NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Florida State coach Bobby Bowden thought that Seminoles quarterback Chris Weinke was too old to hug.
So after Florida State's 46-29 victory over Virginia Tech, the 27-year-old college junior hugged Bowden instead.
''I'd read where he said 'I don't treat him like all the other guys,''' Weinke said. ''I was too old.''
Weinke found just the right moment for a little love-fest after his 43-yard touchdown pass to Peter Warrick midway through the fourth quarter. The pass gave the Seminoles their final margin of victory in Tuesday night's national title game.
''I said, 'I'm going to go ahead and give you a hug right now because we just wrapped this one up,''' Weinke said.
He may also have wrapped up his career at Florida State. ''What a great way to go out,'' Weinke said.
Weinke countered Virginia Tech's multitalented freshman Michael Vick by throwing for 329 yards and four touchdowns to lead Florida State to its first perfect season.
Bowden, who is 70, hopes to persuade Weinke to come back for his senior year, and maybe another hug.
''If this guy comes back, we'll be pretty darned good again,'' Bowden said. ''We've got the nucleus.''
And he said the hug wasn't too bad.
''I was always afraid he'd slap me if I hugged him,'' Bowden joked. ''I've had younger guys hug me, but never had my dad do it.''
If Weinke doesn't return, he finished his career 21-1 as a starter, the last 20 in a row.
Weinke hit Warrick on scoring plays covering 64 and 43 yards and combined with Ron Dugans on touchdown plays of 64 and 14 yards.
Weinke, who missed last year's title game against Tennessee with a neck injury, completed 20 of 34 attempts and was intercepted once.
And just like he did at Florida in November, Weinke engineered a pair of scoring drives after the Seminoles fell behind.
''It was only fitting that to win a national championship, we did it the way we did, coming from behind,'' Bowden said.
''It may be this team needs to get behind to get focused,'' said Weinke, who had to bring the Seminoles from behind in five games this season.
Weinke had to shake off the rust from a six-year layoff when he came to Florida State as a 24-year-old freshman after trying professional baseball. Many were unsure if could regain his football skills and lead one of the country's top programs.
And some, including Bowden, were uncertain if Weinke would ever play again after the neck injury suffered against Virginia in the 1998 season.
He prevailed on both counts.
''This is something I've been waiting for,'' Weinke said. ''I rehabbed eight months to win a national championship.''
And, of course, the hug.
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