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Mowrey kicks his way to redemption

For once, Dan Mowrey heard cheers at a Florida State football game.

Mowrey, the much-maligned kicker who authored Wide Right II in 1992, got a shot at redemption Saturday.

In 1991, as a freshman, he missed eight extra-point attempts and eventually lost his job to a walk-on, Gerry Thomas. It was Thomas who missed a 37-yard field goal that would have defeated Miami but instead left the Seminoles bitter 17-16 losers.

A year later, Mowrey had his job back, but couldn't convert when presented the same situation against Miami. His missed field-goal attempt late in the game cost the Seminoles a tie; the 19-16 loss was their only defeat in an 11-1 season.

Plagued by so many kicking woes, FSU recruited Scott Bentley, who immediately unseated Mowrey _ until Saturday.

After Bentley miskicked two field-goal attempts in the first half, Mowrey was called on for two second-half attempts _ his first since the 1993 Orange Bowl.

Though he missed a 29-yard attempt, he was good on a 22-yarder later in the third quarter.

"It was an unbelievable feeling," Mowrey said. "I've been waiting a long time for that chance. If I would have made the first one, the place would have erupted."

Mowrey's feelings erupted after his only field goal gave FSU a 17-0 lead.

He ran off the field to a huge ovation and put the ensuing kickoff into the end zone.

"I was juiced," Mowrey said.

Mowrey's thrills came at the expense of Bentley, who seemed to have the kicking job secured after a successful freshman season.

Bentley kicked four field goals in FSU's Orange Bowl victory over Nebraska Jan. 1, including the game winner with 21 seconds left.

After his halftime demotion Saturday, Bentley sat on a metal folding chair near midfield and watched the game, leaving his seat only to shake hands with Mowrey after his two field-goal attempts.

"I had a bad day and I'll be back next week," Bentley said, then refused further comment.

Mowrey refused to discuss Bentley's situation.

"I'm not going into that," Mowrey said. "All I know is Coach Bowden came to me and said, "You're in.' Scott told me to do it. He said to do what I had to do."

And that, finally, resulted in cheers for Mowrey, who was named special-teams captain earlier this week.

"I actually kind of expected the cheers," Mowrey said. "I know with the way I handled things last year, I got a lot of nice letters and comments from people. It felt good, it felt really, really good."

_ Staff writer Bob Harig contributed to this report.

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