November 2, 2002 - by
No. 18 Seminoles Top Wake Forest, 34-21

Nov 2, 2002

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AP Sports Writer

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. Bobby Bowden admitted he would have been speechless had Florida State lost three in a row, something that hadn’t happened since 1983.

Adrian McPherson and Nick Maddox made sure Bowden didn’t have to face the music six days shy of his 73rd birthday.

McPherson threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns in his first start and Maddox added a career-high 122 yards rushing as the 18th-ranked Seminoles regrouped after losses to Miami and Notre Dame with a 34-21 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday.

“This is big for this team, just to show everybody else that the comments that people are making in the papers about us being a team in turmoil aren’t true,” wide receiver Anquan Boldin said. “We’re a team, and I think we showed that tonight.”

The Seminoles (6-3, 5-0 ACC) moved into sole possession of first place in the conference after North Carolina State lost to Georgia Tech. Florida State plays at N.C. State on Nov. 23 to close out the ACC season.

“If we play the best we can, we can go to a major bowl, but anything less than that, there are still people (in the ACC) that can beat us,” Bowden said.

Conference rushing leader Greg Jones had 82 yards, but he left twice with a right knee sprain, and the Seminoles played most of the second half without him.

Maddox, a senior and ex-starter, was more than a capable sub, scoring on runs of 3 and 34 yards. The final score by Maddox came with 1:58 left to seal it for the Seminoles.

A former prep All-American from North Carolina, Maddox was named a captain for this game. He also turned down the honor.

“I wanted to go to coach Bowden and tell him I didn’t deserve it,” Maddox said. “Coming out of high school I had a lot of hype, and I don’t feel like until this year I’ve lived up to it. I didn’t do it because I thought it would be very disrespectful. I just came out and tried to show the world that I am still a good back.”

Tarence Williams ran for a season-high 149 yards, but Wake Forest (5-5, 3-4) lost for the 11th straight time to Florida State.


Adrian McPherson gets the win in his first start as the Seminoles defeat the Demon Deacons 34-21.

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Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said there was no moral victory for hanging close to the Seminoles for 58 minutes.

“If we had been down and come back to finish with that score we might feel better,” Grobe said. “But to be ahead and to be in a position to win right up until the end, it really hurts.”

Bowden benched starting QB Chris Rix after losing three of the last four. The moved paid dividends as McPherson completed 28 of 44 passes, and Florida State gained 533 total yards.

Florida State’s receivers dropped five of Rix’s passes in last weekend’s loss to Notre Dame, but they were spectacular this time for McPherson, who also ran for 53 yards.

“Some guys have a little bit of composure about them – Charlie Ward had it – and I think A.D. has got it,” Bowden said of McPherson. “He doesn’t frustrate very easily, he doesn’t worry very much. He’s one of those guys, if he starts to worry too much, he’ll fall asleep.”

The Florida State defense allowed 155 yards on Wake Forest’s first two drives but shut out the Demon Deacons in the second half and held them to 383 total yards.

“We didn’t get the push we needed in the second half,” Grobe said. “They crowded the line of scrimmage, and we needed to throw the ball a little bit better.”

Wake Forest’s poor kicking game also resurfaced as Matt Wisnosky missed three field goals, the last one a 41-yarder with 9:03 left that could have tied it at 24.

The Seminoles trailed 14-0 midway through the first quarter and 21-17 at halftime but took the lead for good on a 3-yard run by Maddox on the opening drive of the second half.

The Seminoles got in an early hole when Wake Forest drove 80 and 75 yards on its opening two possessions.

The Florida State defensive coaches were scrambling on the sideline to find a solution for the Wake Forest ground attack as the Demon Deacons rushed for 145 yards less than eight minutes into the game.

“I was just wondering how bad it was going to be because we just couldn’t slow them down,” Bowden said. “And they should have had two more (TDs). It could have been bad.”

Ovie Mughelli scored from the 3 for his 11th TD of the season and Chris Barclay added another from the 13 before the Seminoles responded with a 17-point second quarter.

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