UNC/FSU Notebook

In tailbacks Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker, Florida State has something most college football coaches can only dream about. With two game-breaking runners in the backfield, Bobby Bowden can attest to a comforting reality: the Seminoles will always have the option of controlling the game with the rushing attack.

"It's important to have two good backs," said Bowden. "I you only have one and he gets tired, there's a lull. These guys can get the same job done and they do it in different ways. One throws a fastball and the other's got a curve."

 

 Coming into Saturday's 38-16 win against North Carolina, FSU was one of just six Division I teams that had rushers with 200-plus yards on the season. Minnesota, Southern Cal, Auburn, Tennessee and Virginia are the others. Minnesota's Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney, who have already racked up a combined rushing 1,040 yards for the Gophers, lead the charge.

  Against the Tar Heels, both had flashes of brilliance once again but it was Washington that led the charge. Washington finished the day with 153 yards on just ten carries and also had a long punt return negated by a holding call. Included were runs of 59, 43, and 19 yards. Booker contributed 86 yards on 13 tries including a long of 19 and a 12-yard touchdown run.

 

FLORIDA FLAVOR:

 

Twelve Florida natives dot the North Carolina roster and a few made significant contributions Saturday.

  On offense, Bradenton's Jawarski Pollock caught eight balls for 100 yards and had UNC's only touchdown while Plant City's Chad Scott rushed eight times for 26 yards. Injuries to two of Scott's backups also forced true freshman Vince Wilson into action at the tailback position. He rushed four times for three yards. 

  On defense, backup linebacker Doug Justice assisted on two tackles. Justice, a native of Port Orange, started last season but has been relegated to a backup role this season with the emergence of Fred Sparkman, who ranks second in the ACC in tackles. Justice, however, has retained his prominent role on special teams and plays on several units.

 

SPEAKING OF WILSON:

 

 Though he didn't carry the ball much, Vince Wilson made his presence felt on special teams. On a second quarter kickoff return, Wilson tangled with FSU walk-on Anthony Houlis. Wilson lost his helmet in the scuffle, retaliated and then got the last laugh. Houlis was called for a personal foul after providing the last shove. The 15 yards gave the Tar Heels a field position boost to begin a drive that culminated in a 35-yard field goal by Connor Barth.

 

BEITIA MOVING UP:

 

 With three first half PATs, kicker Xavier Beitia moved past former Seabreeze standout Sebastian Janikowski (324 career points) into third place on the all time scoring list. With a 44-yard field goal in the third, Beitia moved into second past Scott Bentley (326 points). Its unlikely that Beitia – a senior who now has 331 career points – will challenge Derek Schmidt (393 points) for the school's career mark.

 

WEATHERFORD IN AND OUT:

 

 True freshman Drew Weatherford got his chance to play but the opportunity quickly evaporated. Weatherford took over on the final play of the third quarter and was dragged down for a five-yard loss on an attempted bootleg.

  Sexton re-entered and played until the game's final drive when walk-on Thomas Keane took over.

  FSU coach said using Xavier Lee was never an option.

 

 "It's still our intention to redshirt him," Bowden said. "(Weatherford) was going to get the fourth quarter but once (he was injured) we had to get Wyatt back in there until we felt comfortable having a walk-on out there."

 

CHANGE FOR THE BETTER?

 

: In most cases, losing a starting quarterback to injury is detrimental. Not so for Florida State.

  The last three times an injury has forced a reserve QB into action, the Seminoles have won games in blowout fashion and advanced to the national championship game later that season. In 1993, Danny Kanell threw five touchdown passes in a 49-20 win at Maryland in Charlie Ward's absence. In 1996, Dan Kendra led FSU to a 44-7 victory over Wake Forest while Thad Busby watched. With Chris Weinke out with a neck injury, Marcus Outzen quarterbacked FSU to a 24-7 win at Wake in 1998. 

 

 

NICHOLSON FAMILY BATTLE:

 

 Junior linebacker A.J. Nicholson made his first career start against his father's alma mater Saturday. Nicholson, who has started every game on the weak side for the Seminole defense, hails from Winston Salem, N.C. and grew up following Tar Heel football.

  Father Darrell Nicholson was a four-year letterman and All-ACC selection for North Carolina from 1978-1981. Nicholson was selected in the sixth round by the New York Giants in the 1982 NFL Draft.

  A.J. selected Florida State over the Tar Heels late in the recruiting process. His brother Derek, is a highly sought-after linebacker prospect who lists FSU and UNC as the frontrunners for his services.

 

 

BYE WEEK:

 

 With the Seattle Seahawks inactive Sunday, former FSU linebacker Michael Boulware was trolling the sidelines with his wife Jessica van der Linden.

  Boulware starts at strong safety for the NFC West-leading Seahawks (3-0). He has totaled ten tackles and pair of interceptions so far this season.

  Jessica, a former all-American pitcher and outfielder for the FSU softball team, was honored at halftime after being named the 2004 National Softball Player of the Year.

 


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