Sept 29, 2001
By BRENT KALLESTAD
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida State Seminoles looked like their old selves Saturday night, at least for awhile.
Chris Rix threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns as the 18th-ranked Seminoles raced to an early 42-7 lead and rebounded from their worst regular-season loss since 1983 with a 48-24 victory over Wake Forest.
"I think they realized we can't just go on the field and win with our name," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. "We looked better, but we can't play with a swagger yet."
But with top-ranked Miami up next, the improvement was exactly what Bowden was looking for in the wake of last week's 41-9 embarrassment at North Carolina. Florida State is off next Saturday before facing the Hurricanes at home Oct. 13.
"There had to be a different mindset and Wake Forest had to pay for last week, unfortunately," said Rix, who passed for 262 yards and three scores by halftime. "I don't think we did anything special. Just throw and catch."
Rix, the first freshman to begin a year as the starting quarterback for a Bowden-coached team, was almost perfect with a variety of short and long throws, leading Florida State on six straight first-half scoring drives.
"They were ready to play and just took it to us," new Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said after his first meeting against the Seminoles. "When you play Florida State, you hope you can catch them napping. They weren't napping tonight."
"Obviously they're not used to losing so they came out fired up," Wake Forest guard Michael Moosbrugger said. "A lot of people had it in their mind that this was a down year for Florida State. That's a bunch of bull."
Florida State (3-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won 37 straight home games and is undefeated in 54 at Doak Campbell Stadium dating to a 1991 loss to Miami.
The win kept the Seminoles in the thick of the ACC race as well, especially in light of Clemson's overtime upset of Georgia Tech, leaving all but Virginia and Maryland with at least one loss in league play in the opening month.
"At least it shows we're going in the right direction," senior safety Chris Hope said.
Wake Forest (2-2, 0-2) didn't make it easy for Florida State's defense, totaling 212 yards offense by the half, including quarterback Anthony Young's 71-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Fabian Davis and Fred Staton also ran for touchdowns and Wake Forest scored twice on safeties in the final quarter: The first when Florida State backup quarterback Adrian McPherson was called for intentional grounding as he tried to pass out of his end zone and the second when Jamie Scott blocked a Florida State punt with 1:18 left in the game.
Using misdirection running plays in a no-huddle offense throughout much of the game, Wake Forest managed 432 yards and 26 first downs.
"Wake Forest ran up and down the field on us," Bowden said. "We gave up a whole lot of yardage out there."
However, Florida State managed to hold Tarence Williams to 46 yards rushing, well below his season average of 124.7 yards.
Rix's passing and Maddox's running keyed early scoring drives, covering 80 and 76 yards as Florida State rolled up 226 yards during the first quarter on its way to a 14-7 lead.
But the Seminoles had only just started, scoring four second quarter touchdowns. Two scores were set up by a pair of second quarter interceptions by linebacker Kendyll Pope.
"We might have been down but we're not completely out," said Pope, who also led the Seminoles with 10 tackles.
Florida State, 72-3 in the ACC since joining the league in 1992, has won all 10 of its games against Wake Forest in that span.