Rix extends hex

Penalties help stop Florida


Florida State sophomore Richie Ortiz cheers as the Seminoles score Saturday.

(MICHAEL C. WEIMAR/The Gainesville Sun)
Published: Sunday, December 1, 2002 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, December 1, 2002 at 2:43 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE - New coach, new year, same result.
Florida coach Ron Zook hoped to do something Steve Spurrier couldn't, but the result Saturday was all to familiar for Gator fans.
FSU used two Chris Rix touchdown passes to beat Florida 31-14, a loss that likely will send the Gators to the Outback Bowl. Florida is now 8-4, while FSU improves to 9-4 and is expected to land in the Sugar Bowl as the ACC champion.
A crowd of 83,938, the second largest in Doak Campbell Stadium history, saw the Seminoles extend their unbeaten string at home against Florida to eight. The loss also snapped Florida's four-game winning streak this season.
"Going to a bowl with five losses would be awful," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said.
Florida scored first in the game by driving to the FSU 10-yard line, but settling for a field goal when three straight Rex Grossman passes were incomplete. FSU answered with a field goal of its own, and took the lead on the first play of the second quarter on a 7-yard run by freshman tailback Leon Washington, who rushed for 134 yards.
Matt Leach's second field goal made it 10-6, but the Seminoles drove 65 yards for another touchdown. Chris Rix hit Anquan Boldin from 22 yards out for the score and the Seminoles led 17-6 at the half.
Florida managed 212 offensive yards in the first half but were hurt by poor field position attributed to its kickoff returns. The Gators started drives inside their own 10-yard line after all three Seminole scores.
Penalties were also an issue. Florida had nine for 84 yards.
"The personal foul penalties were ridiculous," Zook said. "I kept telling them all week we can't do that."
And it wouldn't be a Florida loss without a defensive touchdown for the opposition.
Grossman, who hadn't thrown an interception in 118 consecutive passes, threw one from his own end zone that bounced out of the arms of tight end Aaron Walker and into the hands of FSU linebacker Kendyll Pope. The former Columbia High star waltzed 13 yards into the end zone.
Florida finally showed some life when Grossman marched the Gators to a score late in the third quarter. His 9-yard touchdown pass to O.J. Small and two-point conversion pass to Taylor Jacobs cut the lead to 24-14.
But Rix marched the Seminoles back down the field for the clincher, hitting Boldin from 19 yards out with 13:05 remaining in the game to make it 31-14.

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