2003 Nokia Sugar Bowl
BCS Bowl Game
69th Sugar Bowl
1234 Total
Georgia 31463 26
Florida State 0760 13
DateJanuary 1, 2003
Season2002
StadiumLouisiana Superdome
LocationNew Orleans, Louisiana
MVPMusa Smith (RB, Georgia)
FavoriteGeorgia by 7.5
RefereeChuck McFerrin (Pac-10)
Attendance74,269
United States TV coverage
NetworkABC
AnnouncersBrad Nessler, Bob Griese
and Lynn Swann
Nielsen ratings9.2
Sugar Bowl
 < 2002  2004

The 2003 Sugar Bowl, a 2002–03 BCS game, was played on January 1, 2003. This 69th edition to the Sugar Bowl featured the Georgia Bulldogs, and the Florida State Seminoles. Georgia came into the game 12–1 and ranked 3rd in the BCS, whereas Florida State came into the game 9–4 and ranked 14th in the BCS. Sponsored by Nokia, the game was officially known as the Nokia Sugar Bowl.

Teams

The Sugar Bowl during the BCS era usually selected the SEC champion, meaning that the winner of the SEC in 2002, Georgia received an invitation to the Sugar Bowl. Their opponent would be ACC champion Florida State.

Georgia Bulldogs

Main article: 2002 Georgia Bulldogs football team

Georgia defeated Arkansas in the 2002 SEC Championship Game to earn a BCS berth as their conference's champion. Georgia entered the bowl with a 12–1 record (7–1 in conference).

Florida State Seminoles

Main article: 2002 Florida State Seminoles football team

Florida State won the ACC title outright by virtue of their 7–1 conference record. At the time, the ACC champion would go to the Orange Bowl, however the Orange Bowl chose Iowa and USC instead, leaving the Seminoles to play in the Sugar Bowl. Florida State entered the bowl with an 9–4 record (7–1 in conference).

Game summary

Kicker Billy Bennett kicked a 23-yard field goal with 10 minutes left in the opening quarter to account for the quarter's only points. In the second quarter, FSU quarterback Fabian Walker threw a 5-yard slant pass to Anquan Boldin as FSU took a 7–3 lead. Florida State was driving again in the second quarter before cornerback Bruce Thornton stepped in front of a Walker pass and raced 73 yards to the opposite end zone, to give Georgia a 10–7 lead. Quarterback D.J. Shockley threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Terrence Edwards before halftime to give the Bulldogs a 17–7 half time lead.

Billy Bennett accounted for two more Georgia field goals in the third quarter, as Georgia posted a 23–7 lead. On the final play of the third quarter, wide receiver Anquan Boldin (who had replaced quarterback Fabian Walker) threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Craphonso Thorpe. The ensuing two-point conversion failed, and the lead was 23–13. Billy Bennett kicked another field goal in the fourth quarter, as Georgia held off Florida State. Georgia's running back Musa Smith won the MVP award.

The Seminoles defensive tackle Darnell Dockett was suspended from the game after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge.[1]

Scoring summary

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP UGA FSU
1 4:19 9 62 4:04 UGA 23-yard field goal by Billy Bennett 3 0
2 13:41 8 69 3:42 FSU Anquan Boldin 5-yard touchdown reception from Fabian Walker, Xavier Beitia kick good 3 7
2 6:41 1 71 0:10 UGA Interception returned 71 yards for touchdown by Bruce Thornton, Billy Bennett kick good 10 3
2 3:43 1 37 0:07 UGA Terrence Edwards 37-yard touchdown reception from D.J. Shockley, Billy Bennett kick good 17 3
3 11:06 9 68 3:54 UGA 42-yard field goal by Billy Bennett 20 7
3 8:49 4 9 2:04 UGA 25-yard field goal by Billy Bennett 23 7
3 0:00 5 66 2:29 FSU Craphonso Thorpe 40-yard touchdown reception from Anquan Boldin, 2-point run failed 23 13
4 10:17 11 62 4:43 UGA 35-yard field goal by Billy Bennett 26 13
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 26 13

Statistics

1 2 3 4 Total
No. 3 Bulldogs 3 14 6 3 26
No. 14 Seminoles 7 0 6 0 13
Statistics UGA FSU
First downs 11 18
Plays–yards 51–276 67–262
Rushes–yards 36–151 41–115
Passing yards 125 147
Passing: Comp–Att–Int 10–15–0 13–26–2
Time of possession 26:09 33:51
Team Category Player Statistics
Georgia Passing David Greene 9/14, 88 yds
Rushing Musa Smith 23 car, 145 yds
Receiving Terrence Edwards 3 rec, 60 yds, 1 TD
Florida State Passing Anquan Boldin 6/14, 78 yds, 1 TD
Rushing Leon Washington 10 car, 48 yds
Receiving Craphonso Thorpe 1 rec, 40 yds, 1 TD

Aftermath

Georgia completed the season 13–1. They ranked #3 in both major polls. Florida State finished the season 9–5 and #21/#24 in the polls.

References

  1. ^ "Seminoles' Dockett suspended for bowl". The Times-Union. December 23, 2002.