Having seen those "Hail Mary" passes fail so often, Shannon Baker offered some advice to teammates Lawrence Dawsey and Kevin Knox as Florida State was about to attempt such a play: "You guys jump, I'll stay on the ground."
The "tip" worked out nicely for Baker. Dawsey and Knox found themselves pushing and shoving Louisiana State defenders and knocked the ball right into Baker's hands for a touchdown.
It was the final play of the first half and gave FSU a 28-3 lead. The Seminoles went on to a 42-3 victory Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Baker had two receptions for 51 yards, but the 38-yarder to end the first half is one he won't soon forget. FSU's Carl Simpson had just recovered a fumble with three seconds left, giving FSU one more play from the LSU 38.
FSU head coach Bobby Bowden originally sent in a different kind of "Hail Mary" play, with receivers on both sides of the field. Assistants Brad Scott and Mark Richt talked him out of it, opting instead for a play FSU calls "Berlin." The Seminoles put three receivers _ Baker, Dawsey and Knox _ on the same side of the field.
"I went into the huddle, and I told them I didn't want any cheap interceptions," said FSU quarterback Casey Weldon. "Shannon Baker said, "Shoot, we're going to score.' And he did."
"When we were in the huddle, I told Dawsey and Knox that two of us should jump and one of us should stay on the ground," Baker said. "So many times on television I've seen all of the guys jump and fall to the ground. I stayed on the ground and waited, and it was like a little gift. I couldn't let it go."
LSU defensive backs Corey Raymond and Anthony Marshall were there, but the ball was tipped and Baker dived to catch it in the back of the end zone.
That play worked, and so did a nice 54-yard pass from Weldon to Matt Frier on a previous drive. Called "Naked-X Takeoff," the completion was a big part of a 99-yard FSU touchdown drive.
Tailback Amp Lee made it look easy, scoring on touchdown runs of 9, 6 and 2 yards. He had 44 yards on 11 carries.
But the Seminoles' scoring success was deceiving. They scored three of their four first-half touchdowns after LSU turnovers, driving 16, 7 and 38 yards. FSU's second-half scoring drives were 50 and 41 yards.
"Our defense gets all the credit," Bowden said. "Our offense was very pathetic. Penalties, offsides. Our defense was doing the job and making things happen. They set up our offense time and again."
Like they did in setting up the "Hail Mary" at the end of the first half.
"The "Hail Mary' really helped," Bowden said. "Brad Scott and Mark Richt talked me into running it. Bowden don't call "rooskies' anymore."