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Jones bails out FSU offense

His 173 yards account for more than 30 percent of total offense.

© St. Petersburg Times
published September 1, 2002

TALLAHASSEE -- There is carrying the team and then there is being the team.

Greg Jones blurred the line in FSU's 40-19 win over Virginia, rolling up a career-high 173 yards, his fourth straight 100-yard game.

"He's just getting better," coach Bobby Bowden said. "He's not even close to being maxed out. He's just starting to learn how to run."

That's not what opposing defenses want to hear.

Against the Cavaliers, Jones' 173 yards accounted for 31 percent of FSU's offense, and on the first four scoring drives, Jones carried his teammates.

On the Seminoles' first scoring drive, a 60-yarder, Jones carried five times for 41 yards. FSU's second drive was all Jones, as the 6-foot-1, 248-pounder from Buford, S.C., took nine seconds to plow 19 yards for the score as FSU took advantage of a 24-yard punt from Tom Hagan.

"I was just trying to step up and do whatever I had to do for the team," Jones said. "They called my number and I did what I had to do for us to win."

On the third drive Jones took it easy, running for 20 yards -- half of the 40-yard drive. He had his best showing on FSU's fourth drive, an 80-yard march in which he rushed five times for 59 yards and a 5-yard touchdown that put the finishing touches on the Cavaliers.

"I didn't even know I had 173 yards," Jones said. "It didn't really feel like it during the game. I just wanted to go out there and do whatever I could do to help this team win each Saturday."

Jones brings a different attitude to Florida State. In the past the Seminoles were known for their no-huddle offense, use of four and five wide receiver sets and passing for 600 yards a game. Not this season.

"You gotta love it when your running back just flat out runs over somebody," offensive guard Montrae Holland said. "It gives you inspiration to go out there and do it again and again."

That attitude must have gotten into the heads of the rest of the Seminoles, as Florida State had 397 yards rushing, the most since 401 against Wake Forest in 1995. Jones' 173 yards ties him for 16th all time at FSU and was the most since Warrick Dunn ran for 185 against Florida in 1996.

The last FSU running back as proficient as Jones was Dunn, a former Buc now with Falcons who watched from the sideline.

"He's a beast," Dunn said. "He's a different back than what you're used to seeing. ... He has the physique of a linebacker. He's fast and has a great power. The thing that's scary is that he's big, but he'll still put a move on you."

Dunn holds the FSU record for consecutive 100-yard games at six. With upcoming games against Maryland and Duke, Jones could pass that mark.

"(Jones) has got the tools," Bowden said. "He's big, he's strong, he's fast, but he's always ran like a fullback. Now he's learning to run up there and jump around and make people miss tackles, and he hasn't learned nothing yet of what I think he's capable of learning."

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