FSU Offense Gets Back on Track

Finally unbuckled from their recent struggles, the Florida State offense jumped into the driver's seat against West Virginia with an impressive pair of long touchdown drives Saturday

Those marches beat up and wore down the Mountaineer defense, providing a blow they never could recover from as the Seminoles left town with the 30-18 win.

FSU was clinging to a 16-15 advantage when the offense came though with its most productive drive of the season, a masterful 16-play, 90-yard effort that Chris Rix punctuated with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Craphonso Thope.

"That was the kind of drive that Florida State football is known for," said Rix, who completed six of eight passes on the march. "It was a difference-maker for us."

Rix found five different receivers on the way to the end zone and solid yardage from Leon Washington (15 yards on the drive) and Lorenzo Booker (23 yards) kept the clock ticking. In terms of time of possession (7:16) and plays, it was the offense's lengthiest effort of the season.

"It really looked like we wore their defense down," offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden said. "Chris made some plays and the receivers made some plays and we got some big runs."

The Seminoles appeared stalled when a holding penalty followed by a three-yard Washington rush set up third-and-goal from the 14. But the offense bucked their season-long third-down futility with the Rix-to-Thorpe hookup on a fade route. Thorpe adjusted to the underthrown ball and beat Adam Jones to the jumpball.

"I was surprised they had him out there in single coverage," said Thorpe, who reached the end zone for the first time since Oct. 4 against North Carolina. "I've been seeing a lot of doubles this season. We took advantage."

The Mountaineers answered with a 34-yard field goal from Andy Good but Rix and company had one more performance to give.

James Coleman barreled one-yard through the pile to close the book on a seven-play, 80-yard scoring drive that gave FSU a two-touchdown cushion. This drive featured less Rix with a heavy dose of pounding runs, instead.

"We came out there with energy they couldn't handle," Coleman said.

Booker did most of the work, toting three times for 22 yards. Washington had a 19-yard scamper negated by a holding call.

"This gave us something to build on heading into next season," Coleman said. "A lot of people we doubting our offense so I think this is a step in the right direction."

Head coach Bobby Bowden concurred, saying big plays also helped make the difference Saturday.

"I have never been through a year like this where all of a sudden your offense goes dry. We couldn't do anything. This is what's been missing all year. We finally got it but now the season's over."

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