By BRIAN LANDMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published September 11, 2000
TALLAHASSEE -- To Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, the numbers from Saturday's victory against Georgia Tech were mind-boggling.
His Seminoles amassed 536 yards, including a career-high 443 passing from quarterback Chris Weinke. But they also were penalized 15 times for 114 yards and turned the ball over twice. One turnover went for a touchdown, the other stopped a drive inside the Tech 10.
"We did a lot of outstanding things offensively and yet, we got enough penalties and breakdowns not to show it on the scoreboard," Bowden said Sunday. "We still are our biggest enemies. ... The biggest thing we need to do is polish, polish, polish."
Bowden, however, said the hard-fought, come-from-behind 26-21 win should help inspire his players to rub and rub and rub.
"To be honest with you, I think those games help you," he said. "When Georgia Tech had to fight for their lives to beat Central Florida (Sept. 2), that probably helped them. It gets their attention. When we see the mistakes we're making, that should get our attention and, because of that, we should have a very attentive week of practice.
"To have a successful year, you've got to win the close games and until you've been behind and come back, you never know the character of your football team. I saw too many good signs, but even with all those good signs and all that potential, you're fixing to get yourself beat if you don't correct your mistakes."
IN AND OUT(ZEN): Bowden and his staff decided before the game that backup senior quarterback Marcus Outzen would get a chance to play when it mattered. So, although Weinke and the offense had marched through the Georgia Tech defense on their first three possessions (180 yards and 10 points, numbers that would have been better had not a dropped pass forced a punt), Outzen entered the game with 12:11 left in the first half.
The move backfired.
After driving the Seminoles from their 2 to their 44 yard line, Outzen tried to hit receiver Robert Morgan on the left sideline. In a play that was hauntingly reminiscent of the 1999 Fiesta Bowl, when Outzen threw an out near midfield only to see it picked off and returned for a score, Tech's Marvious Hester intercepted the pass and brought it back 50 yards to cut the deficit to 12-7.
"I think it is normal to second-guess; I second-guess, too," Bowden said of the timing of the change. "If he throws the ball to the other side of the field, he'd have been okay. But he threw it to the wrong side. They anticipated it and they made a great play on it. You live and learn."
What he learned is he won't, by design, make such a move again. It's not "wise."
THE 500 CLUB: FSU's 536 yards of offense marked its largest production since it amassed 532 in a 58-7 win against Wake Forest on Nov. 15, 1997. INJURY UPDATE: Several starters sustained what appeared to be minor injuries, including offensive guard Justin Amman (left ankle sprain), tailback Travis Minor (right quad bruise), fullback William McCray (right elbow bruise), defensive tackle Kevin Emanuel (lower back strain), defensive end Alonzo Jackson (shoulder bruise) and free safety Chris Hope (right shoulder bruise). All will be held out of contact, but are expected to play Saturday against North Carolina.
FSU FIRSTS: Sophomore receiver Anquan Boldin had three catches for 100 yards, his first triple-figure game. Morgan, a native of Georgia, scored his first career touchdown in front of many family members and friends.
BOWDEN'S LAST WORD: "I can't ever remember being around a team where so many people made great (receiving) plays."