TALLAHASSEE — Coach Bobby Bowden can't recall losing in quite the same fashion as Saturday's three-pointer at Georgia Tech — a fumble near the goal line in the final minute.
"I guess if you live long enough, everything will happen," he said Sunday. "That's the first time we've lost one like that."
Oh, sure, his Seminoles have misfired on last-minute field goals. And there was the night in 1995 at Virginia when Warrick Dunn was stopped just short of the winning touchdown. Not the same. This one, he said, would have been one of the best comebacks in FSU history, a "masterpiece," perhaps mentioned with the 1994 rally from 28 down to tie Florida in the "Choke at Doak," and the 1992 win at Georgia Tech.
The challenge now is getting his young team to bounce back.
"We'll attack it positively," he said. "We won't let them feel like they're a bunch of losers."
In his mind, his players continued to fight and believe that, despite trailing by 14 in the first half and 11 in the fourth quarter, they would win.
"I'm not worried about their attitude," he said. "I've got to be sure we coaches do a sound coaching job where we can give these kids every opportunity to win."
Question of the day: Bowden said he's confident that junior FB Marcus Sims, who was hit at the 1-yard line and lost the ball with 45 seconds remaining, will respond positively.
"He just has to get those things out of his mind," he said. "You watch pro football. It happens every Sunday to these great players and they have to keep playing, they have to go on."
Bowden said it's typical that young running backs struggle holding on to the ball.
"You never know," he said, "that might be his last fumble."
The long run: If FSU wins one more and becomes bowl eligible (only one of the I-AA wins counts for that), it will take over as the program with the longest active streak for bowl berths at 27. Michigan's loss Saturday ended its streak at 33 years.
"Who would have suspected that? I wouldn't have thought that, but anyway it did (happen)," Bowden said. "They'll get it back and we have to keep fighting hard so we can maintain this streak for ourselves."
Time, TV set: Saturday's home game against Clemson begins at 3:30 p.m. (Ch. 28).
Brian Landman can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3347.