Despite turnovers, Bowden likes Rix
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Bobby Bowden was emphatic: Chris Rix is his quarterback, period.
Unlike last year when Rix was benched midway through the season, Bowden made it clear Sunday that his mistake-prone junior quarterback gives the Seminoles their best chance of winning regardless of how many turnovers he makes.
"There's no question on it," Bowden said Sunday.
Rix had four turnovers in the first half of a 22-14 loss to Miami that dropped the Seminoles (5-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) from fifth to seventh in the AP poll.
Bowden said Rix's speed and mobility give him a big edge over backups Fabian Walker and Wyatt Sexton. Walker, who started in the Sugar Bowl loss to Georgia and is the No. 2 quarterback, has thrown 23 passes this season and Sexton five.
"What's the difference between our quarterback and anybody that lost yesterday?" asked Bowden, now 11-17 at Florida State against the Hurricanes.
"You've got to make good decisions," Bowden said. "You can make that assessment about any quarterback."
Rix, who completed 20 of 42 passes for 235 yards against Miami, was also sacked three times. He is now 19-8 as a starter at Florida State and 0-3 against Miami.
After a midseason loss to Notre Dame last year when Rix had three turnovers, Bowden benched him in favor of Adrian McPherson, whose career ended four games later after he found himself in the middle of gambling allegations.
Bowden also defended a decision to run Greg Jones three straight times into the middle of Miami's line in an aborted scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter. Jones hadn't gained more than 3 yards on a single carry all day and finished with 15 yards on 13 attempts.
Bowden said that Miami's secondary was just too good to risk a pass into the end zone at that stage of the game.
Rix has had little luck playing in rainy conditions like those in Saturday's game. He was 14-for-33 for 173 yards and threw an interception in overtime that set up a game-winning touchdown by Louisville under similar playing conditions a year ago.
"We had a plan," Bowden said. "The plan was based on normal conditions."
While Bowden lamented the drizzly conditions, which negated some offense options, he didn't criticize school officials responsible for a playing surface he'd described a day earlier as the worst he'd ever seen.
"I've never seen the field like that as long as we've been here," Bowden said Sunday, noting that the drainage plan "didn't work."
The offensive line also remains a concern for Florida State. Guard Bobby Meeks continues to suffer from asthma, leaving him questionable game-to-game and his backup Eric Broe could be out for the season while center David Castillo is also injury-prone.
Bowden, now in his 28th season at Florida State, also missed a chance to tie Penn State's Joe Paterno with the most career wins in Division I-A at 338.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press
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