Coming Up Big

Florida State was without starting tailback <b>Leon Washington </b>for the second straight game on Saturday against Duke at Doak Campbell Stadium. It didn't matter. The Seminoles got 130 yards from <b>Lorenzo Booker</b> and a 4-yard touchdown run from freshman <b>Lamar Lewis.</b>

Their styles are like complimenting pitches, that's how coach Bobby Bowden has described them in the past. Leon Washington is the fastball, Lorenzo Booker is the curve. Without one, the other is less effective.

For the past two weeks, Florida State's had to survive on the strength of one pitch - its curve.

Booker has taken the bulk of the carries, while Washington watches from the sidelines, still recovering from a separated shoulder he suffered against Wake Forest, Oct. 23.

It hindered the Seminoles ground attack last weekend, but didn't seem to have any effect against Duke. Bowden notices the difference, though.

"I think he's a spark that's missing," Bowden said of Washington, Florida State's second leading rusher and point scorer.

"Not that Booker doesn't do an excellent job, but Booker and Washington are better than Booker by himself."

As the lone running back, Booker came up short in the Seminoles 20-17 loss to Maryland. He carried the ball 13 times for 51 yards, his lowest mark since the season opener. It wasn't enough for his team, and it wasn't enough for Booker, either.

"You feel like ‘I can make a play,'" Booker said. "When you don't get enough touches to, it's very frustrating."

Booker got his touches, Saturday.

He rushed for a career-high 130 yards on 15 carries with a long of 53 yards. It was his second career 100 yard game, and it moved Booker's total rushing yardage this season (743) past Washington (689).

Still, Booker will be pleased to see Washington back on the field, which according to Washington should be in time for NC State, Thursday.

"He's a play maker, that's a guy that changes the game," Booker said.

"He's one of our most dangerous weapons. When we have both of us there the coaches aren't afraid to pound (the backs) all game. That's one of the things where they've been hesitant."

That hesitation was apparent against Maryland. Besides using Booker out of the backfield, Florida State picked up its only other positive yardage on the ground from FB James Coleman.

The freshmen running back duo of Lamar Lewis and Jamaal Edwards, who rotated with the second-team prior to Maryland in preparation as a back-up, stayed confined to the bench.

"The coaches didn't know if the freshmen were ready," Booker said.

They didn't have much to go on.

Besides a few minor injuries and Washington's recent shoulder separation, Florida State's first and second team running backs have stayed healthy for most of the season. So, Edwards and Lewis were relegated to mop-up duty, combining for 13 carries in eight games.

Duke was the chance to get the freshmen some action, just incase Washington's self-assessment of his anticipated return turns out to be a little optimistic.

Lewis picked up 23 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Edwards added five yards on two carries. Lewis' 4-yard touchdown run, the first of his career, was the first score by a true freshmen tailback since Washington found the end zone against Florida, Nov. 30 2002.

"The coaches always tell me to be ready, I was ready today," Lewis said.


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