Oct. 18, 2003
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Bobby Bowden isn’t chasing Joe Paterno anymore.
Chris Rix threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Craphonso Thorpe and Xavier
Beitia kicked four field goals Saturday night as No. 7 Florida State gave
Bowden his 338th career coaching victory, 19-14 over Virginia.
The victory moved the 73-year-old Bowden into a tie with Penn State’s
Paterno for first place on the Division I-A coaching victories list. The
Nittany Lions were off Saturday.
Bowden, in his 28th year at Florida State and 38th as a head coach, got some
help from Virginia.
The Cavaliers (4-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) turned the ball over
twice and lost 17 yards when the ball was snapped prematurely on a key late
third-down play, the huge loss killing Virginia’s chances.
The Seminoles (6-1, 5-0) then ran out the clock, driving inside the
Cavaliers 10 as Virginia burned its timeouts before time ran out.
Florida State also won with defense, holding the Cavaliers to minus 5
rushing yards on just nine attempts as Virginia tried to win on the arm of Matt
Schaub. He was 39-for-53 for 326 yards and two touchdowns, but was still
setting his offense when the biggest snap of the night sailed by.
Until then, the Cavaliers looked poised to take it to the wire.
Alvin Pearman, starting in place of injured Wali Lundy, set a school record
with 16 catches for 134 yards for the Cavaliers, and Heath Miller caught nine
for 77 yards. Each also pulled in a touchdown pass from Schaub, with Miller’s
8-yarder midway through the third quarter making it 16-14.
But Beitia added his fourth field goal, a 39-yarder, later in the quarter
and the Seminoles’ defense made all the stops it needed at the end.
The Seminoles had a chance to push their lead to eight with 8:39 to play,
but Beitia’s 38-yard field goal was low and sailed wide left.
Schaub promptly hit Pearman for 14 yards and the Cavaliers were facing a
third-and-3 from their 42. Schaub was still setting up the offense and wasn’t
even looking when the ball suddenly was snapped past him. But the time Schaub
slid and covered it, it was for a drive-killing 17-yard loss.
Rix, who was 12-for-25 for 189 yards and no turnovers, then kept the ball on
the ground as the Seminoles chewed up the clock and hung on.
The Seminoles went three-and-out on their first series, two-and-gone on
their second. Rix hit Thorpe near midfield as cornerback Almondo Curry slipped,
and the ACC sprint champion blazed untouched down the right sideline when
safety Jay Dorsey inexplicably didn’t even hit him.
Virginia drove 92 yards in just over three minutes for its first touchdown
late in the first half, Pearman taking a swing pass from Schaub 21 yards with
13 seconds left to make it 13-7. The throw was Schaub’s 33rd of the half, while
the Cavaliers ran the ball just four times.
Virginia outgained the Seminoles 222-201 in the half despite having
possession for less than 11 minutes, but the turnovers made the difference.