Danny Kanell is not Charlie Ward, and comparing their styles and success is dangerous for Florida State followers who expect the Seminoles to repeat the glory of the 1993 national championship season.
But there are some similarities in the situations the two FSU quarterbacks encountered, and coach Bobby Bowden is hoping Saturday's 59-20 victory over Duke means the Seminoles are on a course he fondly remembers.
It was two years ago, in FSU's seventh game of the season against Georgia Tech, that Ward and the offense exploded. The Seminoles scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns against the Yellow Jackets to rally for a 29-24 victory.
They have rarely been challenged in an Atlantic Coast Conference game since.
FSU set a league record by winning its 22nd straight ACC game on Saturday, its seventh game of the season. Just as in 1992, FSU is 6-1 behind a first-year quarterback in Kanell who appeared to be in control of an emerging offense that had 620 yards.
"We really needed it," said Bowden, whose team moved up a spot to eighth in the Associated Press poll. "It was one of those games where it was about time to break out."
The Seminoles did so behind Kanell, who threw three touchdown passes and completed 23 of 41 passes for 394 yards and no interceptions. It was his best effort since passing for 341 yards in his first start last season against Maryland. Kanell was in danger of losing his starting job after poor performances against Miami and Clemson when he threw four interceptions and no touchdown passes.
"I never lost confidence in myself," Kanell said. "I think going through all this has made me a better quarterback."
Bowden said he challenged some of his offensive players to be better leaders because too many were simply willing to follow.
"It was a different Danny in the locker room," center Clay Shiver said. "He was going around telling everyone, "Let's take it to 'em.' That kind of thing is contagious."
Late bloomer: It took a long time, but receiver 'OMar Ellison scored the first touchdowns of his career, catching two passes for scores. Ellison, a fifth-year senior, was signed as a running back before being switched to receiver.
"He's worked so hard and has never really come to the fore like we hoped he would," Bowden said. "He just never had the consistency. But this year, he's come along very nicely."
Kicking problems: Dan Mowrey said it was simply a matter of being too pumped up and not concentrating when he missed an extra point after FSU's first touchdown. He did go on to make six PATs and a field goal, but Bowden is perplexed by the kicking problems that have plagued his team.
Scott Bentley missed two field goals last week against Clemson to earn a seat on the bench.
"In practice this week, we went out and kicked 10 in a row at full speed," Bowden said. " Then we go out there and miss an extra point."
Bowden said he felt Bentley was handling his demotion well.
"There's a guy who probably never experienced failure," Bowden said. "I told him, "You've got two more years. Mowrey will be gone.' "
Top student: FSU linebacker Daryl Bush leads the team in more than just tackles. The sophomore was honored during the athletic department's annual Golden Torch banquet Friday night. Bush had a 3.7 grade point average during the 1993-94 school year.