Style Points Aside

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden is no longer worried about style points. It's simply about winning these days. FSU quarterback <b> Chris Rix agreed, </b> as the Seminoles escaped Virginia with a hard-fought 19-14 win. Bowden called it one of the "guttiest wins we've ever had." Clinging to a slim advantage, Rix and the Seminoles ran out the final 6:19 to secure the victory. "We knew it was going to be a war. It proved out to be a battle," Rix said.

"They came to play. We were fortunate we ended up on top. The defense did a great job. The offense pulled through in the end, was able to run out the clock. Xavier (Beitia) took advantage when he had to do his job. It was a great team win for us. We are happy to get the victory and go home."

While the victory allowed the 73-year-old Bowden to catch Joe Paterno with 338 career coaching wins after several years chasing him, he downplayed the win's historic value. Rix, however, felt differently.

"It meant a lot to us," Rix said.

"It was some of my motivation. I had coach Bowden's name written on my wrist band and win. That was the goal for him to tie Joe Paterno and hopefully next week take the lead depending what happens to Penn State. Coach Bowden is our general, he's our leader and it doesn't mean than anything more than getting the win for him. We love him."

The Seminoles also loved getting the win under difficult conditions. For starters, FSU was looking to rebound from its disheartening defeat against second-ranked Miami last week. Bowden also said he was worried about the Cavaliers all summer long.

"Coach Bowden always says after a loss, somebody has got to pay," Rix said.

"That's the kind of mentality we had coming in. We had to get the win, bottom line, to make sure things don't snowball after last week. I am proud of the way the guys came out on defense, offense, special teams and we did enough of what we had to do to win the game."

FSU relied on four Beitia field goals as the offense again struggled in the red zone.

Rix, however, used a big play to give the Seminoles an early 7-0 lead, hitting Craphonso Thorpe near midfield. Virginia cornerback Almondo Curry slipped and safety Jay Dorsey failed to seal off the sideline and Thorpe raced 79 yards for the score.

From that point on, the Cavs dropped their safeties, giving FSU the short, intermediate routes. The Seminoles also relied on the running tandem of Greg Jones and Leon Washington.

"We got an opportunity to go down the field early, took advantage," Rix said.

"Cro made a great catch and made a great play. He really did all the work. They made a little adjustment, got their safeties back throughout the rest of the game and didn't want to get beat deep any more. We had to take advantage of the underneath stuff. Their defense did a great job. Holding us to field goals most of the time. My hat is off to their defense and their football team.

"If we want to go where we want to go and accomplish the goals we want to, we are going to need more than three in the red zone. It didn't come down to that tonight. But, like I said, Xavier did a great job but in the future we have to get more than three. But their defense did a good job, as far as containing us and not letting us beat them deep."

With the win, FSU remains in the driver's seat for the ACC title and the automatic Bowl Championship series berth.

"We beat some great teams but we have some great teams coming up," Rix said.

"Wake Forest, at Clemson, N.C. State. It's not done yet. We have to win football games if we are going to accomplish our goals the rest of the year. We have some great teams we have to play through here on out. Right now the goal is Wake Forest and beating them and we need to take one game at a time."

Nole Digest Top Stories