In his first game since sustaining a knee injury, Greg Jones makes his presence known.
By Wire services
Published August 31, 2003
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Ask Florida State players who they consider their team's leader, and most will mention running back Greg Jones.
How fitting, then, that Jones turned in the most memorable play during the Seminoles' 37-0 victory Saturday against North Carolina.
Just before he ended a run near the end of the first quarter, Jones slammed his right shoulder pad into the sternum of Tar Heels free safety Dexter Reid.
The blow sent Reid onto his back and separated Reid's helmet from his head. The crowd of 59,800, full of North Carolina fans, let out a collective groan.
Jones, who missed the Seminoles' final five games last season with a knee injury, had reverted to his old ways.
The No. 13 Seminoles might be back to their old ways, too.
"Everybody played well - offense, defense and special teams," Jones said. "Hopefully, we can keep building from here."
The offense moved the ball almost at will against the young and relatively inexperienced Tar Heels. Jones posted FSU's first score of the season, a 5-yard run with 9:14 left in the first half. The senior captain finished the game with 59 yards on eight carries.
"I've been anticipating this for a long time," Jones said. "I wanted to get in there and take some hits directly on my knee and see if it would hold up. I didn't have any problems with it at all."
After the FSU defense forced North Carolina to punt on its ensuing possession, the Seminoles engineered a three-play, 70-yard touchdown drive. Tailback Lorenzo Booker recorded a 13-yard run that was followed by a 43-yard pass from Rix to Willie Reid. Rix then ended the drive with his 1-yard plunge over his offensive line.
Booker capped the Seminoles' fourth possession of the game - which will no doubt be remembered for Jones' collision with Reid - with a 21-yard run around the left tackle.
The Seminoles had a 21-0 lead, and their defense ensured the Tar Heels didn't challenge again by intercepting two passes and recovering a fumble. As he walked off the field once the game ended, middle linebacker Allen Augustin glanced at the stadium's main scoreboard.
"That's the greatest feeling in the world," Augustin said. "The defense doesn't feel like we maxed our potential out there, but it's the first game.
"You have to get your feet wet."
Tar Heels quarterback Darian Durant, the ACC's leader in total offense last season, threw for just 145 yards and ran for just 22 more. He completed 18 of 31 passes and threw a pass that was picked off in the FSU end zone by cornerback Stanford Samuels.