Oct 20, 2001
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The way this season has gone, Bobby Bowden didn’t give reaching another career victories milestone a second thought.
“It’s amazing. It doesn’t mean a dang thing,” Bowden said Saturday night after the No. 21 Seminoles overcame a shaky first half and beat Virginia 43-6. “The win is what means something. We won a game.”
Bowden tied Pop Warner for third place on the career victories list with 319, just four behind Bear Bryant and Joe Paterno. Penn State got Paterno even by rallying late to beat Northwestern 38-35 Saturday.
For Bowden, the night was all about seeing his team play well after lopsided losses to North Carolina and No. 1 Miami, the kind of losses that raised talk that perhaps the nation was catching up to the Seminoles.
“We finally put a four-quarter ballgame together,” Bowden said. “We hadn’t done it all year. … Tonight’s the first time we finally came out and did something in the third quarter and the second half.”
Leading just 10-7 at halftime, William McCray scored on a 1-yard run and Abdual Howard returned a tipped passed 80 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to get the Seminoles (4-2, 3-1 ACC) on their way.
The interception essentially sealed the outcome, and reserves led Florida State to 17 more points in the final quarter for a 33-point half.
“I was tired,” said Howard, who broke free after being grabbed from behind by Schaub. “My legs were like bricks, but I said `I can’t let the quarterback get me. My friends will never let me live it down.”‘
The play was made possible, in part, by Stanford Samuels, who put the crunching hit on Ottowa Anderson that made the ball deflect to Howard.
“Last week, I felt we let the whole Seminole community down,” Samuels said. “Seeing Abdual take it to the house only made my play look better.”
Bowden, who received a raise to $2 million Thursday, was happy to see turnovers hurt the opponent for a change, but said that the three his team got away with in the first half left him feeling like there’s work to do.
“Our biggest enemy is still ourselves,” he said.
Freshman Chris Rix threw two interceptions deep in Virginia territory in the first half, giving him eight turnovers in two games. Nick Maddox also fumbled the ball away at the Seminoles’ 48 on the third play.
Virginia, though, did nothing after the mistakes, and the Seminoles’ defense made it easy, holding the Cavaliers in check all night long.
|Florida State’s Javon Walker keeps his feet in-bounds on the 17-yard TD pass.|
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|Abdual Howard picks off Matt Schaub and takes it 80 yards for a TD.|
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|Virginia’s Alvin Pearman takes the pass from Matt Schaub 19 yards for a TD.
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“I thought as the game went on, they played progressively better and we played progressively worse,” Virginia coach Al Groh said.
Howard’s interception was Florida State’s second of the half, and both led to touchdowns. The first came when Bradley Jennings made a reaching grab of Schaub’s third-down pass for Billy McMullen at the Seminoles 30.
Florida State limited Virginia to 148 yards while piling up 396 in the first three quarters, before both teams pulled their starters. The Seminoles finished with 533 yards, the Cavaliers with just 201.
“When you end up with seven points, it’s hard to say we had a good night,” Groh said after the Cavaliers suffered their third straight loss.
Rix finished 11-for-21 for 205 yards with one touchdown.
Bowden said he will give the position a long look this week, especially after watching Adrian McPherson throw for two scores in the final quarter.
The Cavaliers’ only points came when Schaub hit Alvin Pearman and the freshman took it 19 yards, tying it at 7 in the first quarter.