These Bulldogs eager to carve own legacy
By The Associated Press
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012, 7:08 p.m.
Updated: Friday, November 30, 2012
Florida State seeking another ACC title
Atlantic Division winner Florida State has won a dozen league titles since joining the ACC in 1992. Georgia Tech, which qualified after Miami officials decided to skip the game in anticipation of NCAA sanctions, defeated Clemson in the league's championship game in 2009 but was forced to vacate the title because of NCAA sanctions. Georgia Tech's string of 16 straight seasons with bowl eligibility also may be in jeopardy if it loses.
Florida State's defense, which is ranked second nationally, will be tested by Georgia Tech's high-powered triple-option offense that averaged an ACC record 323.3 yards a game on the ground. The Seminoles allowed just 85 yards per game rushing. A high-scoring affair could occur if Florida State has trouble containing the Yellow Jackets, although if it comes down to a kick, the Seminoles have all-time NCAA field goal and scoring leader Dustin Hopkins available.
Florida State's defense is anchored by defensive end Bjoern Werner, a Nagurski finalist who has wreaked havoc on offensive lineman and was the top vote getter in the ACC's all-conference defensive unit. Werner has 13 sacks and seven deflected passes despite having been frequently double-teamed this season.
Georgia Tech QBs Tevin Washington and Vad Lee ignite in the Yellow Jackets' offense but will need some protection against Werner and others in Florida State's ACC-best defense to have a chance. The Yellow Jackets didn't get into the end zone last week in a 42-10 drubbing at Georgia until midway through the fourth quarter.
The Seminoles have been bowl eligible every year since 1982, the longest streak nationally.Nebraska, Wisconsin clash for Rose Bowl spot
Legends Division champion Nebraska, which won the teams' September meeting, 30-27, is playing for its first conference title since winning the Big 12 in 1999 and its first BCS bid since playing for the 2001 national championship in the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin gets to play for a third straight Big Ten championship by default because the teams ahead of the Badgers in the Leaders Division — Ohio State and Penn State — are ineligible.
Wisconsin RB Montee Ball, with 1,500 yards, accounts for almost 35 percent of the Badgers' offense. If Ball gets going, QB Curt Phillips will be more effective with play-action passes, and Wisconsin can keep Nebraska's high-powered offense on the sideline.
The Huskers held Ball to 2.8 yards a carry in the first game. But Ball has been on a roll lately, and Nebraska is without defensive line anchor Baker Steinkuhler because of injury.
Nebraska counters with RB Rex Burkhead, a 1,300-yard rusher a year ago. He returned after a four-game injury layoff to spark the Huskers in the second half against Iowa last week. The Badgers rank second in the Big Ten against the run, but Penn State's Zach Zwinak dented them for 179 yards last week. The fresh-legged Burkhead, coupled with Ameer Abdullah, give Nebraska a formidable 1-2 punch.
One question could be how Phillips, the Badgers' third starter this season, handles the championship-game atmosphere. Phillips has completed just 52 percent of his passes and has been sacked nine times in three starts.
Nebraska has won six straight since its 63-38 loss at Ohio State. The Badgers are looking to become the first Big Ten school to play in three straight Rose Bowls since Michigan in 1977-79.
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