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Seminoles rout LSU

From his perch atop the shoulders of Florida State players, a soaking wet Bobby Bowden could see what was about to ruin a glorious ride across the Doak Campbell Stadium field in celebration of his 200th coaching victory. Florida State's 42-3 win over Louisiana State on Saturday afternoon had long been secured, and Bowden's players had choreographed some post-game fun. They would empty the water cooler over his head and carry him around the field.

But as FSU's Kirk Carruthers ended the game with a vicious hit on LSU quarterback Jesse Daigle, Bowden's journey was spoiled. After Carruthers' hit, several LSU players jumped on him as another skirmish occurred on the field.

Within moments, players from both teams brawled up and down the field. It took nearly five minutes before the fighting ended.

Too bad. The 60,111 fans missed a chance to pay tribute to Bowden after what had been a clean, well-played game by FSU.

Bowden could only shake his head.

"It's just a shame," he said. "That was the cleanest football game I've seen until the end. Their kids patting our guys on the head, our kids patting their guys on the head. Then there's a free-for-all."

It may have taken away from the victory, but it couldn't take the victory away. After losses to Miami and Auburn, Bowden, 60, had to wait a month to notch the 200th win of his 25-year head coaching career.

This one came relatively easy, with FSU getting 21 points in the first half after LSU turnovers, including a "Hail Mary" pass on the last play of the first half.

Bowden felt more joy over ending the two-game losing streak

than in reaching a level attained by only 10 other Division I-A coaches and only 20 in all of college football.

"Am I too old to start for 300?" Bowden joked. "It's not that big of a deal. It doesn't seem like a milestone to me. When you've got a guy out there with 350 (Eddie Robinson), what I've done doesn't seem like much. Maybe it will when I'm through coaching and can look back on it. I guess if I can live to 80, I've still got a shot."

The victory was Bowden's 127th in 15 years at FSU, but more importantly, it kept the 12th-ranked Seminoles alive for their fourth consecutive New Year's bowl game. FSU (5-2) is out of the national championship picture, but can still go to a high-paying bowl.

Bowden knew that was possible, but wasn't sure how his players would react coming off the bitter 20-17 loss to Auburn last week. "I was really concerned about a letdown," he said.

But three Amp Lee touchdowns and a touchdown pass from quarterback Casey Weldon to Shannon Baker to end the first half gave FSU a 28-3 lead. In the second half, second-string fullback Paul Moore scored from 6 yards and fourth-string tailback Felix Harris ran 31 yards for the final points.

Despite all the scoring, FSU's offense was hardly effective. It was the defense that did the job, causing turnovers and holding LSU to a 35-yard field goal by Pedro Suarez on the first drive of the game.

LSU quarterbacks completed only 9 of 30 passes for 66 yards and were intercepted twice. They were also sacked four times. Tailback Harvey Williams, who had 213 yards against Kentucky last week, was held to 93 yards on 22 attempts. LSU (4-3) had only 207 yards of total offense.

"We played well last week against Auburn and we wanted to continue doing that," said FSU linebacker Marvin Jones. "The first drive, they scored. Then what did they get? Nothing."

Part of the reason was Carruthers, who had his best game of the season. The inside linebacker and Butkus Award candidate had played poorly for most of the year. On Saturday, Carruthers was all over the field, making an unofficial 13 tackles, including 10 unassisted. He was also had 1{ sacks.

"I feel like I'm back to my intimidating form," Carruthers said. "I was in the outhouse for a while. Now I'm back in the penthouse."

Carruthers' sack of LSU quarterback Chad Loup and the resulting fumble set up FSU's second touchdown and gave the Seminoles a 14-3 lead after Lee's 6-yard run. Lee had gone 9 yards for FSU's first score after LSU's Odell Beckham fumbled the opening kickoff.

When the Seminoles didn't get excellent field position from turnovers, they had trouble moving the ball. Bowden called the offense "pathetic" despite 468 total yards and 15-of-25 passing for 229 yards and a touchdown from Weldon in his first collegiate start.

But Bowden had to feel good about the 99-yard drive the Seminoles put together in the second quarter, the big play a 54-yard completion to Matt Frier.

"I thought he was sacked at first," Frier said. "I couldn't believe how far he threw the ball. The offensive line must have done a great job, because it took a while for that play to develop."

But it didn't take long for FSU to score. The Seminoles moved those 99 yards in only eight plays, with Lee getting his third touchdown of the game for a 21-3 lead with 52 seconds left.

As it turned out, that was plenty of time for FSU to score again. After Loup fumbled, the Seminoles had three seconds to run one play from the LSU 38. Weldon heaved it into the end zone, where the ball was tipped into Baker's hands for a 28-3 halftime lead.

"Everything that could have gone wrong, did," said LSU coach Mike Archer.

And everything went right for the Seminoles _ except their plans to honor Bowden.