, hoping to regain the lead for State. Weinke completed a seven-yard pass to Warrick, then was sacked by the Virginia Tech defense. Weinke overcame the loss on the next play with a 19-yard first-down pass. State continued to advance the ball with short passes, as Weinke completed a five-yard throw. Chaney gained three yards on a rush to the right as the final seconds of the third quarter ticked off the clock, setting up an important third-down play. With one quarter remaining, Virginia Tech led Florida State, 29–28.

Florida State began the fourth quarter in possession of the ball and facing a third down, needing three yards for a first down. Weinke completed a pass for just short of the needed three yards. Instead of punting the ball away, Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden ordered the team to attempt to convert the first down. He brought backup quarterback Marcus Outzen into the game as a misdirection move, and instead of running a quarterback sneak as anticipated, Outzen tossed the ball to Minor, who ran for 16 yards and a first down. During the play, Virginia Tech committed a 15-yard personal foul penalty that advanced the ball further and gave Florida State a first down at the Virginia Tech 23-yard line. Weinke returned to the game and threw a 10-yard pass to Chaney for another first down. Weinke threw an incomplete pass, then Tech stopped a rush up the middle for no gain. On third down, Weinke connected on a touchdown pass to Dugans, returning the lead to Florida State. The Seminoles, as had Virginia Tech before them, elected to attempt a two-point conversion. Unlike Virginia Tech's failed two-point conversions, the Seminoles successfully earned two points with a pass to Warrick, and the scores gave Florida State a 36–29 lead with 12:59 remaining.

Tech received Florida State's kickoff at its goal line and returned the ball to the 11-yard line, where Tech's offense took over. Kendrick ran for 12 yards and a first down, but then Vick fumbled on a rush to the left. Florida State recovered the ball, and the Seminoles' offense was given the ball at the Virginia Tech 35-yard line. On the first play after the fumble, Chaney broke free for a long run that gave State a first down inside the Virginia Tech 10-yard line. The Seminoles were pushed backward on two consecutive plays and committed a chop block before Bowden was forced to send in Janikowski to kick a 32-yard field goal. The kick gave Florida State a 39–29 lead with 10:26 remaining in the game.

Janikowski's post-score kickoff was downed for a touchback, and Vick and the Tech offense began at their 20-yard line. On the Hokies' first play, Davis ran for 16 yards and a first down on an end-around similar to the one he ran in the first quarter. Despite that success, the Hokies were unable to gain another first down. Appearing to punt the ball away, Tech ran a trick play where the punter attempted to rush for a first down. He was stopped short of the needed mark, however, and Florida State's offense returned to the field, beginning at the Tech 43-yard line. On the first play after taking over, Weinke completed a 43-yard pass to Warrick for a touchdown. The score and extra point gave Florida State a 46–29 lead with 7:42 remaining in the game.

With less than half a quarter remaining and down by three scores, Virginia Tech had a nearly insurmountable deficit to overcome. The Hokies fielded the kickoff for a touchback, and the Tech offense began at its 20-yard line. On the Hokies' first and second plays of the drive, Vick was sacked for losses. The third play was an incomplete pass, and the Hokies were forced to punt. After fielding the kick at their 38-yard line, Florida State began running out the clock by running the ball. After failing to gain a first down on two consecutive rushes and an incomplete pass, Florida State punted. The ball rolled into the end zone, and Tech's offense began again at its 20-yard line. Vick threw for short yardage, then Kendrick ran for a first down at the Tech 37-yard line. Vick completed a 23-yard first down pass to Emmet Johnson, and the Hokies entered Florida State territory with the clock ticking steadily down. On the first play in Seminoles' territory, Vick completed another 23-yard pass, this time to Davis, who picked up a first down at the Florida State 23-yard line. Thanks to a holding penalty against the Seminoles, Tech was granted a first down at the State eight-yard line. Vick threw an incomplete pass, ran for three yards, and then threw another pass to a player who was stopped short of the goal line. Facing fourth down and needing just two yards for a touchdown, Tech attempted to pass for the touchdown, but Vick was sacked and turned the ball over on downs with 1:12 remaining. With almost no time remaining, Florida State continued running down the clock and earned the 46–29 victory.

In recognition of his performance during the game, Florida State wide receiver Peter Warrick was named the game's most valuable player. Warrick caught six passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns, leading all receivers in yardage and scores. Warrick also had a 59-yard punt return for a touchdown and a two-point conversion, accounting for 20 of the Seminoles' 46 points. The 20 points scored by Warrick were a Sugar Bowl record for most points scored by an individual player.

Despite Warrick's individual performance, Virginia Tech was more successful in a team effort, compiling 503 total yards compared to Florida State's 359 yards. Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick completed 15 of 29 passes for 225 passing yards and one passing touchdown. Vick also ran the ball 23 times for 97 yards in his performance as the game's leading rusher. Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke was the game's best passer, completing 20 of his 34 pass attempts for 329 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception.

