MIAMI, Jan. 3 -- Josh Heupel, beaten by Chris Weinke in the race for the Heisman Trophy, clearly outdueled Weinke in their on-field showdown Wednesday night to carry the Oklahoma Sooners to the championship of college football with a shocking 13-2 victory over the Florida State Seminoles in the 67th Orange Bowl.
Florida State's normally powerful offense was erased by an overwhelming Oklahoma defense that came close to handing the Seminoles their first bowl shutout in school history.
Oklahoma, which went into the game a 12-point underdog, completed a 12-0 season as the only unbeaten team in the country and removed all doubt about which school deserved the national title. Florida State was seeking its second straight national crown, but appeared confused on offense all night and failed to come up with the one, big play that might have turned the game around.
Florida State converted only one of 15 third-down situations.
The Sooners' points came on field goals by Tim Duncan of 27 yards in the first period and 42 yards in the third quarter and a 10-yard run by Quentin Griffin with 7:51 to play that came two plays after Weinke fumbled the ball away at his own 15 -- a disastrous play that symbolized what was a dismal final game in a Florida State uniform.
Weinke, 28, who stayed at Florida State for the 2000 season for the chance at a second straight national crown, completed less than half his passes. The Seminoles were plagued by the absence of wide receiver Marvin Minnis, their star receiver who was declared ineligible for the game because of academic reasons.
Florida State suffered through a series of dropped passes, but Oklahoma also missed out on at least three interceptions when wayward throws from Weinke bounced in and out of the hands of a Sooner defender.
The only points produced by Florida State came late in the game on a safety when a bad snap sailed high over the head of punter Jeff Ferguson, who scooped it up at the five-yard line and ran into the end zone to limit the damage.
"It was like a nightmare," said 71-year-old Florida State coach Bobby Bowden. "If you dreamed of something you didn't want to happen, this was it.
"We had chances to make big catches to get us out of the hole, but couldn't catch the ball. Our defense was excellent, but our offense just couldn't get it going. We were lousy tonight."
With Florida State unable to manage any sort ofrushing attack, Weinke completed just 24 of 51 passes for 261 yards and was intercepted twice -- one of them coming on a desperation throw at the end of the contest.
Heupel was 25 of 39 for 209 yards and helped Oklahoma hog the ball in the second half.
"The defense did a great job and we showed what character we had," said Heupel. "Finishing second for the Heisman Trophy had nothing to do with it. We were here to win a national championship."
It was the seventh national crown for Oklahoma, the Sooners having earned three under Bud Wilkinson in the 1950s and three more under Barry Switzer a generation later. The last of those came in 1985.
"We totally expected to play this way," said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. "We totally expected to win. It is easy to say that Oklahoma is back."
Oklahoma had only a 3-0 lead at halftime despite outplaying the Seminoles and then shut Florida State down in the third period. The Seminoles had the ball for nine plays in the third period, gained 21 yards and picked up one first down.
Nevertheless, the Sooners could expand their lead only to 6-0 and the Seminoles still had a chance midway through the fourth period. Florida State took over with 9:19 to play at its own six-yard line, but two plays netted just four yards.
Needing an heroic effort to pull out the game, Weinke managed to avoid a blitz on third down and scrambled for what appeared to be a first down. But he was hit from behind by Oklahoma linebacker Rocky Calmus, forcing a fumble that the Sooners recovered at the 15. Two plays later, Griffin broke free for the clinching touchdown.
Although both teams had problems moving the ball in the first half, both wasted opportunities to produce points.
After Oklahoma failed to pick up a first down on its first possession, the Sooners took over for the second time at its own 20 and promptly fumbled. Andre Woolfolk coughed it up at his own 47 after a pass reception of 27 yards, but Florida State immediately returned the favor.
On first down, Weinke was intercepted over the middle by linebacker Torrance Marshall.
Oklahoma capitalized on that break by driving to the field goal by Duncan that represented the only points of the half.
The Sooners then seemed ready to take control when, on their next possession, drove from their own 27 to the Florida State 15 in 10 plays. But on the 11th play of the drive, Heupel threw into a crowd along the sideline and was picked off by Tae Cody.
Florida State failed to convert on seven of its eight third-down plays in the first half, but did manage to move from its own 48 to the to the Oklahoma 18 in the second period. But on third down and six from that point, Travis Minor could run for only five.
The Seminoles chose not to risk a fourth-down play and went for the tying field goal, only to see Brett Cimorelli push it to the right.