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Rix rewards staff's faith with big finish

BRIAN LANDMAN
Published November 16, 2003

TALLAHASSEE - For a moment Saturday, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden considered benching quarterback Chris Rix.

In the first half, Rix was 6-of-17 for 77 yards, a touchdown and one interception returned for a touchdown. N.C. State entered 116th nationally in pass defense.

"I went into the half and got our offensive staff together and said I thought we ought to give Fabian (Walker) a chance," Bowden said. "They felt pretty strongly that we should give Chris one more chance. We did, and evidently, it was the right thing to do."

Rix said Bowden gave him one simple instruction as they walked out for the second half: "Let's get this thing going and put points on the board."

In the second half and two overtimes, Rix was 9-of-15 for 106 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers.

"We opened it up a little more, and at the same, we simplified things a little ... and it opened up the running game," Rix said. "The offensive line did their job blocking, and the backs did a great job running the ball."

"He played mighty good in the overtime," Bowden said. "I'm sure we can get better. I'm sure he can be better."

FOND REMEMBRANCE: Defensive tackle Travis Johnson mentioned Devaughn Darling, who died after a workout in February 2001, at the midfield prayer after the game and again in the locker room.

"It wasn't at the forefront of a lot people's mind, but when he brought it up, I just broke down," Rix said. "I thought of Devaughn. It would have been his last game as a senior. His family was here. This win was for D.D."

INJURY UPDATE: Receiver Craphonso Thorpe raised his fist to the crowd as he was taken from the field on a cart. Officials believed he broke his right leg. He was moved immediately to an ambulance and within minutes after FSU won, several teammates went to it to show their support. Meanwhile, center David Castillo, playing most of the season with a broken right foot, injured his right knee in the first overtime. An MRI is scheduled for Monday.

ANNIVERSARY: Just two days after FSU's 17-7 loss at N.C. State on Nov.23, 2002, Bowden dismissed starting quarterback Adrian McPherson from the team amid rumors of gambling and felony theft. McPherson eventually accepted a deal and pleaded no contest to all charges, including misdemeanor gambling.

FSU still is waiting to hear from the NCAA in regard to the rumors of gambling and booster activity that surfaced in the wake of the McPherson scandal, compliance director Bob Minnix said.

But he said he doesn't expect to hear anything until Tennessee State asks the NCAA to reinstate McPherson.

SENIORS HONORED: FSU recognized 12 scholarship seniors before the game, including punter Jesse Stein (Shorecrest) and seven walk-ons, including kicker Brett Cimorelli (Zephyrhills), who plays minor-league baseball.

AGENTS DAY: FSU will hold its annual Agents Day today. Players eligible for the draft select agents they want to meet.

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