'Noles finally have their QB

Published: Sunday, December 1, 2002 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, December 1, 2002 at 2:28 a.m.
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FSU quarterback Chris Rix celebrates his team's blowout win over the Gators Saturday night at Tallahassee's Doak Campbell Stadium.

(MICHAEL C. WEIMAR/The Gainesville Sun)
TALLAHASSEE - Despite finding his way back into the starting lineup in the most unfavorable of ways, Chris Rix showed Saturday he maybe should have been there all along.
After all the turmoil the Seminoles have been through this season - and this week - a win was needed in the worst way Saturday.
Rix came through. The sophomore, who was benched after FSU's 34-24 home loss to Notre Dame, kick-started a passing attack that was atrocious a week ago at North Carolina State and left Florida dumbfounded with his scrambling ability.
Rix was 13-for-29 passing for 194 yards including two touchdowns and added 83 yards rushing in the Seminoles' victory.
He did it despite having several passes dropped by his receivers in the first half. He did it despite gaining the start only when Adrian McPherson was kicked off the team Monday for his involvement in a criminal investigation. But more importantly, he did it against Florida and the nation's third-ranked pass defense.
Last year Rix was 26-for-39 for 224 yards against the Gators, but his team suffered a humiliating 37-13 defeat.
This time, though, football once again was fun for Rix.
It was never more evident than midway through the third quarter when Rix scrambled for six yards on third-and-5. When he ran out of bounds on Florida's sideline, Rix leaped over a metal bleacher, knocking it over before he crashed to the ground. Rix then jumped up into the air and pumped his fist, much to the approval of the capacity crowd.
Then, on perhaps Florida State's most crucial possession, Rix put the Gators' hopes to rest.
After Florida had just cut FSU's lead to 24-14, Rix led FSU on an 80-yard, seven-play drive which ended when he hit Anquan Boldin for a 19-yard touchdown. The score put FSU ahead 31-14 and proved Rix is still capable of leading the Seminoles' attack.
"It looked like we had the right quarterback in there," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "It looks like the quarterback has been through a learning process. He has learned to communicate with his teammates, and it looks like they have accepted him. That gives you a chance to win. That is why were able to win tonight."
You can reach Brandon Zimmerman by calling 374-5051 or by e-mail at zimmerb@gvillesun.com

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