Disappointing Ending

MIAMI - The dissapointment in the Florida State locker room following Friday night's loss to Miami was palpable. Most players seemed in disbelief of what had just happened, and then there were others who had been there too often; they had enough. But they'll have to find a way to put Friday night behind them, and get back on track for their home opener next weekend.

In the west end zone of the Orange Bowl, where only moments earlier, Frank Gore ducked and darted past the goal line in overtime, a message scrolled in lights across the lip of the upper deck.

It read, "I can't believe what I just saw!!!"

On the opposite side of the field, facing towards the lights of downtown Miami, the scoreboard now set, 16-10, the words "Canes Win" sparkled against a black background.

Nine words that told the story simply.

For more than 58 minutes, Florida State held the lead. A rock-solid defense compensated for a stagnant offense, and as the final minutes of the game began to tick away, things seemed under control.

The Seminoles were ahead 10-3, but Miami had possession. Although it was still 80 yards to tie, Miami QB Brock Berlin made it seem like a chip shot.

First, he found Roscoe Parrish for 24 yards, then Quadtrine Hill for 11 more. Sinorice Moss capped the drive from 30 yards out, to even the score at 10 a piece.

All it took, after that, was one overtime. End of story.

"We had our chances to put them away and we didn't. They had their chance to put us away and they did," Coach Bobby Bowden said.

In the Florida State locker room there was shock and silence. The Seminoles were in the pits of a six-game losing streak to Miami, the longest in the rivalry's 53-year history.

Bowden had seen his team on the losing side of the field too often and Friday night pushed him to his limits.

"Tonight it was beyond frustration. I really have to do some thinking," Bowden said.

Undoubtedly, QB Chris Rix will have a lot to think about on the trip home from Miami. Rix finished the game 12-for-28 for 108 yards and two interceptions. He also had two fumbles, including a costly one in overtime.

"I'm disappointed. I could've played a lot better," Rix said.

The rest of the offense didn't fair much better.

"We were crap tonight. We didn't execute like we should," Leon Washington said of his offense, which finished the game with 165 yards and four turnovers.

He added, "I know Chris has been here five years, but we have to put some pressure on his shoulders. You have to get it done."

It was the worst offensive performance in a least one season and it prompted Washington to push for change. Florida State will have a week of practice to mend any injuries and fix problems before the home opener against UAB, Sept. 18.

But for the senior class, part of the damage is irreversible. Friday night was their last chance to walk out of the Orange Bowl as victors.

It's tough to believe, but it's an obstacle they'll have to overcome.

"Our seniors are hurt because they know it's their last shot," Washington said.


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