7:45 PM ET, October 18, 2003
Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Bobby Bowden is no longer chasing Joe Paterno -- and he doesn't have to worry about Virginia anymore, either.
"We've had come-from-behind wins and we've had last second wins and we've had bigger wins, but I think this was one of the guttiest wins we've ever had," Bowden said after Florida State beat Virginia 19-14, tying him with Paterno for the record of 338 Division I-A coaching victories.
"I was afraid of Virginia all summer long," Bowden said.
Chris Rix threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Craphonso Thorpe and Xavier Beitia kicked four field goals for the Seminoles, who validated Bowden's concern by letting the Cavaliers threaten until the end.
AP Photo/Scott K. Brown
Seminoles RB Greg Jones (6) breaks a tackle by Virginia LB Ahmad Brooks.
"Well, that thing just kind of happened," Bowden said. "It wasn't something I set my goals to do. Joe's probably the same way. We've both coached all our lives, and there's still a lot of football in both of us."
It may have meant more to Bowden's players, who had hoped to get him even last week, but came up short in a 22-14 loss to rival Miami.
"The motivation for the last two weeks -- we couldn't get it done last week -- has been for coach, first and foremost," said Rix, who was 12-for-25 with no turnovers in an unspectacular, but efficient effort.
Bowden is 338-97-4 in 38 seasons, 28 at Florida State. Paterno is 338-105-3 at Penn State, which was off Saturday.
Bowden got some help from blundering Virginia after the Cavaliers got close.
Virginia (4-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) turned the ball over twice and lost 17 yards when the ball was snapped prematurely on a key late third-down play when a touchdown would have given Virginia the lead.
The Seminoles (6-1, 5-0) then ran out the clock, driving inside the Cavaliers 10 as Virginia burned its timeouts before time ran out.
"They started grinding the ball out, getting some yards and the clock just kept moving," Schaub said. "It was tough to stand there and watch."
Florida State held the Cavaliers to minus 5 rushing yards on just nine attempts as Virginia tried to win on the arm of Schaub, last year's ACC player of the year. He was 39-for-53 for 326 yards and two touchdowns, but was still setting his offense when the game's biggest snap sailed by.
The play was designed to be started on a silent count, Schaub said, blaming a miscommunication with center Kevin Bailey for the mistake.
"As soon as I pointed at (tight end Heath Miller), I saw in my peripheral the ball coming at me and I just had to get on it," he said.
Until then, the Cavaliers looked poised to take it to the wire.
After it, Bowden sought out Schaub.
"I told him, 'You're as good as I thought you were," Bowden said.
Alvin Pearman, starting in place of injured Wali Lundy, set a school record with 16 catches for 134 yards for the Cavaliers, and Miller caught nine for 77 yards. Each also caught a touchdown pass from Schaub, with Miller's 8-yarder midway through the third quarter making it 16-14.
But Beitia added his fourth field goal, a 39-yarder, later in the quarter and the Seminoles' defense made all the stops it needed.
Florida State had a chance to push its lead to eight with 8:39 to play, but Beitia's 38-yard field goal was low and sailed wide left.
Schaub promptly hit Pearman for 14 yards and the Cavaliers were facing a third-and-3 from their 42. Schaub was still setting up the offense and wasn't even looking when the ball suddenly was snapped past him. But the time Schaub slid and covered it, it was for a drive-killing 17-yard loss.
The Seminoles ground out the last 6:19 to finish it.
The Seminoles went three-and-out on their first series, two-and-gone on their second. Rix hit Thorpe near midfield as cornerback Almondo Curry slipped, and the ACC sprint champion blazed untouched down the right sideline when safety Jay Dorsey inexplicably didn't even hit him.
Virginia drove 92 yards in just over three minutes for its first touchdown late in the first half, Pearman taking a swing pass from Schaub 21 yards with 13 seconds left to make it 13-7. The throw was Schaub's 33rd of the half, while the Cavaliers ran the ball just four times.
Two turnovers helped Florida State lead 13-7 at halftime.
Florida State turned a first-quarter interception by B.J. Ward on a tipped ball at Virginia's 42 and a fumble recovery by Leroy Smith at midfield in the second quarter into field goals by Beitia.