Last year at Maryland, Xavier Lee got his first start and put up fairly impressive numbers. He was 22-36 for 286 yards and threw two touchdowns. The only thing missing from his surprising performance was a win. Although he didn't start against Alabama, he came in with the score knotted at 0 and led the team to all of their 21 points and the win.
When I spoke with Lee before the Colorado game, he said he was staying optimistic and kept preparing for any game that he may get his chance to play in. He had no idea it was going to come in the team's biggest game of the season thus far. He said he wasn't nervous and just went out there and had fun. "Yeah, that's the thing. I just went out there and had fun."
Lee opened up the ‘Noles' offense with his strong arm and his legs. In addition to throwing for 224 yards, Lee also led the team in rushing with 59 yards on just 11 carries. "I like to run. It gets kind of boring just sitting back there and waiting for people to come hit you. I like to run; I just don't like the hits."
Lee will make his first start of the season this week when Florida State plays N.C. State in front of a sold out Doak Campbell Stadium. He says he isn't approaching this week any different from last year when he earned his shot as starting quarterback "I'm just worrying about what we have to do as a team and the game plan." Lee said, "It's not much of a difference (from last year), I've been preparing the same way I've been preparing the whole time I've been here. You gotta approach it the same, just go out there and have fun."
Coach Bowden has said several times that he feels Xavier is much further along this year compared to last year. X seems to agree feeling more confident heading into the game this week. "It just comes with experience and everything else in between. The more experience you have, the more comfortable you play."
Last year, Florida State went winless in games against ACC Atlantic opponents. Lee knows this game will play a big role in taking a step forward to reclaim elite status in the ACC. "It's tough to swallow. But we have to put the past in the past do what we have to do in the long run."
Lee says he senses a re-new optimism throughout the team and looks forward to what is still yet to come. "Our team has seen a lot more than the press has as to what we can do well. It's about confidence pretty much. I think the team has a sense of that." Lee and the "Noles' host the Wolf Pack of North Carolina State Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EST. It will broadcast regionally on ABC and ESPN2.