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NO. 18 Florida State (2-1) vs. Rice (0-3), 3:30

By BRIAN LANDMAN
Published September 23, 2006


Forget that this is a nonconference game. Forget that the Owls are winless and have lost 13 in a row on the road. Forget the point spread. This game looms as a big test for the Seminoles on many levels. Did they learn from the near upset by visiting Troy two weeks ago that they better be ready to play each game? Can a sputtering offense get it going from the start? FSU's offense has scored a grand total of three points in the first half. Last week, cornerback Tony Carter returned a pair of blocked kicks for eight points. Rice of Conference USA has allowed an average of 36.3 points and 407.7 yards (234.3 on the ground, fifth-worst nationally) to Houston, UCLA and, last week, Texas. Time for the Seminoles to get fat? "If we don't start to jell pretty soon, I'll have to really do some research," coach Bobby Bowden said. "I meant to say soul searching." Assuming quarterback Xavier Lee sees significant time as the coaches say (but that was their intent against Troy and it didn't happen), what happens if he plays well and Drew Weatherford isn't sharp? See? Big game.