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Career day comes at a price


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State tight end Ryan Sprague's parents hadn't missed a game in his five seasons until Saturday.

Bad timing, Candi and Larry.

Sprague, a fifth-year senior, had four catches for 87 yards, both career highs, against Virginia. He entered with seven catches for 110 yards.

"I'm happy and excited, but it's bittersweet because of what happened to Nick," he said.

Starter Nick Franklin, a former Osceola High star, sprained his right knee midway through the second quarter and is scheduled for an MRI exam. Franklin had reconstructive surgery on his left knee and missed last season.

"It's a shame to see a kid who fought back from an injury like he did, which could have been career-threatening," Sprague said. "You've really got to feel for him."

Were it not for the injury, Franklin might have enjoyed a banner day. The Cavaliers were dropping their defensive backs deep to stop the big-play wide receivers, leaving the middle vulnerable to the tight end, a player the Seminoles rarely throw to.

Until this day.

"They had a good scheme for our wideouts," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "The guy who was open was the tight end. I guess we should have thrown to him over and over again."

So why did the Sprague's parents miss the game? Sprague's sister, Jennifer Crow, is expecting her fourth child this weekend.

OUT(ZEN) IN: Senior backup quarterback Marcus Outzen, who served a one-game suspension last week after being arrested and charged with simple battery, got his chance to play again. On his first series, which began at the FSU 1, he masterfully guided the Seminoles downfield. But on second and goal at the 5, he was hit hard by junior safety Devon Simmons and fumbled at the 1. The ball rolled out of the end zone for a touchback.

He did complete 6 of 7 passes for 152 yards.

"When your quarterback gets that little work, you hate to put him in there and not let him throw," Bowden said. "So we let him do that. He did a real good job if he hadn't fumbled on the goal line."

ANOTHER CHANCE: Bowden let freshman kicker Brett Cimorelli, the former Zephyrhills star, try a 42-yard field goal in the final minutes. He hadn't kicked since missing an extra point against North Carolina on Sept. 16.

"We wanted to see Cimorelli if we could because last week, all of sudden, he started looking good," Bowden said.

The ball, however, hit the left upright.

THE 500 CLUB: For the seventh straight game, the Seminoles amassed at least 500 yards. They entered averaging 535 yards, tops in the nation. They rolled up 554.

RECORD WATCH: Senior quarterback Chris Weinke had a so-so game by his lofty standards, but with his 274 yards he has 8,456 in his career to pass former Georgia Tech star Shawn Jones (8,441) for fifth in ACC history.

DID YOU KNOW?: The Seminoles have held three opponents to 33 rushing yards or fewer this season. Brigham Young had minus-2, Louisville 3 and Virginia 33.

CAREER FIRST: FSU freshman linebacker Kendyll Pope came up with his first interception, picking off backup Matt Schaub in the final two minutes.

PLAY IT AGAIN: Sunshine Network's production of the FSU-Virginia game will be replayed at 7 tonight and noon Monday.

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