Defining Moment

It was an uphill climb from the start Saturday against Georgia Tech. On FSU's opening play from scrimmage, Craphonso Thorpe fumbled a reverse after a 16-yard gain. As was the case last weekend against Maryland, the 'Noles were forced to lean on their defense. In the end, FSU salvaged an important victory, one that must might help define FSU's season. "We had a lot of confidence in our offense," said defensive end Eric Moore, who had 1 ½ sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

It was an uphill climb from the start Saturday against Georgia Tech.

On Florida State's opening play from scrimmage, Craphonso Thorpe fumbled a reverse after a 16-yard gain. As was the case last weekend against Maryland, the Seminoles were forced to lean on their defense.

"Our offense is like molasses -- they're slow but they come through," cornerback Stanford Samuels said.

"We knew if we bought them time, they would come through for us."

In the first half, the Seminoles had all of 26 yards, one completion, and one first down. Time of possession might have been the most telling statistic.

The Seminoles had the ball for only 6:54 in the first 30 minutes. In fact, FSU's offense ended a first half of futility by getting booed as they left the field.

In the end, however, the Seminoles fought through difficult situations to upended Georgia Tech 14-13.

"We had a lot of confidence in our offense," said defensive end Eric Moore, who had 1 ½ sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. "We know they can come from behind. We had to keep fighting and keep fighting."

Added FSU coach Bobby Bowden:

``It was like checkers (and) they were a jump ahead of us,'' Bowden said after his team scored two touchdowns in the final 7:09 for the improbable victory. . ``They did a better job of anticipating what we were going to do than we did of what they were going to do.''

Georgia Tech exposed FSU's biggest weakness, which is inconsistency. The Seminoles were up and down against the Yellow Jackets, following good plays with bad ones. Even so, FSU deserves credit. As Bowden said without blinking, last year's team would not have fought back to win the game.

"I liked it," FSU linebacker Allen Augustin said of the Seminoles' comeback.

"I don't want to do it every week, but it gets your adrenaline going. We just have to take it one week at a time and we need to regroup. They ran the ball against us really well and Colorado will do the same. We need to come together as a team. It's not that we were playing bad defense, we just didn't play good defense. They had a good game plan against us."

Reggie Ball, Tech's heralded freshman quarterback, avoided turnovers and mental errors against the Seminoles in the first half. Facing an increasingly strong FSU pass rush in the second half, however, he began to force plays.

On the Jackets' first three possessions of the third quarter, Ball was 1 of 3 passing, was sacked twice and lost a fumble. He rallied in the fourth quarter, but his best play of the half was the easiest -- a handoff to tailback P. J. Daniels which turned into a 47-yard touchdown run to give the Jackets a 13-0 lead.

In the end, however, FSU salvaged a win.

"There are going to be games like this where you really see what kind of team you have as a whole," cornerback Bryant McFadden said.

"I would go through these situations early rather than late because you might not know how you will react. Early in the game, the offense wasn't clicking at all. It showed a good sign about team unity because nobody was pointing fingers. Everyone was trying to rally behind the offense, ‘We got your back, we got your back.' They got it clicking in late in the fourth quarter. That's what we were looking for, the defense was just trying to pull for the offense."


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