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Rix tosses for 327 yards in shutout

11/1/2003

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Chris Rix got revenge of historic
proportion on Notre Dame.

Benched following a loss to the Irish last season, Rix passed
for 327 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Seminoles to a 37-0
victory over Notre Dame on Saturday, the second worst home loss in
Irish history.

"What a difference a year can make -- just coming back and
getting a little payback on these guys," Rix said. "Personally
for myself, just to come up here and win, that was the goal."

The Seminoles (8-1) did more than win, they showed the Irish
once again that they can't compete with the college elite. The
Irish, held scoreless at home for the first time since 1978, fell
to 2-6 for the first time since 1963.

Craphonso Thorpe had seven catches for 217 yards, including TD
catches of 35 and 38 yards to help the Seminoles (8-1), who lost
34-24 last year to the Irish.

"We didn't embarrass them any more than they embarrassed us
last year," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. "They came
down last year -- I think we were 11-point favorites -- and they just
kicked our brains out. We came back and got them. It ain't like
it's a one-way street."

The victory was the 340th of Bowden's career, moving him two
ahead of Penn State's Joe Paterno.

The Irish are 4-9 since that win, and the 37-point loss, the
ninth worst defeat in Notre Dame history, marks the third time the
Irish have been routed this season.

Notre Dame lost 45-14 to Southern California two weeks ago and
38-0 to Michigan on Sept. 13. The Irish have been shut out twice in
a season for first time since 1960.

"It's one of those you look back at that you are not happy
about, not pleased about," Irish coach Tyrone Willingham said.

The Irish also have been beaten by 31 points or more points 20
times, including four times in their last 10 games.

"I don't know if I can explain it because if we could,
hopefully we would have had some answers prior to this moment,"
Willingham said. "We are still working. We are trying to find out
the answer to all those that that can allow us to be a good team."

Rix wasted no time in getting back at the Irish, completing a
38-yard pass to Thorpe on the first play from scrimmage. The pass
was the longest of season against the Irish and set up a 40-yard
field goal by Wavier Beitia.

It remained the longest pass play of the season until the third
play of Florida State's next possession, when Rix threw a 51-yard
pass to Thorpe. That set up a 6-yard TD pass from Rix to P.K. Sam,
which gave the Seminoles a 10-0 lead.

Rix, who completed 17 of 31 passes with three interceptions,
then threw a 35-yard TD pass to Thorpe late in the first quarter as
Florida State took a 17-0 lead -- the most points the Seminoles have
scored in the first half this season.

"We are so much a better ball club when he's playing well,"
Bowden said. "He's always been a guy to make a play that you can't
draw on the board. But then he'll make a play that might hurt."

Rix threw three interceptions Saturday, but none of them hurt
them. Vontez Duff intercepted Rix's pass and returned it 55 yards
to the Florida 9, but the Irish couldn't score as the Seminoles
kept Notre Dame from scoring three times inside the 10-yard line.

"I didn't think we were going to be able to shut them out,"
linebacker Michael Boulware said. "I knew our defense was good,
but to shut out a team like Notre Dame, that's doing a lot and
saying a lot. I think we just came out lucky."

The Irish, who gave up 31 straight points in the loss to
Southern Cal two weeks ago, have been outscored 68-0 at home since
late in the first quarter against USC.

Notre Dame managed just one first down on eight possessions in
the first half. When Brady Quinn connected with Maurice Stovall for
Notre Dame's second first down with 10:47 left in the third
quarter, many in the crowd of 80,795 stood and gave a mock cheer.

Later in the quarter the Irish fans were so quiet the tomahawk
chop was echoing through the stadium.

Notre Dame has lost three straight at home for just the fifth
time ever and for the first time since 1984 under Gerry Faust.

"It hurts. I can't describe how it hurts right now," Quinn
said.