Sept. 16, 2007
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- The Seminoles beat Colorado 16-6 Saturday night behind Gary Cismesia's three field goals and a defense that nearly handed the Buffaloes their first shutout in almost two decades.
The Seminoles offense didn't do much, even when they started at the Buffs' 15-yard line late in the game and had to settle for yet another short field goal.
"The most ridiculous demonstration of football I've been around in my life," Florida State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher fumed. "I'm going to tell you what, if I'm an offensive player, I'm embarrassed. Our defense won that football game. It's ridiculous the mistakes we keep making.
"It's my fault. It starts with me. If you ain't coaching it, you're letting it happen. We're going to find 11 guys who want to do it. We'll start on Tuesday when we get back, I promise you."
The Buffaloes were in danger of getting shut out for the first time since Nov. 12, 1988, at Nebraska, until Cody Hawkins found tight end Tyson DeVree in the back of the end zone on fourth-and-10 from the Seminoles 11 with 3:40 remaining.
That was the latest the Buffs had scored in their 225-game scoring streak, the longest in the Big 12. The Buffs' last whitewash at home was a 28-0 loss to Oklahoma on Nov. 15, 1986.
"Colorado wouldn't quit fighting, kept coming back," Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden said. "I was hoping we could get a shutout. We needed it. Everything looked kind of shoddy to me, but it beats losing."
Said linebacker Derek Nicholson: "We gave up 48 points our first two games, so we wanted to get the shutout. It's disappointing, but six points is not that bad."
After the score, the Buffs went for 2, but Hawkins' throw was high, and Richard Goodman recovered the onside kick for Florida State, which avoided its first 1-2 start since 1989 thanks to its stellar defense.
"Colorado did nothing except line up and kick our tail," Fisher said. "Scheme wise, they didn't have to (do anything). Our defense did a miraculous job. I'm glad they're on our team."
Colorado lost star senior cornerback Terrence Wheatley to a knee injury late in the game. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. Coach Dan Hawkins said, "He's fine." But Wheatley didn't look fine limping off the field in the waning minutes.
The Buffs (1-2) had hoped the returns of tailback Hugh Charles (knee) and freshman receiver Josh Smith, the talk of camp before bruising a kidney in preseason practice, would provide a boost, and they did -- just not nearly enough to counter Florida State's vastly superior speed.
Bowden had said he wasn't concerned about the altitude in the Seminoles' first trip into the Rockies, and he was right not to worry.
What bothered the Seminoles much more was Colorado's scrappy defense that made just one big mistake when it allowed Antone Smith to burst through the line with nobody deep to help. The result was a 36-yard touchdown run that helped Florida State take a 10-0 halftime lead -- the first time the 'Noles took a lead into the locker room since last Nov. 18 against Western Michigan.
The Seminoles thwarted the Buffs by using their safeties to shut down the run and relying on their speedy cornerbacks to take away Hawkins' downfield receiving targets.
Colorado finished with minus-27 yards on 25 carries and Hawkins threw 53 times, completing 34 of them for 306 yards with one TD and two interceptions.
"I'm a quarterback, so I like to pass, but I'd like to see our running backs have some success, too," Hawkins said.
But the Florida State offense couldn't capitalize on the good field position it had most of the night.
Smith gained 66 yards on 19 carries and Drew Weatherford was 8-for-18 for 126 yards, no touchdowns and three sacks, and the Seminoles never found any sort of rhythm against the stout Colorado defense.
"I'm not happy at all, by all means," Weatherford said. "We've been doing a pretty good job of getting it into the end zone, I expected us to put it in there when we got down there. But we had stupid penalties, stupid mistakes that kept us out of there."
"I felt like I played terrible," Smith said. "I feel like I left a lot of yards on the field."
A 44-yard punt return from Preston Parker and a 5-yard face mask penalty set up the Seminoles at the Buffs' 15-yard line in the third quarter, but Florida State was forced to settle for Cismesia's 27-yard field goal to make it 13-0.
"This is the first time it's kind of been like that," Bowden said. "When you're backed up on your 10-yard line, you can understand it. When you're on somebody else's 10, that's not supposed to be. I didn't think we were sharp."
Buffaloes kicker Kevin Eberhart missed from 37 and 46 yards. His first miss came at the end of a 16-play first-quarter drive that chewed up 7 1/2 minutes that showed Florida State -- and, more importantly, the Buffs -- that they could move the ball.
It's just that they couldn't get it into the end zone or through the uprights until it was much too late.