TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida State is rounding into top form
without much fanfare -- which is fine by the Seminoles.
Drew Weatherford threw three touchdown passes and No. 6 Florida
State registered seven sacks in a 38-14 victory over Syracuse on
"We're kind of under the radar and that's fine with us," said
defensive end Kamerion Wimbley, who had two sacks. "As long as we
take care of our jobs and keep winning, everything else will take
care of itself."
Florida State had nine sacks in a season-opening 10-9 win over
Miami that was more fortunate than impressive. Since, the
Seminoles' offense has improved to complement a fast and stingy
With the temperature approaching 90 on a humid afternoon,
Syracuse (1-3) was virtually helpless on offense through most of
the game, managing only 57 yards and two first downs by halftime.
"The pass rush is relentless," Syracuse quarterback Perry
Patterson said. "It's hard to comprehend."
Syracuse's Damien Rhodes, who came into the game ranked 10th
nationally with an average of 120.3 rushing yards, was held to 44
yards on 15 carries. He added 70 more with four catches.
The Seminoles, meanwhile, got 396 of their 512 yards through the
Weatherford, a redshirt freshman making his fourth collegiate
start, passed for 234 yards, including a 71-yard swing pass to
Lorenzo Booker -- his first TD reception. Weatherford also ran for a
score as the Seminoles jumped to a 24-0 lead.
Weatherford completed 17 of 26 passes, throwing touchdown passes
covering 43 yards to Willie Reid and 15 yards to Chris Davis.
"We have so much more potential offensively," said
Weatherford. "If we can put a whole game together, we're going to
be really, really dangerous."
Backup quarterback Xavier Lee passed for 162 yards, including a
75-yard completion to freshman Kenny O'Neal that set up the
Seminoles final touchdown -- an 11-yard run by Lamar Lewis.
"I think the best is ahead of us," Florida State coach Bobby
Bowden said after an offense loaded with underclassmen came up with
plays that covered 75, 71, 56 and 43 yards.
The offensive game plan was settled following a players' only
meeting Thursday when Booker and Leon Washington, the team's two
celebrated tailbacks, gave their blessings to relying heavily on
the passing game.
"We have a lot of weapons, especially at wideout," Booker
said. "However we can make a play, we'll make it. Whether it's
running or catching, we don't care."
Florida State took a 7-0 lead when Syracuse cornerback Steve
Gregory bobbled an overthrown pass from Weatherford right into
Reid's arms. Reid, who missed the last two games with a leg injury,
grabbed the deflected overthrow in stride and scooted into the end
Florida State got the ball back on the following kickoff when
Mikhal Kornegay's hit forced Kareem Jones' fumble at the Syracuse
22 and the Seminoles were in the end zone two minutes later on
Weatherford's 1-yard plunge.
Gary Cismesia's 37-yard field goal gave Florida State a 17-0
Bowden, the winningest coach in major college football, improved
to 355-102-4, remaining seven victories ahead of Penn State coach
Syracuse did manage to become the first team to score on Florida
State in the second half this season when Patterson ran 2 yards for
a touchdown with 4:06 left in the third period. A 20-yard punt gave
the Orange the ball at Florida State's 34 and a pass interference
penalty set up Patterson's scoring run.
Patterson lobbed a 30-yard TD pass to Nicholas Chestnut,
completing an 80-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter as
Florida State used 77 players.
"We played a lot of guys today," Bowden said. "Once you do
that you interrupt your rhythm."
Syracuse had just six first downs and 106 yards offense heading
into the final quarter when they produced 128 yards.