"The first four plays of that drive were all first-and-10s," FSU assistant coach John Lilly said Tuesday.
"We never got into a second-down situation until we were down on the 1-yard line. It shows he (Jeff Bowden) had a very good feel of what was going to be there and what was going to be open. … the first four plays and all of a sudden we've moved 78 yards. That drive really was set up by everything that had gone on the first three-and-a-half quarters and his attention to detail and the things that were happening in the whole framework of their defense."
FSU opened the drive with first-and-10 from its own 20 following a touchback.
Quarterback Chris Rix fired 14 yards for a first down to Dominic Robinson. He followed with a 19-yard completion to P.K. Sam, giving the Seminoles possession at the UF 47. Rix connects with Robinson again for a gain of 11 and then finds tight end Donnie Carter for a 34-yard completion to the UF 2 yard line.
While Jeff Bowden has been oft-criticized for his decisions this year, there was no denying the Seminoles' production against UF. Even while the defense struggled, surrendering 445 yards, FSU held on the game's final drive, not to mention limiting the Gators to four field goals in the red zone.
"The thing is….he (Bowden) did a great job throughout the game and he went in with a plan and stuck with it that regardless of what happened," Lilly said.
"When they took the lead at 24-17 and had all the momentum, I think it would have been very easy to vary from the plan and probably would not have been the right time to do that. And he stuck with it. And when the point came when it was really time to start throwing the ball around -- I don't know how many years it has been since Florida State threw five passes in a football game and yet that's what we did and had two touchdowns out of it in the first half.
"In the second half when it was time to throw it, he had a very good feel of what they were doing in the secondary and what would be opened. I think the telling think of what he called was when we were down by three, 27-24, scoring on the snake, first four plays of that drive."
Of course, Lilly also was happy to see tight end Matt Henshaw contribute with his first-career touchdown pass, a 20-yarder in the second quarter from Rix. And who says practice makes perfect?
"I don't think we had worked that play but maybe twice all week," Lilly said.
"You sit there and you realize what has been scripted that week and want you are working on. As a total offense, I don't think we worked it but twice all week. I think Tuesday was the last day we really repped it. You start looking at the game plan and realize the odds of it getting called are probably not great. But when Jeff called it and we got Matt in the game…and fortunately we got it off with a millisecond left on the 25-second clock.
"To his credit, we ran it against a look we did not practice against and I really didn't anticipate them being in from a front standpoint. Coverage-wise was about like what we thought. But they were in a little different front and Matt did a good job of getting a release and getting open and obviously making what I realized later when I saw it on the replay was a little bit more difficult catch than I realized at the time when the play unfolded."