Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

... and Too Hard; Fourth-Quarter Comeback Allows Seminoles to Avoid Monumental Upset

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

... and Too Hard; Fourth-Quarter Comeback Allows Seminoles to Avoid Monumental Upset

Article excerpt

Byline: BOB THOMAS

TALLAHASSEE - Florida State may want to hold off on filing a patent for its winning formula after authoring a fourth-quarter rally and sealing a second win in five days with a late interception.

Unlike Monday night's 13-10 victory at Miami, when they followed a similar template, the ninth-ranked Seminoles weren't feeling nearly as good about their 24-17 home-opening win over Troy on Saturday night.

The Seminoles turned the ball over four times, struggled to get the running game rolling for a second consecutive game and needed 14 points over the final 6:12 to avoid an upset of historic proportions.

"It was like a nightmare," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. "It was like a bad dream. I was trying to run, and my legs won't go. I was trying to scream, but my voice won't go."

A Doak Campbell Stadium crowd of 77,217 had very little to holler about - at least positively - until the very end.

Fullback Joe Surratt's 4-yard touchdown run with 1:58 remaining and linebacker Geno Hayes' interception of an Omar Haugabook pass with 1:09 remaining kept the Seminoles unbeaten by the narrowest of margins. Hayes' interception of a pass deflected by Lawrence Timmons came less than four minutes after linebacker Buster Davis' leaping interception at the Trojans' 28 led to Surratt's clinching touchdown.

"We were able to get it in a situation late where we had a chance to win, but we couldn't quite hold them off," Troy coach Larry Blakeney said. "They didn't panic. They didn't choke. They were hard to stop late, and they go to us enough."

Bowden isn't ready to push the panic button after his team managed just 45 rushing yards on 28 carries, but he's identified its location. The Seminoles (2-0) have a week to try and get things corrected before playing host to Clemson in Saturday's ACC opener.

"We just really weren't prepared," Bowden said. "I don't think the kids were really mentally prepared."

It showed up in more ways than the running game struggles. Quarterback Drew Weatherford was erratic early, and the 'Noles couldn't seem to hang on the football, putting it on the ground seven times and losing three of those. …

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