Sunday Blitz

While FSU coach <b>Bobby Bowden</b> was not prepared to judge his team Sunday following one game, there certainly was plenty to smile about. FSU dominated North Carolina 37-0 Saturday night, registering 553 yards of total offense and pinning the Tar Heels with their first shutout in a season opener since 1966. The loss also was UNC's seventh straight at Kenan Stadium, tying a school record for consecutive home defeats set in 1987-88. "Somewhere in there there's some reality," Bowden said.

While Florida State coach Bobby Bowden was not prepared to judge his team Sunday following one game, there certainly was plenty to smile about.

FSU dominated North Carolina 37-0 Saturday night, registering 553 yards of total offense and pinning the Tar Heels with their first shutout in a season opener since 1966. The loss also was UNC's seventh straight at Kenan Stadium, tying a school record for consecutive home defeats set in 1987-88.

Still, Bowden offered a realistic view as the Seminoles(1-0) turn their attention to Saturday's home opener against wounded Maryland, an upset victim against Northern Illinois last Thursday.

"We can't judge it on one game," Bowden said during his conference call with the media.

"Clemson not as bad as they looked (30-0 defeat to Georgia Saturday) and we're not as good as we looked. Somewhere in there there's some reality. I saw a bunch of mistakes."

Even so, the good news was FSU traveled to Chapel Hill, N.C. with plenty of questions and arrived back home Sunday morning with plenty of answers.

Offensively, quarterback Chris Rix turned in a superb effort, completing 11 of his first 12 passes with a pair of 1-yard scoring runs in the opening half and a 7-yard TD pass late in the third quarter. He finished 17-of-26 for 232 yards before giving way to Fabian Walker and Wyatt Sexton.

Rix was able to hit receivers or running backs with swing passes or short routes that turned into big gains due to the Seminoles' speed advantage. Bowden admitted Rix and the Seminoles were able to execute their game plan perfectly against the overmatched Tar Heels.

"We probably have as much skill as we've had in a long time," Bowden said.

"Sometimes it takes you about three series… but it seemed like last night the things our off staff wanted to do they did. I think they did a pretty good job of preparing for this team."

Rix's young offensive line also was able to display its potential, helping the Seminoles average 6.8 yards per play and surrendering just two sacks. FSU also netted 237 rushing yards and featured five drives longer than 70 yards.

"It answered them for that night," Bowden said of his offensive line concerns.

"We all have to realize it don't happen every Saturday. There should have been more busted assignments, more penalties, more mistakes. I wish I knew it was going to be like that every Saturday. But it usually doesn't work that way.

"But they surpassed what I thought they would be able to do. It's not that they don't have the ability, it's that they don't have the experience. These kids have got ability it's just getting the right technique and working together. Jimmy (Heggins, offensive line coach) did a tremendous job of getting them ready."

Bowden also marveled at the contribution from tailback Greg Jones, who showed he's nearly recovered from reconstructive knee surgery. Bowden said he didn't think Jones would be in game condition for the opener.

There's no denying Jones' "uncaptured power" as Bowden said. Just ask UNC safety Dexter Reid, who was knocked back and lost his helmet when Jones lowered his right shoulder and forearm and plowed into him at the end of a first-quarter run.

"I did not think he would be able to perform like he did," Bowden said.

"This past Monday or Tuesday I wanted to run him… make him run 40 yards (at the end of runs) to try to get him in game condition. But it was so hot. I was concerned he would not be in shape to play this game. That's very encouraging because we also know now we can rest him anytime we want to."

The Seminoles' tailback slot appears to be in good shape, even though Leon Washington will be out at least two weeks after suffering a dislocated elbow on a punt return. Lorenzo Booker made a memorable collegiate debut, rushing for 87 yards on 11 carries and scoring off the option. Receiver Willie Reid also chipped in 48 rushing yards from the tailback slot.

Of course, FSU's defense also got into the act. UNC's only scoring chance of the first half came on field goal attempts, but Dan Orner was wide right from 51 and 37 yards. Plus, B.J. Ward saved a possible touchdown pass with a bone-crunching tackle in the back of the end zone late in the game.

"That's really one of my favorite stats," Bowden said.

"I believe I'd rather beat somebody 10-nothing than 55-50. Ten nothing seems so much more dominating. I like the shutout. I know that it's … again, how real is it? We don't expect every time it's gonna be a shutout."

While Bowden opted for a realistic view of the Seminoles' opening win, he also admitted his team just be headed in the right direction after two years of frustration and struggles.

"I don't think we've had enough success to be complacent," Bowden said. "These kids are hungry. I think maybe they are figuring it out."


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