Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Drew Weatherford's return not enough for Florida State Seminoles against Florida Gators

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State quarterback Drew Weatherford finally got back on the field Saturday and not just for the ceremonial stroll to midfield with his fellow seniors.

Weatherford, the former Land O'Lakes standout who had started 33 games for the Seminoles before losing his job to Christian Ponder before the season, hadn't taken a snap since the Chattanooga game on Sept. 13.

Not that playing after such a long layoff is easy.

Not when it's against the Florida Gators and your team is behind 35-9.

"I felt a little rusty early on and started feeling more and more comfortable but it's just a very difficult situation to be down by that much and have to throw the ball a lot," Weather­ford said. "I was happy with the opportunity I got, but it was unfortunate that we couldn't pull it off."

Not even close to doing that. The Gators won easily 45-15, almost duplicating the score of last year's rout of 45-12 in Gainesville, a result that surprised and frustrated the Seminoles (8-4).

But few could have suspected that Weatherford would have played, let alone for much of the second half.

Ponder was struggling and, unbeknownst to out­siders, he bruised his back last week against Maryland and didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday.

Ponder was just 5-of-14 for 60 yards and two interceptions, one of which came on the opening series of the second half that led to Tim Tebow's 23-yard touchdown pass to Louis Murphy for Florida.

Enter Weatherford, who recently voiced his first public frustration about his lack of playing time when he said the coaches made the wrong decision in demoting him from first to third string.

"I really didn't know if I was going to get an opportunity or not," he said after the game, "but I always try to be ready."

His final stat line wasn't exactly stellar.

Weatherford was 4-of-15 for 61 yards and was sacked three times for a loss of 31 yards, but threw no interceptions and led the Seminoles to their lone touchdown.

He also hooked up with receiver Jarmon Fortson on perhaps FSU's best offensive play of the day, perfectly hitting him in stride down the right sideline for 42 yards.

"He was tremendous. He gave us a lift," offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said of Weatherford.

"He definitely deserved to be in there," Ponder added. "I didn't play that great, and he went in there and played pretty well. He gave our team a chance."

Weatherford tied former Virginia star Matt Schaub with 7,502 career passing yards, 15th in ACC history.

And with his first pass, Weather­ford moved ahead of Chris Weinke as the school's all-time leader in attempts. He now has 1,122.

"It was kind of an emotional roller-coaster, honestly," Weather­ford said of the day. "It's unfortunate we didn't win, but it was good to be out there.

"I love playing the game, and it's just fun to get out there and compete."

Brian Landman can be reached at or (813) 226-3347.

Drew Weatherford's return not enough for Florida State Seminoles against Florida Gators 11/29/08 [Last modified: Saturday, November 29, 2008 10:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return


    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  2. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits


    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.

  3. Back to .500, Rays feel ready to roll (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Who wants to be mediocre? Middling? Average? Run-of-the-mill?

    Rays catcher Jesus Sucre tags out the Angels’ Mike Trout trying to score from second base after a perfect peg from rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. in the first inning.
  4. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. preserves shutout with perfect throw

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The closest the Angels came to scoring off RHP Matt Andriese in Thursday's 4-0 Rays victory occurred in the first inning, when DH Mike Trout tried to score from second on a single to right. But the throw from RF Steven Souza Jr. was on the money, and Trout was out.

    "That …

    Colby Rasmus collects high fives and shoulder rubs after driving in all four of the Rays’ runs in their victory Thursday. Rasmus had two run-scoring hits a day after hitting a home run.
  5. Rays at Twins, 8:10 p.m. Friday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Twins

    8:10, Target Field, Minnesota

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (3-3, 3.76)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)