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Last play leaves FSU in last place

The 'Noles can’t grab a desperation pass and now sit at the bottom of the ACC Atlantic.

By BRIAN LANDMAN
Published October 22, 2006


TALLAHASSEE — Florida State receiver Greg Carr thought he had it.

So did the hundreds of black-shirted fans in the south end zone stands who raised their arms and their voices skyward when they saw him launch his

6-foot-6 frame up for a desperation pass from Drew Weatherford that would have stunned Boston College.
“I had my hands on it,” Carr said.

Cornerback Larry Anam, however, was in front of Carr and had his hands on the ball, too, as the pair ended up in a heap.

“There wasn’t much I could do but try to fight for the ball,” the sophomore continued, adding he heard the crowd cheer but knew immediately it was for naught. “I just looked at the ref’s hands. He was signaling touchback.”

Anam’s interception, reviewed and upheld by the replay official, sealed a 24-19 Eagles win in an ACC game Saturday afternoon in front of an announced 83,043 at Doak Campbell Stadium.

While the No. 22-ranked Eagles (6-1, 3-1) remain in contention for the Atlantic division title and a berth in the league championship game, the Seminoles (4-3, 2-3) find themselves in the strangest of territories. They are last in the division and have lost two league games at home. They were 55-2 at Doak in league play entering this season.

Not only is a Bowl Championship Series game all but out of the picture, the Seminoles are in danger of not playing in a traditional New Year’s Day bowl game for the first time since 1990.

“I don’t worry about it,” coach Bobby Bowden said of his team’s position. “I’ve just got to do something about it.”
Job No. 1 is correcting mistakes.

“Too many errors, too many errors to win,” Bowden said. “Two crucial errors probably within what, a minute … 40 seconds that got you beat.”

Even after gift-wrapping Boston College’s first score when tight end Caz Piurowski, the former Land O’Lakes High star, was stripped of the ball and saw it returned to the FSU 1, the Seminoles had a 10-7 lead late in the opening half.
Their injury-ravaged defense, which had four freshmen in the starting lineup, then forced a punt. But sophomore linebacker Benjamin Lampkin, a walk-on, roughed Johnny Ayers.

“We think we’re Superman, and we ain’t,” Bowden said.

The Eagles capitalized on their second chance as tailback L.V. Whitworth scored on a 6-yard run with 51 seconds left in the half. More than enough time for another FSU mistake.

Weatherford looked for Carr on the left sideline. But cornerback DeJaun Tribble, beaten badly on FSU’s earlier touchdown to Carr, jumped in front of the throw, intercepted it and returned it 36 yards for another score that prompted boos from the crowd.

Down 24-10 entering the final quarter, the Seminoles mounted a comeback. With backup Xavier Lee warming up, Weatherford got hot — and got some help from an acrobatic diving catch from former St. Petersburg Catholic star receiver Chris Davis — and capped the drive with a 1-yard run with 13:36 left.

“I had the feeling out there, 'This is the best I’ve seen us play and the worst I’ve seen us play,’’’ Bowden said.
The defense held. And Weatherford methodically marched the Seminoles, wearing specially designed black uniforms to honor the Seminole Tribe of Florida, from their 20 to the Eagles 8.

“That whole drive, everybody thought for sure we were going to score,” Piurowski said. “You could see it in everybody’s eyes that we were going to go down there and score and get back in the game.”

On third and 3, center John Frady rolled the shotgun snap to Weatherford, who took a 1-yard loss. On fourth down, the Eagles blitzed. Weatherford stepped up and threw just as he was hit on the right arm, causing the ball to bounce inches in front of tailback Antone Smith.

“We had a lot of confidence, and we were moving the ball well. And we were making good decisions. It’s unfortunate,” said Weatherford, who was 32-of-48 for 326 yards. “A lot of credit has to go to Boston College. They really tightened their defense down there, and we didn’t execute as well as we should have.”

BC took a safety with 27 seconds left so it could free kick and force the Seminoles, without timeouts and a running clock, to try to pull off a Doug Flutie to Gerard Phelan-like upset.

They thought they had.

And didn’t.