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Maddox carries day for Seminoles

Nick Maddox rushes for 123 yards and helps FSU control the clock in the fourth quarter of its win against Georgia Tech.

By JASON SCHNEIDER
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 10, 2002


ATLANTA -- To say Greg Jones was a large part of Florida State's offense is an understatement. Jones had accounted for 968 of FSU's 1,963 rushing yards and scored eight of the Seminoles' 38 touchdowns before he tore his ACL last week against Wake Forest and was lost for the season.

With Jones out and three-year starter Montrae Holland missing from the offensive line because of an ankle sprain, the Seminoles faced a Georgia Tech defense that had yielded a total of 110 rushing yards in its two previous games, against Virginia and N.C. State. How would FSU's backs and offensive line respond?

"It depends on what you measure a good running game by," senior running back Nick Maddox said. "You get one yard and one yard and one yard, then 10, then 15, then 20, and then one yard and one yard and one yard, then seven and then one yard and one yard, then six. But as long as we are moving those chains, the running game is doing well."

Maddox led the charge, slashing through Tech's front seven and at times using his 6-foot, 196-pound frame to do his best impersonation of Jones.

Maddox rushed for 122 yards on 22 carries for a 5.5-yard average, mixing 1- and 2-yard runs with an occasional longer burst. But Maddox, known more for his elusiveness, made the difference in the Seminoles' 21-13 win with runs of the 4- and 5-yard variety, running through tackles.

"The coaches had been telling me I was dancing too much," Maddox said. "I don't know if I was or I wasn't, but it really pushed me to run harder and harder."

And like the power back Maddox was replacing, he made his mark in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.

With FSU clinging to an eight-point lead with 11:20 left in the game, Maddox got the call on five consecutive plays and piled up 29 yards.

Later, with 3:41 on the clock and FSU on its 21-yard line and leading by eight, Maddox had 24 yards on three carries into the middle of the Jackets defense to run more time off the clock.

"(Maddox) made some key first downs when we really needed them," coach Bobby Bowden said. "Running time off that clock, Nick did a heck of a job. He and that offensive line really stepped up."

And Maddox did it without a backup and a true freshman, Matt Heinz, replacing Holland.

The team was prepared to play without Holland, but Willie Reid's injury caught the Seminoles off guard.

The coaches planned to start Maddox and spell him frequently with the sophomore Reid. FSU did, but on Reid's first carry, he lost three yards and sprained his shoulder and did not return.

"That made us real nervous," FSU offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden said. "We had nobody really ready. When we start spreading the field out, Nick (Maddox) has been our slot receiver. Now we are down to Leon Washington, and he's a true freshman."

Maddox never skipped a beat.

"We couldn't have won without him," Bobby Bowden said.

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