Chris Rix’s solid effort in Florida State’s last game didn’t matter much to Seminoles fans after his awful performance in yet another loss to Miami.
The subject of some harsh treatment last week, Rix will try to lead No. 8 Florida State (1-1, 0-1 ACC) to its second straight win when it takes on Tommy Bowden and Clemson (1-2, 1-1) on Saturday in the sixth annual “Bowden Bowl.”
Rix had a forgettable performance in a 16-10 overtime loss to the Hurricanes on Sept. 10, as the senior went 12-of-28 for 108 yards and two interceptions. Florida State committed four turnovers and blew a 10-0 fourth-quarter lead in losing to Miami for the sixth straight year. Rix dropped to 0-5 against the Seminoles’ archrivals.
Florida State coach Bobby Bowden hinted after that game he might bench Rix for last week’s game against UAB. However, after considering a change, Bowden said he felt it would be more beneficial to give Rix another chance.
The decision to stay with Rix worked, as he went 18-of-29 for 191 yards and ran for 42 more in a little more than three quarters of the Seminoles’ 34-7 win last week.
Despite the solid effort, the fans at Doak Campbell Stadium booed Rix when he was introduced, and cheered when sophomore backup Wyatt Sexton relieved him in the fourth quarter.
“Any human being is going to hear it,” Rix said. “I’ve been through it before. That comes with the territory.”
Florida State was unaffected by the harsh reception Rix received. One week after rushing for just 57 yards against the Hurricanes, the Seminoles got 104 yards and a touchdown from Leon Washington. B.J. Dean, James Coleman and Rix scored on 1-yard runs, and Xavier Beitia kicked two field goals.
“We got the ball in our playmakers’ hands and it was tough to do that last week,” Rix said.
The Florida State defense did its job as well, recording eight sacks and limiting UAB to 144 yards, including minus-24 rushing.
Florida State has dominated Clemson through the years, winning 14 of 17 meetings. Bobby Bowden has coached against his son Tommy five times in that span, winning four.
“At first it was unique and exciting and all that,” Bobby Bowden said. “It is a game we both need to win and one of us is not going to win. It is a little tough on the family no matter what happens.”
The younger Bowden has the most memorable of the victories—a 26-10 win over then-No. 3 Florida State last year. Considering Clemson is coming off back-to-back losses, including a 27-6 defeat to Texas A&M last week, Bobby Bowden expects his son to have his players motivated.
There’s also the incentive of staying in contention for the ACC title.
“Whoever loses this game will at least be out of the championship race,” the younger Bowden said Tuesday.
Clemson, which fell out of the AP Top 25 with a 28-24 loss to Georgia Tech two weeks ago, will rely on the arm of quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. That didn’t work against Texas A&M, as he finished 20-of-36 for 192 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
“We could have at least made it a game if we had shown up,” Whitehurst said. “We just had guys not show up, and I’m probably number one on that list.”
The Tigers were held to just 250 yards, their lowest total since getting 199 in a loss to Georgia in the 2003 season opener.
“We didn’t create anything to change the momentum,” Tommy Bowden said. “This is the worst we’ve looked on both sides of the ball.”