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Oct. 26, 1996

No. 3 Seminoles Defeat No. 14 Virginia, 31-24


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Thad Busby threw a pair of touchdown passes and Warrick Dunn and
Rock Preston had long TD runs as third-ranked Florida State took
control of the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 31-24 victory
over number 14 Virginia.



Busby threw for a career-high 316 yards and Dunn rushed for 131
yards on 26 carries for the Seminoles (6-0, 6-0 ACC), who had to
rally from a rare home halftime deficit to avenge their only ACC
loss since joining the conference in 1991.



“Their offense was better than it looked on film,” said Virginia
coach George Welsh. “They’re not as explosive as previous teams
but they are the best we’ve seen this year. You never know when
Dunn will make a long run or they’ll make a great catch. They
have good wide receivers and Busby’s timing was much better.”



Tiki Barber rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown for Virginia
(5-2, 3-2), which upset Florida State at home last year but had
no such luck this year. The Cavaliers held a surprising 17-14
halftime lead but fell to 1-4 all-time against the Seminoles.



“We got behind in the first half by shooting ourselves in the
foot,” Busby said. “This team showed a lot of heart by not
giving up and coming back and winning. We are continuing to get
better.”



Busby’s 21-yard touchdown pass to E.G. Green capped the first
possession of the second half and gave FSU the lead for good at
21-17 with 10:37 left in the third quarter.



FSU’s Samari Rolle intercepted Tim Sherman and the Seminoles
were headed for another score when fullback Pooh Bear Williams
fumbled into the end zone, where the Cavaliers recovered.



Scott Bentley kicked a 25-yard field goal 3:25 into the fourth
quarter to extend the lead to 10 points. After a defensive stop,
Preston burst up the middle, bounced off a couple of tacklers
and sped toward the left sideline for a 42-yard touchdown run
and a 31-17 lead with 5:54 to go.



Sherman, who was just 9-of-28 for 159 yards, cut the deficit to
seven points with 2:43 to go on a 23-yard TD strike over the
middle to Germaine Cromwell, who had six catches for 126 yards.



Florida State recovered Virginia’s onside kick but was unable to
make a first down. However, James Colzie intercepted Sherman’s
fourth-down pass and slid to the turf with just over a minute to
go.



“Our defense just played super again,” FSU coach Bobby Bowden
said. “What may determine how far we go is whether we can
eliminate the errors. You can’t test your team’s character
until your team is behind and I was pleased with the way we
responded.”



Green caught six passes for 78 yards. Andre Cooper caught seven
passes for 102 yards and Wayne Messam added five for 90 for FSU,
which is 37-1 all-time in the ACC.



“We worked hard this week on the timing with the wide receivers
and it showed today,” Busby said. “It was a total offensive
effort against a very good Virginia defense.”



Defensive end Peter Boulware had three sacks to boost his season
total to 12 1/2, breaking the school record set by Ron Simmons
in 1977.



“We’re glad that we got the win, but we’re still disappointed in
giving up 24 points,” Boulware said. “We can’t give up 24 points
and expect to win every game. We need to shore up on our mental
mistakes. We did some foolish things out there.”



“The pass protection wasn’t so good,” Welsh said. “They’ve got
the best four-man pass rush. We had them doubled a lot. We
didn’t pass well.”



Linebacker Dillon Taylor had an interception for Virginia, which
extended its NCAA record for consecutive games with a pickoff to
36.



Dunn raced 65 yards for a touchdown with 2:24 left in the first
quarter, but Barber responded 15 seconds later with a 48-yard TD
scamper that tied the game.



Messam caught a 48-yard scoring strike from Busby on the second
play of the second quarter, but Aaron Brooks had a one-yard TD
run just 2:12 later, tying it again. Rafael Garcia kicked a
38-yard field goal with 24 seconds left in the half to give the
Cavaliers the lead.


Seminoles 31, Virginia 24


                      1  2  3  4   F
                      -  -  -  -  --
Virginia (14)         7 10  0  7  24
Florida St (3)        7  7  7 10  31  FINAL
 Florida St-Dunn 65 run (Bentley kick)
 Virginia-T Barber 48 run (Garcia kick)
 Florida St-Messam 48 pass from Busby (Bentley kick)
 Virginia-Brooks 1 run (Garcia kick)
 Virginia-FG Garcia 38
 Florida St-Eg Green 21 pass from Busby (Bentley kick)
 Florida St-FG Bentley 25
 Florida St-Preston 42 run (Bentley kick)
 Virginia-Crowell 23 pass from Sherman (Garcia kick)
                       Virginia  Florida St
First downs                  13          22
Rushed-yards             35-154      52-217
Passing yards               172         316
Sacked-yards lost          3-31        4-20
Return yards                 11          16
Passes                  10-32-2     25-36-1
Punts                    8-45.4      7-37.4
Fumbles-lost                3-0         2-2
Penalties-yards            2-27        6-82
Time of possession        24:24       35:36
Individual Statistics
RUSHING: Virginia-T Barber 21-150, Sherman 6-7, T Jones 1-4,
Medley 2-3, Southern 2-2, Brooks 3-minus 12. Florida St-Dunn
26-131, Preston 4-43, Abdullah 6-30, P Williams 2-25, Busby
14-minus 12.
PASSING: Virginia-Sherman 9-28-2-159, Brooks 1-4-0-13. Florida
St-Busby 25-36-1-316.
RECEIVING: Virginia-Crowell 6-126, Dotson 3-19, Derey 1-27.
Florida St-Cooper 7-102, Eg Green 6-78, Messam 5-90, Pearsall
2-12, Dunn 2-12, Dugans 1-13, P Williams 1-7, Abdullah 1-2.
Att: 80,237


1996 Schedule/Results

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