About Face

Florida State's ability to adjust offensively late in the third quarter was a major key behind the Seminoles' 38-34 win at Florida Saturday. In a game filled with emotional twists and turns, FSU quarterback <b>Chris Rix</b> twice rallied the Seminoles in the final five minutes, headlined by a 52-yard touchdown to <b>P.K. Sam</b> with 55 seconds remaining, giving ninth-ranked FSU one of its best wins ever over UF. <p>

With leading receiver Craphonso Thorpe out with a broken right leg, FSU's plan had been to take pressure off Rix by running the ball. That proved to be a solid approach as the Seminoles had 102 rushing yards on 24 carries in the first half.

"We thought to win the ball game, we were going to have to run it," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said.

"Florida's secondary really scared me. They have four seniors in the back (secondary) that really know what they are doing. We felt that if we had third-and-long, we had to run because all year long on third-and-long, people have tried to throw and have gotten intercepted or sacked. So the first half we kind of took that approach and, if our running game hadn't gone like it had, we were going to throw.

"It was going good and they couldn't stop it in the first half. They came out in the second half and got things adjusted and they really did a great job of coming back in the third quarter."

As did FSU in the fourth behind Rix.

On the two touchdown drives in the final 15 minutes, Rix completed seven of eight passes for 156 yards. He scored one touchdown on a 1-yard sneak then threw the game-winner to Sam. Rix had completed 6 of 9 passes for 100 yards in the game's first three quarters.

"That's the game and it's going to change throughout the course of the game," Rix said.

"Teams had been very successful running the ball against Florida and, with their experienced secondary, we thought running the ball, we would have a better chance of winning the game, especially with our backs. We proved that in the first half.

"I think they made some adjustments at halftime, and coach Dickey said early in the third quarter we are going to have to make some big plays to win this game. He said, ‘Are you ready?' I said yes, let's throw it. I think coach Jeff Bowden and coach Dickey did a great job game planning, adjusting well at halftime after Florida made their adjustments. We were able to execute and that was a big thing in the second half."

Of course, of the five first-half passes the Seminoles threw, two went for touchdowns.

"Everybody knows when you run the ball well, play-action passes work really well," FSU tailback Leon Washington said. "When you're not running ball real well, play action don't mean anything."

Rix, of course, couldn't stop grinning over the Seminoles' performance. His career, meanwhile, has been oft-defined by his mistakes as well as his big-play ability.

"There are ups and downs and that definitely comes with the position of quarterback," Rix said. "I think you get too much praise when things go right and probably a little too much blame when things go wrong. But that's part of the territory. I am just thankful for that 10th win, to clinch that 10th victory and we can enjoy it for the next month going into the bowl game.

"And we can continue to enjoy beating the Gators for the next 365 days."


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