Stepping Up

<b> Chris Davis</b> didn't get a chance to say much to <b>Craphonso Thorpe</b> late Saturday night. Davis and a handful of teammates rushed to the hospital to see Thorpe following Florida State's double-overtime victory over North Carolina State. Thorpe underwent emergency surgery after breaking his lower right leg and will be lost for the remainder of the season.

Davis, a redshirt freshman from St. Petersburg, has been down the road to recovery that Thorpe must travel. Davis also was one of the first players who rushed to the ambulance to talk to Thorpe before he was taken to the hospital from Doak Campbell Stadium.

"It's hard doing all this and now you have to sit out and wait and work (rehab)," said Davis, who missed last season following reconstructive knee surgery.

"I didn't get to say a whole lot to him. I told him I hoped he felt better and to keep his head up. I know I was down when I had my injury."

Davis will now be asked to step up in Thorpe's absence when the Seminoles return to practice Tuesday. He has 22 catches for 255 yards and two touchdowns this season. Davis also is probably the Seminoles' quickest receiver, blessed with the unique ability to cut on a dime.

"He does have the speed," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said, recognizing that one of FSU's offensive strengths has been long passes.

"I don't know if we can do it as good as Cro did it, but we can still do it."

Davis wants to prove he's capable of filling in for Thorpe, whose 11 touchdown passes lead the ACC. Thorpe is the defending ACC champion in the men's 100 and 200 meters. Players who also will be added to the mix and must contribute include Dominic Robinson and Chauncey Stovall.

"Everybody knows that they have to do," Davis said. "Everybody is going to pick it up and try to keep it going."

Indeed.

Wins against Florida in the regular-season finale in two weeks and the bowl opponent could allow the Seminoles to finish among the nation's top-ranked teams and build momentum for 2004. After a stunning loss to Clemson two weeks ago, that's more than the Seminoles could have asked for.

"We kind of dug a hole for ourselves by losing at Clemson," receiver P.K. Sam said.

"We now know we are going to a big bow game, so we can really concentrate on Florida. We are definitely not the Florida State that won (those) national championships but. … teams are getting harder and we've had to focus more."

That focus will be tested without Thorpe.

"They (receivers) have to step up. That's a big loss," Sam said.

"They've (receivers) have been waiting for an opportunity and this is it. I have to be confident. He (Davis) is good. He knows what needs to be done."


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