Picking Up The Pieces

As FSU coach <b>Bobby Bowden</b> pushed back his chair to leave, he looked upward, smiled and said, ""I've been so good to that guy (God). He don't like me (laughing)." Bowden and the Seminoles' troubles with the Miami Hurricanes continued Saturday. Amid the rain, mud and sloppy conditions at Doak Campbell Stadium, the second-ranked Hurricanes did it again, finding yet another way to beat the fifth-ranked Seminoles 22-14 for their fourth consecutive victory in the storied series.

FSU appeared to hold all the advantages.

The Seminoles had two weeks to prepare. They entered as a touchdown favorite. They were in good health overall. UM, meanwhile, was essentially one fourth-down catch from losing to downtrodden West Virginia in the Orange Bowl two Thursdays ago.

"We came in here not on a high note," said UM coach Larry Coker, referring to the team's last-minute escape against West Virginia.

"We had taken a lot of criticism, even though we won, from a close (game). Not a lot of people actually gave us much of a chance to win this game. It just says a lot about our character. When you beat a Florida State or a Florida, you have done something."

Indeed.

FSU (5-1, which has dropped seven of its last 10 against ranked opponents and is 18-27-2 overall against Top Five teams, can find consolation by trying to win the Atlantic Coast Conference title.

"You still never know what can happen," tailback Leon Washington said.

"Miami could lose. Another undefeated team can lose. We are going to take one game at a time. We have a really good team. We really have a good nucleus of seniors right now. We are going to be right back in the thick of things. We win out, we win the rest of our schedule and win our conference, who knows.

"Back, in what, ‘88, I think Florida State lost (to Miami) and they had Deion Sanders and all those guys, and they lost 31-0 to Miami. But they went the rest of the year undefeated and ended up No. 3 in the country. So who knows. We can take care of business, practice hard the rest of the year, we will be alright."

Quarterback Chris Rix wants to believe this year's team will handle adversity much better than a year ago, when the Seminoles were torn apart by internal turmoil.

"That's a good question because we definitely have done so many good things this season and we did some good things (Saturday) but not enough to win the ball game. We came up with too little too late at the end," Rix said.

"But I am still very proud of this team and I am encouraged for the rest of the season."

The good news for the Seminoles is Miami doesn't become an ACC member until next year.

"My thing was, I personally felt we haven't played nobody," said defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, referring the Seminoles' early schedule.

"Finally we got a chance. We played against a team as talented as we are. You saw the outcome."


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