The Seminoles look to end a two-game bowl losing streak; no Bobby Bowden team has lost three bowls in a row. Under Bowden, the Seminoles are 3-0 in the Gator Bowl. But West Virginia, a team Bowden coached for six seasons (1970-75), isn't a pushover. The Mountaineers could be in a BCS game had senior tailback Kay-Jay Harris, the former Tampa Bay Tech star, been healthy. Harris and the Mountaineers will test FSU's run defense, the nation's stingiest (allowing an average of 69.0 yards). They average 254.2 yards on the ground, seventh nationally. But coach Rich Rodriguez's offense isn't just run, run, run. He uses a four-receiver formation similar to that of Clemson's Tommy Bowden, for whom he worked at Tulane and Clemson. Senior quarterback Rasheed Marshall has taken advantage, throwing for 1,755 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushing for 790 yards to become the first Mountaineer to earn Big East offensive player of the year. "Sometimes you can defense a play perfectly and another kid is so good he can make something out of it; they've got a couple of those (kids)," Bowden said. "That quarterback can do that. That guy is the closest we've come to facing somebody like that since (Michael) Vick." Defensively, West Virginia plays an unorthodox 3-3-5, which Bowden said "can create problems because we don't ever see it."
_ BRIAN LANDMAN, Times staff writer