Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Seminoles' Flash Has Been Dashed

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Seminoles' Flash Has Been Dashed

Article excerpt

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- After six seasons of Florida State

dominance, the Atlantic Coast Conference may finally be

realizing its goal of being on the same football level with the

Seminoles. Not necessarily by climbing up to Florida State's

level, but by FSU coming down to the ACC's.

Actually, the acronym of choice here should be FGU. Because if

the early trend from this sputtering 1998 season continues, the

school that Bobby Bowden put on the national map may soon have

to be renamed Field Goal University.

That 24-7 upset loss to North Carolina State three weeks ago

can no longer be dismissed as a fluke. We can now confirm those

whispers about FSU's offense. It is flawed, inconsistent, and --

worst of all -- its best weapon at the moment is the left leg of

a Polish immigrant.

Nothing quite says that better than the scoreboard at Byrd

Stadium: Florida State 24, Maryland 10.

In most years, that would be an updated score from early in the

second quarter. Yesterday, that was the final. And the sobering

numbers, especially those five field goals by Sebastian

Janikowski, sent an indelible message to Bowden that his team

has misplaced its offensive firepower.

"You hate to say it, but people are going to start saying,

`Whatever happened to your get-up-and-go?' " said Bowden. "Well,

we've lost it."

Remember, FSU travels to Miami next week. And as fairly recent

history can attest, relying on a kicker -- even one with

Janikowski's powerful leg -- to beat the Hurricanes is not a

psychologically comforting place to be.

"With the type of offense we have, we should score 50-55 points

a game," said wide receiver and Ribault High graduate Laveranues

Coles.

A 54.5 average has been the going rate against Maryland the

last six seasons, but not this time.

And unlike that meltdown in Raleigh, where quarterback Chris

Weinke hurled six interceptions, FSU's failure to put away this

four-touchdown underdog couldn't be attributed just to the

quarterback. Or merely the absence of its homerun hitting

tailback, Travis Minor, because replacement Jeff Chaney

performed admirably. …

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