By BRIAN LANDMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 30, 2002
TALLAHASSEE -- Sophomore quarterback Chris Rix did just about everything wrong on his costly interception to start the fourth quarter Saturday against Iowa State.
He didn't take a long enough drop, he didn't throw it fast enough and he didn't throw it on target.
But most important, he didn't let the mistake get to him.
"That is very encouraging," coach Bobby Bowden said. "There's no doubt about it."
Rix responded by leading FSU on an impressive 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that provided what proved to be the difference. He was 4-for-5 for 52 yards and ran once for 3 yards.
"That reminded me of Chris Weinke the year we won the national championship," Bowden said, referring to Weinke's habit of putting up points immediately after giving up points during an undefeated 1999 campaign. "When I look at (Rix) that night, he started off doing the things he should have done. Then as the game progressed, he nearly went back to some of his old instincts, which we're trying to break him of. He was a baby last year. This year, he's a puppy."
CLASSIC SPRINGBOARD: Before last weekend's Eddie Robinson Classic, the Seminoles had appeared in four other early classicgames: the Pigskin against BYU in 1991 and 2000, and the Kickoff against Kansas in 1993 and Texas A&M in 1998 -- and won them all.
"We've managed to win them and they've gotten us off to a good start," Bowden said. "The year we won the national (title), in '93, we were 12-1 and Notre Dame was 11-1. I always felt that one game made a little difference."
In 1998 and 2000, FSU eked into the Bowl Championship Series title game despite losing once. The extra game didn't hurt either time. And this year?
"A 13-1 is better than a 12-1 if it comes down to it," Bowden said.
KICKOFF CONCERNS: Bowden wasn't particularly pleased with his team's kickoffs against Iowa State. Not one of seven reached the end zone for a touchback and one was brought out 51 yards. That one, Bowden said, turned the game.
With FSU up 24-0, Bowden wanted Brett Cimorelli to put the ball to a specific side. He put it on the opposite side and Lance Young nearly returned it for a score. Cimorelli, from Zephyrhills, had to make the tackle.
"Up and until then, we had really been right on top of them," Bowden said. "Their crowd got into it. They got excited. They started jumping up and down and hollering. Then they broke a touchdown two plays later. Buddy, from that time on, we were fighting for our lives."
FIRST TEST: The women's soccer team, ranked No. 10 by SoccerBuzz magazine, kicks off the season tonight against Oregon State in the FSU tournament. But the team won't be at full strength.
Sophomore defender Katie Beal, a freshman All-American, is out with mononucleosis (she will be reevaluated Tuesday) and goalkeeper Ali Mims, competing with Kerry York for the starting job, broke her left leg last week and is out for the season.
"Just like we've talked about how we're approaching the preseason rankings, it's the same way we're approaching our injuries," coach Patrick Baker said. "We've not once said anything about not having Katie and we don't plan on saying that much about the loss of Ali. This is the hand we're dealt and we're going to make the most of it. If we've done our job, we've got talented players across the board who are just waiting for that opportunity and hopefully they'll step up and make the most of it."
A HOMECOMING: The volleyball team's opener tonight at Illinois State will be more than a new beginning under first-year coach Todd Kress. It will be a homecoming for Jennifer Anderson, Kameelah Omar and Trenesha Biggers, Seminoles from Illinois.
-- Brian Landman covers Florida State athletics. He can be reached at (813) 226-3347 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.