|2003 Nokia Sugar Bowl|
|BCS Bowl Game|
69th Sugar Bowl
|Date||January 1, 2003|
|Location||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|MVP||Musa Smith (RB, Georgia)|
|Favorite||Georgia by 7.5|
|Referee||Chuck McFerrin (Pac-10)|
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Brad Nessler, Bob Griese|
and Lynn Swann
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
|No. 3 Bulldogs||3||14||6||3||26|
|No. 14 Seminoles||7||0||6||0||13|
|Time of possession||26:09||33:51|
|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|
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.