Bowden Blitz

Florida State coach <b>Bobby Bowden</b> chatted with the media on Friday afternoon. Bowden again credited North Carolina State's defense for slowing the Seminoles' offense in FSU's 17-10 victory at Carter-Finley Stadium a night earlier. Bowden also defended the Seminoles' play-calling, especially in the first half when FSU was hemmed deep in its own territory. Bowden also talked about FSU's regular-season finale against Florida next Saturday.

The only numbers Florida State coach Bobby Bowden is interested in at game's end is the final score.

And Bowden believes his team (8-2) is two plays away from being undefeated heading into its regular-season finale against Florida at Doak Campbell Stadium next Saturday.

"All I am interested in is winning football games," Bowden said on Friday during his conference call with the media.

Bowden and the Seminoles escaped from Carter-Finley Stadium on Thursday with a hard-fought 17-10 victory over the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

The game featured 22 punts, four turnovers and less than 250 yards of combined offense.

Bowden repeated his thoughts from a night earlier, calling it "an excellent defensive football game." He said he talked to North Carolina State coach Chuck Amato before the game and joked if any team made a mistake, the final score might end 3-2.

Even so, FSU's offense is again being criticized heavily for its lack of production and creativity as it begins preparations for the Gators and embattled coach Ron Zook, who will step down at season's end.

A feisty Bowden defended the Seminoles' offensive approach, pointing to the Wolfpack's aggressive defensive scheme and the Seminoles' poor field position in the first half.

The unflappable Bowden also said any criticism from fans, media and television broadcasters doesn't affect him.

Bowden said he goes into each game with a plan and thought his offense, under the circumstances, "carried it out as good as it could carry it out" against a North Carolina State team that needed a victory to remain bowl eligible.

Bowden also pointed to improved pass protection from the Seminoles' offensive line and improved field position in the second half as keys to success.

"I kept telling (offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden) do not turn the ball over on our end of the field, do not turn the ball over on our end of the field, do not turn the ball over on our end of the field," Bowden said.

"Let's don't make it a short field for them (Wolfpack).. Seeing what I see (after watching film), I don't think I would change a thing. What you had in that game was an old fashion defensive battle."

Hampered by poor field position in the first half against the Wolfpack, the Seminoles trailed 10-0 at the break.

FSU quarterback Wyatt Sexton completed only five passes and was sacked five times in the game, but it was still enough to help rally the Seminoles in the end.

After spending the entire first half on its own side of midfield, FSU started all five of its drives in the third quarter in North Carolina State's territory.

Fullback James Coleman capped the first drive with a 1-yard plunge to make it 10-7. And after a three-and-out by the Wolfpack, the Seminoles needed to drive only 35 yards for the go-ahead score.

Sexton completed a 25-yard pass to Lorenzo Booker on third-and-6 to set up first-and-goal. And a play later, Booker raced in from the 4 to give Florida State a 14-10 lead.

Gary Cismesia added a 44-yard field goal -- his sixth consecutive field goal since taking over for Xavier Beitia last week -- late in the quarter to complete the scoring.

FSU's defense did the rest, limiting the Wolfpack to one first down in the second half (by penalty).

Although Sexton struggled, Bowden said he stayed with his sophomore quarterback because he didn't believe Chris Rix had full mobility from an ankle sprain suffered earlier in the season.

An ineffective Rix was replaced by Sexton to start the second half against Duke last Saturday.

Interestingly, Bowden also said he talked to Sexton in the locker room before the game, telling his quarterback he had no intention of lifting him in favor of Rix.

Bowden also said there are no plans to play Drew Weatherford, who suffered an ankle sprain on his first -- and last -- play against North Carolina on Oct. 2.

Bowden believes the Seminoles offense will improve as Sexton continues to improve behind center.

"I told (Sexton) you won the job last week, the game is in your hands," Bowden said. "I am not looking to snatch you out of there. He will probably grow more from that game than in any game he has played."

FSU, of course, must prepare for a UF team that has not won in Tallahassee since 17-13 in 1986. The Gators also have had to endure their share of controversy surrounding Zook, who will be replaced following the season.

"It (game) can play one extreme or another," Bowden said of the Gators' mindset. "We have to plan on they are going respond positively."


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