on October 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

FSU’s Lee’s sparks victory over Alabama

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Bobby Bowden not only got a win over Alabama in his first try against the school he’d grown up dreaming of coaching, but he may have also discovered the playmaker he’s been desperately searching for in recent years.

And while he’s leaving the formal decision on a starting quarterback to offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, Bowden thinks that player could be Xavier Lee.

Lee came off the bench Saturday to throw for 224 yards and two touchdowns in the Seminoles 21-14 win over Alabama before the largest crowd to see a game in the state’s largest city.

“Maybe that was an indication,” Bowden said Sunday after getting a look at game film. “We need somebody that can make plays and not just not make mistakes.”

Lee makes Florida State a different team. His size, elusiveness and strong arm give opposing defenses a lot to worry about.

“His ability to run made us play different,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said.

Alabama (3-2) dropped out of The Associated Press’ Top 25 while Florida State (3-1) just missed getting back into the field, leading the honorable mention list.

Bowden said the bye week has helped coaches settle on their personnel as the Seminoles ready for seven consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference games.

“As far as getting the people in the right position and knowing what you got, I think we’re getting closer every game,” said Bowden, who fielded his Sunday afternoon teleconference between congratulatory calls from back home in Alabama.

Lee was one who benefited from the extra week, practicing more consistently each day.

“That’s the first time I’ve seen Xavier where he looks like he’s ready to go,” Bowden said Sunday. “I felt like all of a sudden a light came on.”

Lee got his chance after veteran starter Drew Weatherford failed to take advantage of favorable field position.

But not everything turned out so well for the Seminoles.

Running back Marcus Sims was lost for the year with a broken right ankle while right tackle David Overmyer, the team’s most experienced offensive lineman, has a sprained left knee and is most likely out of Saturday’s game against North Carolina State.

However, the team will get back senior wide receiver and returner Joslin Shaw, who was cleared late Friday by the NCAA. Shaw was among two dozen Seminole athletes caught up in an test cheating investigation that centers on two former academic advisors.

“I really feel like he was treated unfairly in this thing,” Bowden said Sunday. “He’s nearly a scapegoat.”

Bowden was uncertain about whether they would also get back the other player caught up in the same investigation, sophomore defensive end Kevin McNeil.

NCAA Vice President Kevin Lennon said the organization “will consider each individual student-athlete’s level of responsibility before deciding each reinstatement decision,” in a statement released late last week.

Florida State reported to the NCAA last week that at least 23 of its student-athletes were implicated in the investigation.