By BRIAN LANDMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published September 18, 2000
TALLAHASSEE -- Coach Bobby Bowden doesn't much care for close games, let alone the ones in which his team has to rally.
So what's he been getting?
But while comebacks have been pretty much the rule since the midpoint of last season, including against Virginia Tech in the national championship game, then Sept. 9 against Georgia Tech, the Seminoles put North Carolina away at halftime on Saturday.
"We were ahead 14-0 and then all of a sudden it's 14-7 and I'm thinking, "Here we go again,' " Bowden said Sunday. "I'm thinking this daggum team doesn't get excited unless they're down. ... If yesterday had ended up 29-13, I'd say, "Boy, there's something missing. This group ain't going to let you beat 'em, but dang, they don't know what it means to put a game away.' Yesterday we finally put a team away. I don't expect it to happen every game, but at least I saw that it could happen."
SWEET REDEMPTION: After he had an interception returned for a touchdown in the second quarter Sept. 9, senior backup quarterback Marcus Outzen figured he might have blown an opportunity to see meaningful action again:
"That ended my reign with the 1's. That's why I was so upset. Just the fact that all I've worked for, on one play, was gone."
Outzen got into Saturday's game well after the result was decided, but led the Seminoles on a 10-play, 97-yard drive that he capped with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Nick Maddox. Perhaps the most impressive play came on first down from the FSU 3. Bowden called a bomb and Outzen, facing a corner blitz, barely avoided a safety by throwing the ball away.
"That's all I can do now, make him believe again that it's okay to put me in," Outzen added. FEWER FLAGS, BUT ... : FSU committed 10 penalties for 105 yards and that was a season low for flags. In the opener against BYU, FSU committed 11 for 93 yards and had 15 for 114 against Georgia Tech. Bowden said the total was "still too many."
ATTENTION-GETTER: Senior tailback Jeff Chaney's 29-yard touchdown run, on which he absorbed a crushing hit and spun away, made SportsCenter's Play of the Day segment. But that wasn't the end of Chaney's air time. Sunshine Network requested a post-game interview with starting tailback Travis Minor, who agreed only if Chaney was included.
INJURY UPDATE: Receiver Javon Walker and fullback William McCray aggravated right ankle sprains. Defensive tackle Jeff Womble sprained his right ankle and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett bruised his right knee.
THE JOKER: With about a minute to go, senior punter and holder Keith Cottrell said Bowden, looking for an explanation for the missed extra points, asked him if he was holding the ball to the left. Before Cottrell could stammer a no, Bowden smiled and said, "Just kidding."
BOWDEN SAID IT: "I told Mark (Richt), "Call whatever's best for us; don't worry about that, Can we run the ball stuff.' I like to put our strength against their weakness. I like to find the weakest defensive back they've got and put my best receiver against him and tell everybody else to get over yonder. That's the way I like to play football. If Mark wants to run the ball up the middle with eight guys there, okay. I've got that headset not too far away."
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