Such was the case against Notre Dame, when a Rix interception and fumble helped opened the Irish floodgates. Three consecutive turnovers by the Seminoles – Leon Washington fumbled on a kickoff return – led to 17 consecutive points. Frustration filled the FSU locker room moments after the 34-24 defeat, as many defensive players, unhappy with the quarterback situation, called for changes.
FSU coach Bobby Bowden said Sunday he will handle "any kind of fragmentation we have. I think the natural reaction after a loss ain't happy." He also said he will take a hard, long look at his quarterback situation. A subdued Rix was resigned to accept whatever happens this week, saying, "I tak responsibility for those turnovers. They're on me. Whatever the coaches decided, I can live with."
Bowden said he will not be influenced by discord among his team or from fans, who cheered loudly when McPherson entered Saturday's game in the fourth quarter. He completed eight of 11 attempts for 118 yards and led the Seminoles to a pair of late touchdowns.
"I had not seen anything (in practices) that made me want to move him (McPherson) up," Bowden said.
"(Saturday) I saw more positive things, which now are going to make me want to take a longer look. But you have to be realistic about the game. What if we hadn't dropped five passes in the first half? The other kid (Rix) might have a sensational day. It's hard to condemn a quarterback when people drop the ball."
McPherson, who has overcome an injured ankle suffered in preseason drills, says he will be ready to play when called upon.
"I feel like that's my job," McPherson said following the game. "My job is to get prepared to do something that I love to do every day. I feel like it's my job to go out there and show the fans a good time. That's what I do day in and day out, prepare."
McPherson also believes he has made positive strides on the practice field since the Clemson game, when he was inserted in the first half but clearly struggled. He finished 0-for-6. McPherson was 13 of 26 for 165 yards and two touchdowns overall prior to Notre Dame.
"I don't need a pep talk. Just give me a chance to play and I will go do what I am capable of doing," McPherson said. "Now, a lot of people are saying you might get your chance. But it's like I ‘ve been working hard all year. I don't undestand why when they don't feel he's doing the job, then it's time for me to play. We are going to get ready for next weekend and let the coaches decide."
Once again, the Seminoles' season is on the brink.
FSU must travel to face the improved Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-4). Three of the Seminoles' four remaining Atlantic Coast Conference games are on the road. The last one Nov. 23 against unbeaten N.C. State likely will decide which team gets to spend New Year's at a major bowl (Sugar or Orange) as the ACC champion.
"If we don't pull together as a team right now, this whole season is going down the drain," defensive end Eric Powell said.
"There's a lot of things going on right now. I feel like the best players need to be out there at every position. If I am not the best player out there, I should understand I don't need to be out there. That's the end of it. Until I prove myself that I can be out there with the rest of the 10 guys making plays, I don't need to (play)."
Senior offensive lineman Montrae Holland probably summed it up the best, saying, "Man, I don't want to go back to Jacksonville (Gator Bowl). We've got to pull together. It's that simple."
Or is it?