2:30 PM ET, November 1, 2003
Notre Dame Stadium, NOTRE DAME, IN
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.
Craphonso Thorpe was one of the few bright spots from FSU's class.
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.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-13||6-21|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||0-5|
|FG||10:42||XAVIER BEITIA 40 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 49 yards.
|TD||8:01||P.K. SAM 6 YD PASS FROM CHRIS RIX (XAVIER BEITIA KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 73 yards.
|TD||0:39||CRAPHONSO THORPE 35 YD PASS FROM CHRIS RIX (XAVIER BEITIA KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 87 yards.
|FG||9:49||XAVIER BEITIA 44 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 37 yards.
|FG||0:55||XAVIER BEITIA 22 YD FG|
Drive info: 13 plays, 69 yards.
|TD||11:34||CRAPHONSO THORPE 38 YD PASS FROM CHRIS RIX (XAVIER BEITIA KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 33 yards.
|TD||8:59||LEROY SMITH 90 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (XAVIER BEITIA KICK)||37||0|