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Three youths on offense look like veterans
Two sophomores and a junior step up at important junctures for Florida State.
By JAMEY GIVENS, Times Correspondent
Published September 9, 2007
TALLAHASSEE - With Florida State struggling on offense for a second consecutive week, the Seminoles got an unexpected boost Saturday from a trio of underclassmen.
Wideouts Preston Parker and Richard Goodman sparked a lifeless offense, and fullback Marcus Sims filled in nicely for an injured Antone Smith.
The three players accounted for two touchdowns and sparked an offense that is still struggling to find an identity.
"We really needed that," coach Bobby Bowden said. "Some of the young guys stepped up and gave us what we needed to win the ballgame."
Parker, a sophomore, took advantage of extra opportunities to touch the ball, and emerged as the playmaking threat that the Seminoles have lacked in recent years.
He returned six punts for 74 yards, setting up the Seminoles' first field goal with a 33-yard return, and also contributed in the passing game. Parker had a game-high 89 receiving yards on four catches, including a 36-yarder to give the Seminoles a first down and seal the win on the final drive.
"We got more chances to show something," Parker said. "I was trying to make a play every time I was on special teams and offense."
When Smith went down with a concussion early in the third quarter, the outlook was bleak for the Seminole running game. But Sims, a sophomore, paced the offense with 34 yards on seven carries, and his 1-yard touchdown plunge gave Florida State its first lead of the season. He also added three catches for 33 yards.
Quarterback Drew Weatherford twice found Sims in the flats late in the game for first-down yardage.
"A lot of the guys we weren't counting on stepped up," Fisher said. "I was very pleased with their ability to make plays in critical situations of the ballgame."
Goodman, a junior, caught a 50-yarder for Florida State's longest touchdown pass since Xavier Lee's 59-yarder to Greg Carr last season against Rice; that gave the Seminoles the lead for good late in the third quarter.
There was some thought in the offseason that that Goodman's promotion to the first team was simply to motivate preseason All-ACC selection Greg Carr.
But Goodman's speed and play-making ability will likely keep him in the starting lineup.
"I am very confident out there," Goodman said. "But whether I am first-team or second-team it doesn't matter, we are all out there trying to get Florida State back to the top."