Weinke's favorite target was game MVP Peter Warrick, but several other Seminoles also benefited from Weinke's passing efficiency. Ron Dugans caught five passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns, Minnis caught two passes for 25 yards, and Minor caught two for 23 yards. For Virginia Tech, Davis caught seven passes for 108 yards and a touchdown, Hawkins caught two passes for 49 yards, and Kendrick caught two passes for 27 yards.

In terms of rushing offense, the two teams differed wildly. Virginia Tech, led by Vick, ran for 278 rushing yards. Florida State, meanwhile, ran for just 30 yards. The Seminoles were led on the ground by Chaney, who carried the ball four times for 43 yards, and Minor, who carried the ball nine times for 35 yards. Much of these two players' rushing total was negated by Chris Weinke, who lost 41 yards on seven carries. Virginia Tech, bolstered by Vick's 97 rushing yards, also saw André Kendrick accumulate 69 yards and two touchdowns with 12 carries and Shyrone Stith pick up 68 yards on 11 carries.

Florida State's victory earned it the 1999 NCAA Division I college football championship and brought the Seminoles' season to an end with an undefeated 12–0 record. By beginning the season at No. 1 and ending it in the same position, Florida State became the first college football team to stay ranked No. 1 for every week of the season after being ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll. Virginia Tech's loss brought it to a final record of 11–1, but the Hokies still completed their first 11-win season in school history. The 75 total points scored in the 2000 Sugar Bowl were a Sugar Bowl record at that point in the game's history.

Both teams made changes to their respective coaching staffs in the weeks that followed the Sugar Bowl. Chuck Amato resigned from his position as linebackers coach for Florida State to take the head coaching position at North Carolina State. His role as linebackers coach was filled by Joe Kines, whom Bobby Bowden hired from the University of Georgia. Amato's role as assistant head coach was filled by Jim Gladden, who had been a coach at Florida State for more than 25 years at the time he was named the assistant head coach. At Virginia Tech, head coach Frank Beamer also made some changes to his coaching staff, promoting several position coaches to higher positions in the Tech football hierarchy.

In recognition of their achievements during the regular season and during the 2000 Sugar Bowl, multiple players and coaches from each team earned awards and recognition after the conclusion of the game. Tech quarterback Michael Vick, despite leading the losing team in the Sugar Bowl, won an ESPY for college football player of the year on February 14, more than a month after the Sugar Bowl. In addition, Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer won multiple coach of the year awards, most notably the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award, which was presented to Beamer on March 6. One of Beamer's assistant coaches, Bud Foster, was named the top defensive coordinator in Division I-A football by American Football Coach Magazine in its annual award. Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke won the 2000 Heisman Trophy after the conclusion of the 2000 college football season.

Several players from each team were picked by professional teams to play in the National Football League during the 2000 NFL Draft, held April 15 and 16, in New York City. Florida State had three players selected in the first round of the draft and seven players taken overall. Peter Warrick was the first player picked, selected with the fourth overall selection by the Cincinnati Bengals. Defensive tackle Corey Simon was selected two picks later with the sixth overall selection, and placekicker Sebastian Janikowski was taken 17th. Later rounds saw Ron Dugans (66th), Laveranues Coles (78th), Jerry Johnson (101st), and Mario Edwards (180th) taken in the draft from Florida State.

Virginia Tech had no players selected in the first round of the draft but saw five players taken from the second round onward. Defensive end John Engelberger was the first Hokie taken in the 2000 draft, and was picked with the 35th overall selection. He was followed by cornerback Ike Charlton, who was taken with the 52nd pick in the draft. Corey Moore (89th), Anthony Midget (134th), and Shyrone Stith (243rd) also were taken.

Some players who participated in the 2000 Sugar Bowl elected to delay their entry into the NFL Draft, either because they hoped to finish their education or because they were not three years removed from their high school graduations and thus were not eligible to enter the draft. Examples of these players included Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke, who returned to Florida State to complete his senior year, and Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick, who was not eligible to enter the draft in 2000, but who was taken with the first overall selection in the 2001 NFL Draft.

Florida State entered the 2000 college football season with hopes of following up its victory in the 2000 Sugar Bowl with another national championship. The Seminoles' regular-season performance differed slightly from 1999, as they lost a regular-season game to Miami, yet still appeared in a third consecutive national championship game: the 2001 Orange Bowl. Unlike in 2000, the Seminoles emerged on the losing side of a 13–2 score. Virginia Tech, like Florida State, had hoped to attend the national championship game again, but an injury to star quarterback Michael Vick caused the Hokies to lose a regular-season game at third-ranked Miami, eliminating them from national championship contention.

The following season, neither Florida State nor Virginia Tech competed for a national championship, but both teams played in the 2002 Gator Bowl, their first matchup in two years. Following the Gator Bowl, Florida State next met Virginia Tech in the 2005 ACC Championship Game after the Hokies left the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference. Florida State won that contest, 27–22. Not until the 2007 college football season did Virginia Tech finally avenge its losses to the Seminoles with a 40–21 win en route to an Atlantic Coast Conference championship. It was the first game in fifteen consecutive matchups between the two teams that Virginia Tech had won.

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