(footballFlorida State 17GW 20)

NEW ORLEANS, LA. – Finally.

After waiting 110 years, the George Washington University took home its first football championship Sunday night when the No. 1-ranked Colonials (12-0) pulled out a heart-stopping 20-17 win over the Seminoles from No. 2 Florida State University (11-1) in the Nokia Sugar Bowl.

When the polls are released Monday, GW will find itself in the final football rankings for the first time since 1956 and at the top of the polls for the first time in 110 years of Colonial football.

GW’s perfect dream season had never come easy, and Sunday’s game was no different. It wasn’t until freshman tight end Chris Monroe put GW’s national title hopes on his broad shoulders in the final seconds that the Colonials could finally celebrate the victory.

With three minutes left, Florida State’s Peter Warrick thrilled the Superdome crowd with a one-handed 50-yard touchdown grab that put the Seminoles up 17-13.

We were never worried, said junior wide receiver Mike King.

GW senior Jeff McCarthy ran the ensuing kickoff back 40 yards to midfield, where senior quarterback Sam Anyan took over with two-and-a-half minutes left.

Anyan found King for a 15-yard gain on third down. After two running plays went nowhere, Anyan took it himself for another 15-yard gain before running out of bounds with 20 seconds left.

Anyan then took the snap and threw a short pass over the middle to Monroe, who ran 20 yards, bulldozed over three defenders, and fell over the goal line to secure the Colonials’ championship.

We just wanted it more, said senior linebacker Joe Clich?. We gave it a hundred percent. We played as a team. We let the game come to us. We did what we had to do to win. We beat a good team today. All praise be to Jesus.

The victory was especially sweet for GW head coach Bill Reinhart, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday Saturday if he hadn’t died some 30 years ago.

The coach is very happy, his nurse told The Crotch-Itch.

It’s an amazing feeling, Anyan said. I bet they’re partying back in D.C.

And indeed they were. More than 50,000 spectators filled RFK Stadium to watch the game on a giant screen. After it was over, fans spilled into the streets of Washington celebrating GW’s first national championship.

This town lives and dies by GW football, so it’s great to see everyone this happy, said one inebriated fan at local sports bar Mister Days.

Foggy Bottom was especially rocking, as students packed fraternity parties, Lindy’s Red Lion served Buff and Blue beer, and some unruly fans took to turning over cars on G Street.

President Bill Clinton called the team after the game and talked to the late Coach Reinhart before asking to speak to Monroe. Clinton told Monroe that he was a bad mother.

This is obviously the greatest day in GW sports history, Monroe said after the game. I think it’s all the more impressive considering we don’t even have a football team.

-Check out special pullout B section for more coverage of GW’s first national championship.

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