Oct. 16, 2004
By BRENT KALLESTAD
Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Virginia was ranked higher than Florida State and looking for its first road win against a top-10 team
The No. 6 Cavaliers couldn’t even get a touchdown Saturday.
“When the Florida State defense comes to play … you see what happens,” Seminoles linebacker Buster Davis said. “We shut teams down.”
Wyatt Sexton’s precision passing took care of the offense as the No. 7 Seminoles rolled to a 36-3 victory over previously undefeated Virginia and picked up their first win over a higher ranked team for the first time since the 1998 season.
Tailback Lorenzo Booker rushed for a career-high 123 yards and two touchdown runs, while Florida State’s defense limited Virginia to 20 yards rushing.
“You get no field position and that’s a (death) sentence against a team like this,” Virginia coach Al Groh said. “It always has been.”
Groh said it was the best Florida State team he’s seen since coming to Virginia four years ago.
“They do nothing to make it easy on an opponent,” he said.
Sexton completed 20 of 26 passes for 275 yards and a touchdown despite having five passes dropped. He has completed 66.1 percent of his passes for 846 yards and five touchdowns since replacing Chris Rix as the starter last month.
“I couldn’t ask for a better outing from Wyatt,” Florida State Bobby Bowden said. “He’s gotten better every game. It’s kind of too good to be true right now.”
Sexton, however, was modest about his second near-flawless performance in three weeks.
“The offensive line made things easy for me,” he said. “All I had to do was drop back and do what I’ve been coached to do.”
Florida State (5-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) easily played its best game of the season, getting big plays from its special teams and beating Virginia for the seventh straight time at home.
Florida State’s win snapped a string of six straight losses against top-10 opponents. Virginia missed an opportunity for a road win against a top-10 team for the first time.
With No. 5 Purdue also losing, the Seminoles will likely move up in the rankings. Their only loss was a 16-10 overtime setback against Miami in their opener.
Virginia (5-1, 2-1 ACC) came into the game averaging 42.4 points and 493.2 yards, but was unable to run against Florida State’s vaunted rush defense, which gave up just 5 yards in the first half.
Virginia’s only points came on a 23-yard field goal by Connor Hughes as time expired in the first half.
Only the elusiveness of Virginia quarterback Marques Hagans got the Cavaliers on the scoreboard. Under a heavy rush all night, Hagans managed to complete 9 of 11 passes to set up the field goal.
Hagans completed 20 of 30 passes for 214 yards and was intercepted once before leaving after three quarters in favor of Christian Olsen.
Tight end Heath Miller caught nine passes for 110 yards for Virginia.
Sexton, meanwhile, was slicing up the Cavaliers.
The sophomore shook off the early drops and completed pass after pass, one a perfectly thrown pass to Chauncey Stovall, who outjumped Virginia’s Marcus Hamilton for the ball and a 19-0 lead.
Despite four drops, Sexton completed 16 of 21 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown in the first half, throwing to nine receivers.
Florida State’s special teams started the scoring.
Linebacker Ernie Sims broke free from his left side and blocked Sean Johnson’s punt into the end zone midway through the first quarter for a safety and a 2-0 Florida State lead.