"That was the first time we played like that and we won," Bowden said in a Sunday conference call. "It was our time to lose and we didn't lose."
The FSU performance against the admittedly overmatched Orange featured three turnovers and two missed field goals. The Seminoles were also hurt by a questionable call that negated a touchdown pass to Chauncey Stovall and several miscues on special teams Bowden attributed to his team's mental state.
"That was like our Clemson game (26-10 loss) from last season," Bowden said. "It was like we were trying to commit suicide."
This time he saw it coming. And after an impassioned halftime speech, his Seminoles were able to do just enough to get the win.
"The kids didn't think we had a game," he said.
"There were some little evidences of it. During the pre-game meal, when they were getting of the bus, when they were getting dressed…there were a lot of signs that we were not focused."
Leading rusher Leon Washington, whose second-half efforts single-handedly bailed out the FSU offense, agreed. Washington said looking ahead to their next game with an impressive Virginia team may have been a factor.
"I think there's a natural tendency to do that," said Washington, who tallied a career-high 168 yards and both FSU touchdowns.
"We were all watching Virginia play Clemson Thursday night. We were heavily favored. The important thing is that we came out of it with a victory."
Bowden said that, as of now, Wyatt Sexton will remain his starting quarterback heading into the game against the undefeated Cavaliers, citing that Chris Rix has not fully recovered from a severe ankle sprain.
After a strong first start at home against North Carolina, Sexton appeared tentative at times in the face of a hostile crowd in unfamiliar surroundings.
The sophomore connected on15-of-24 passes for 169 and one interception. On what appeared to be a third-quarter touchdown pass to Stovall in the back of the end zone, officials ruled Stovall did not drag his foot inbounds before making the catch.
"I don't think I took any steps forward," Sexton said.
"But I also think I didn't play too badly. I just hope I can continue to play and grow this weekend but that is [Bowden's] decision."
The Cavaliers (5-0), blowout winners over both Syracuse and Clemson, will seek to defeat the Seminoles for the first time since 1995 when they handed FSU their first ever ACC loss.