TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida State's offense looked good in
a rout of winless Rice. It didn't impress Bobby Bowden much.
"It's not like it was Notre Dame out there," the Seminoles
coach said. "They did what you hoped they would do."
It was more -- a lot more -- than the offense had done so far in
Antone Smith ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns and Lorenzo
Booker added 115 yards and a score as the 18th-ranked Seminoles
defeated Rice 55-7 Saturday before one of its smallest home crowds
Bowden also followed up on a promise earlier in the week to get
his big-play receiver Greg Carr involved.
Carr, who was not thrown to during limited action in Florida
State's 27-20 loss to Clemson a week ago, caught five passes for
107 yards and helped spring two other long gains with downfield
"I just have to take advantage of the opportunity," said Carr,
who led the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2005 with nine TD catches.
Carr's playing time was curtailed last week while he worked his way
out of the coaches' doghouse for what they claimed was casual
"I'm continually getting better and showing Coach that I'm
going to continue to work hard and do the things that he asks of
me," Carr said.
"When he's in the game he's going to make plays," Lee said.
Rice coach Todd Graham knew he couldn't adequately cover the
rangy Seminoles receiver.
"That's a tough matchup," Graham conceded. "I can understand
getting beat by a guy who is a really good athlete."
Florida State scored earlier in the half on short runs by Joe
Surratt and Smith and a pair of field goals by Gary Cismesia,
including a 53-yarder.
The Seminoles (3-1) rolled up 280 yards offense by the half,
exceeding their average from the first three games and ran for 287
of its 500 total yards, nearly doubling the 148 yards it had
totaled coming into the game.
Smith said he hoped the performance would slow down the
criticism of the offense, coached by Bowden's youngest son, Jeff.
"We still haven't seen our best," he said. "We're like 85
Rice (0-4) tied the game briefly, 7-7 midway through the first
quarter, when Jarett Dillard ran past Florida State's secondary to
haul in a 32-yard scoring pass from Joel Armstrong. It was the
sixth straight game Dillard has caught a TD pass.
Quinton Smith ran for 104 yards on 16 tries and Dillard caught
seven passes for 113 yards for the Owls, who were beaten 52-7 by
Texas last week and have now lost 20 of their last 21 games,
leaving Graham still looking for his first victory in his new job.
Graham believed Texas had the better offense and Florida State a
Bowden, meanwhile, improved his 41-year career mark to
362-108-4, the most victories in major college history and six
ahead of Penn State's Joe Paterno.
Weatherford completed eight of 12 passes for 102 yards and Lee
was 5-for-11 for 111 yards.
"We both bring different things to the table," Weatherford
said. "I guess teams now will have to prepare for both of us. It's
always good to have a defense have to worry about two different
types of quarterbacks."
Lee was tickled to just have played a bit.
"You can go home and smile and talk to my family about the
game," Lee said. "Everyone wants to play and everyone wants to be
a part of the team and if you're not playing it feels like you're
not part of the team."
Cismesia also had a 32-yard field goal that was set up by a
54-yard interception return by freshman linebacker Marcus Ball, who
was carted off in the second half with an injury to his left knee.
Florida State's 82,000-seat stadium was about a third empty with
the Seminoles coming off last week's loss to Clemson and playing
their third straight home game. There were approximately 10,000
empty seats on Nov. 14, 1992 when Florida State routed Tulane 70-7,
school officials said.
The empty seats notwithstanding, Bowden said the victory was
important to his struggling club.
"We got what we needed," Bowden said. "A big win."