Rix Is Back

Two embattled seniors will likely end their playing careers at Florida State in two different fashions. Fresh off a 20-17 upset loss at Maryland, the Florida State coaching staff decided to reinstate quarterback Chris Rix to his starting role and relegate inconsistent place kicker Xavier Beitia to the bench.


Rix entered in the fourth quarter against the Terrapins but failed to direct the Seminoles to a comeback. He completed 8-of-21 passes for 140 yards in relief of Wyatt Sexton, who has started the previous five games for the Seminoles (6-2).

Offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden pointed to Rix's mobility as the deciding factor.

"I think we feel that Wyatt does some things better than Chris, and on the same hand, Chris will do some things that the result may be better just out of his ability to scramble and make some plays," he said.

"The one thing that can really hurt man coverage is a guy that can buy time, because you can't cover that long. Now, Wyatt doesn't give you that, Chris does. We know what we just faced. Look at Duke, we're going to face a whole 60 minutes more."

Sexton, arguably the better passer, has totaled 1,204 yards and seven touchdown passes this season but committed five turnovers in the past two games. The sophomore struggled to evade the Maryland pass rush before he was pulled to begin the third quarter.

In five drives, Rix directed the Seminoles to their only offensive score, a 16-yard strike to Chauncey Stovall that gave him his first touchdown pass of the season.

The senior was erratic otherwise, missing several open receivers on drives that led to a punt, two missed field goals and a turnover on downs. On FSU's final drive, he was unable to connect with open receivers on three consecutive plays.

"I'm grateful," said Rix, who received the news in a sit-down meeting with quarterbacks coach Darryl Dickey early Monday afternoon. "I didn't know what they were going to do. I was just trusting in the coaches and waiting to get the word."

Rix's return ensured he would not lose a job he had held for three-plus seasons due to injury. After recovering from a high ankle sprain, Rix has been available but unused on the FSU sideline.

"I never thought that," he said. "I always believed that I would get a chance. You never want to think negative thoughts. It came later than I probably would have hoped, but it's better late than never."

The injury is no longer a factor.

"My ankle feels fine, a little sore from the other night," he said. "Other than that just typical bumps and bruises, but it's a good sore. I've missed being sore in that aspect."

Rix ranks second in school history in touchdown passes (61), completions (541) and passing yardage (7,989).

Freshman Gary Cismesia will take over at place kicker for Beitia, who missed three of four attempts against the Terrapins. Beitia, who made his first career game-winning kick a week ago at Wake Forest, misfired from 52, 44, and 41 yards after hitting a career-long 48-yarder in the first quarter. He has made just 12-of-21 (57 percent) kicks this season including three blocks.

The Seminoles did not hold practice Monday evening and Beitia was unavailable for comment.

Bowden also said James Coleman would start in place of B.J. Dean at fullback.

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