Second Chance

FSU quarterback <b>Chris Rix</b> knows he has a chance to redeem his performance from last season's defeat to Notre Dame. Still, that's not a personal priority as the fifth-ranked Seminoles (7-1) turned their attention to the struggling Irish (2-5), practicing indoors Monday night due to rain. FSU also received good news from the Bowl Championship Series rankings, moving up to third behind Oklahoma and Miami. "I am focused on Notre Dame right now. The goal is to beat them," Rix said.

"The BCS will take are of itself if we can win out. It's a good thing to know for now, but if we don't win out it doesn't mean anything."

Notre Dame, of course, helped ruin the Seminoles' season last year, winning 34-24 at Doak Campbell Stadium. Rix was intercepted twice and lost a fumble, leading to his demotion.

"I've thought about it a lot from the time we played them until the end of the season," Rix said.

"Now I am not thinking about it. I am thinking about this year and the great opportunity I have along with the rest of this team, of course, to beat a great football team. That's the focus. The biggest thing from last year is the turnovers and the trying to do too much. That's my goal to eliminate this year. Give my team the best chance to win. I feel if I stay within myself and the game plan, that will be the outcome."

Rix has rebounded with a strong junior season, completing 59.2 percent of his passes for 2,051 yards and 13 touchdowns with six interceptions and is steadily moving up in the school's and ACC record books. He threw for 339 yards in Saturday's win over Wake Forest.

Rix is not looking for a repeat of his meltdown last season against the Irish.

"I've touched on that before. Of course, knowing that I did try to do too much and things weren't going well and I tried to put the game on my shoulders and the results were not positive," Rix said.

"We don't want to have that result again this year. If I do my part and do what I am supposed to do, I think we win the ballgame."

The Irish already have played two teams that were ranked No. 5 when they faced them, Michigan, which beat the Irish 38-0, and Southern California, which won 45-14. The Irish are 0-5 against teams ranked in the top 5 since beating No. 5 Michigan 36-20 to open the 1998 season.

"It doesn't matter what kind of record they have, they are a talented football team," Rix said.

"They came here last year and embarrassed us. They beat Washington State (this season) I know they killed Oregon and Pittsburgh is a very good team with a great quarterback and great receivers. We really can't look at their record. We can't focus too much on that. We have to know they beat us last year. They are playing at home. There will be a lot of emotion and a lot of energy. We have to bring our ‘A' game."


Nole Digest Top Stories