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Battle contrite about overexuberance

© St. Petersburg Times
published October 27, 2002

TALLAHASSEE -- When Notre Dame quarterback Carlyle Holiday completed a 65-yard touchdown to Arnaz Battle on the first play from scrimmage, it was Holiday's longest pass and Battle's longest reception.

Battle became so excited he drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that meant a longer extra point -- and punishment from coach Tyrone Willingham in the form of extra running.

Nicholas Setta made the kick, and Notre Dame rolled to a 34-24 victory. Battle doesn't figure to get out his punishment.

"Hopefully he'll have a little sympathy for me," Battle said. "I doubt he will. It was a great feeling and I apologized to Coach Willingham after I did it. Before we started the game, he told us to lose ourselves within the team. Team is first.

"I was selfish in that situation. I kind of got caught up in the moment, very excited. I got hit with a penalty. We could have missed the extra point and the game could have come down to that. But it didn't and I'm glad it didn't."

The connection also was the first time in 17 years the Irish scored on their first play from scrimmage. On Oct.25, 1985, Allen Pinkett scored on the opening play against USC.

LEARN FROM THE PAST: When Notre Dame last defeated Florida State, in 1993, the Irish moved to No.1 in the polls, then lost the following week at home to Boston College.

The Eagles are the opponent next week in South Bend, Ind. Willingham made it a point to remind the players after the game.

"He was telling us to remember that," tight end Matt Root said. "He told us that Notre Dame was coming off a huge win over Florida State and that they let up the next week and lost to Boston College. He told us not to be satisfied with 8-0."

MISSPEAKING: In describing Notre Dame's winning method -- forcing turnovers and turning them into points -- FSU coach Bobby Bowden likened the Irish to "serial killers; they kill everybody the same way."

In a statement released shortly after, Bowden apologized: "In the press conference after the game, I used an analogy that I should not have said, especially in the wake of recent events. I certainly meant no disrespect by the response I gave to the question."

CAREER DAY: FSU junior receiver Anquan Boldin had nine catches for 175 yards, both career highs.

MORE MONEY, MORE MONEY: FSU officially capped its Dynasty Campaign by surpassing its goal of raising $70-million for scholarship endowments and facility upgrades.

"It's really exciting," athletic director Dave Hart said.

PEP TALK: Maj. Gen. Franklin Hagenbeck, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, spoke to the Seminoles Friday night and attended the game. Hagenbeck graduated from FSU and served on Bowden's staff as a grad assistant from 1977-78.

TIDBITS: FSU's 20-play second-quarter scoring drive was its longest this season. The longest was a 14-play drive against Clemson. ... The 84,106 fans set a Doak Campbell Stadium record. The record was 83,042 in 2000 when Florida visited. ... It was the 300th FSU game at Doak Campbell. The first was Oct.7, 1950 against Randolph-Macon, a 40-7 FSU victory. ... Going to 1991, this is the third time FSU has lost back-to-back. In 1991, FSU lost to Miami and Florida in successive games. In 2001, the Seminoles fell to North Carolina State and Florida. The Seminoles lost to Miami in their last game, Oct.12.

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