Still, Bowden's decision to start McPherson over Chris Rix at Wake Forest Saturday paid dividends. McPherson, a sophomore from Bradenton Southeast who was named the state's top prep player in 2000, overcame two early turnovers and threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns as the Seminoles rallied from a 14-0 deficit to beat the Demon Deacons 34-21.
"The (FSU assistant) coaches knew what they were trying to recruit," Bowden said.
"Me, although I did see some film on him and was impressed -- I could tell he was a good prospect -- they had seen some things that I personally had not seen. Remember this -- here I am, somebody tells me a guy's pretty good, and you've got to prove it to me. What did I do? I stuck him in nearly every game. Not a one of them did he look better than Chris Rix, until Notre Dame."
McPherson completed eight of 11 attempts for 118 yards and led the Seminoles to a pair of late touchdowns in that 34-24 defeat against the Irish two weeks ago at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Last Monday Bowden tabbed McPherson as the Seminoles' starter, making his first mid-season change at quarterback since Casey Weldon replaced Brad Johnson 12 years ago. McPherson bounced back from an interception and fumble and completed 28-of-44 passes as FSU rolled up 533 yards of offense.
The Seminoles (6-3, 5-0 ACC), who had dropped their last two games and had not won since beating Clemson at home Oct. 3, sit atop the ACC after North Carolina State's first loss to Georgia Tech Saturday. The Seminoles travel to Atlanta Saturday to face the surging Yellow Jackets (6-3, 3-3).
Bowden says McPherson brings a different style to the Seminoles' approach when compared to Rix.
"Both of them just go about it in different ways," Bowden said. "I think it's very obvious -- it showed up last night (Saturday) more than I realized -- is that when Adrian starts to scramble, he's still got his eyes downfield. If a receiver gets open, sometimes he'll find it and get it to him. When Chris starts to scramble, he's more likely to take off with the ball. I thought that jumped out at me last night (Saturday)."
FSU, which has beaten Tech all seven times in conference play since 1992, is expected to be without ACC-leading rusher Greg Jones, who suffered a knee sprain against Wake Forest. Jones, who had 82 yards before leaving the game early in the second half, will have an MRI Monday. Jones didn't sound optimistic Sunday.
"It is a little sore, a little stiff," Jones said Sunday. "We'll see (Monday). When it first happened you think about being out for the season. After that I went to the locker room and shut it down, it was alright. A lot of stuff was going through my head."
Additionally, senior offensive guard Montrae Holland suffered a right ankle sprain and will be re-evaluated today following X-rays. Starting tight tackle Ray Willis also re-injured his left shoulder and will be re-evaluated.
Still, a team looking for a spark found it in McPherson, who displayed composure and patience. McPherson's first pass was intercepted and he fumbled at the Wake Forest 34 midway through the second quarter, which led to the Demon Deacons' third touchdown.
"I had a chance to get out there and do some good things," McPherson said Sunday.
"I made a few mistakes but is is definitely something I am going to build on and try amd get a litte bit better (this) week. When we were down, I was just staying calm, staying relaxed. I knew we were capable of putting points on the board. This is what I have been waiting for since I got here. All I have wanted was an opportunity."
McPherson got the Seminoles' passing attack in high gear as he hit Talman Gardner and Anquan Boldin with scoring passes to get FSU back into it after their horrible start. McPherson also connected with nine different receivers and added 53 rushing yards.
Bowden says McPherson and Rix, who did not play Saturday after starting 20 consecutive games at FSU, give the Seminoles two quality quarterbacks.
"That's not a good time to have a new quarterback in the game," Bowden said of the Seminoles' early deficit. "I thought he rose to the occasion, never panicked, never backed off, and did some real good things. ... Again, Chris Rix - I want him to stay in the fight and keep battling, learn from this himself. The way I approach it, what did I find out? I found out we've got two good quarterbacks."
INJURY REPORT: Jones (right knee sprain) will have MRI today. Holland (right ankle sprain) will have X-rays today. Willis (re-injured left shoulder). WR Dominic Robinson (right ankle sprain), WR Talman Gardner (right ankle sprain), LB Michael Boulware (quad contusion), LB Kendyll Pope (knee contusion), DE Alonzo Jackson (neck sprain).