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Blocked punt makes it 2 for special teams

 
Published Sept. 20, 1996|Updated Sept. 16, 2005

For the second game in a row, the Florida State special teams scored.

Early in the second quarter, sophomore cornerback Troy Saunders blocked punter Jay Dukes' attempt from his own end zone. FSU senior cornerback Byron Capers recovered in the end zone for a 24-0 lead.

The last time FSU blocked a punt for a touchdown was Nov. 11, 1995, against North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In the season opener against Duke, sophomore tailback Dee Feaster returned a punt for 59 yards and a touchdown. But the special teams had their not-so special moments in that game and again Thursday.

Against Duke, penalties on punts twice returned the ball to the Blue Devils. On the opening series of the N.C. State game, junior defensive end Peter Boulware inadvertently grabbed Dukes' face mask, negating a 9-yard loss _ and a FSU first down at the Wolfpack 26 _ and giving the Wolfpack a first down.

NOTICEABLE ABSENTEES: FSU coach Bobby Bowden said last week several players faced one-game suspensions, but wouldn't specify who or when. Well, junior fullback "Pooh Bear" Williams and sophomore defensive tackle Corey Simon, both key backups, apparently were two. Neither was listed on the depth chart _ a telltale sign _ and they were replaced by sophomore Lamarr Glenn and freshman Jerry Johnson, respectively.

FORGOTTEN MEN NO MORE: FSU junior Melvin Pearsall became the first tight end to catch a pass this season, a 21-yarder with 12:32 left in the first half. On the next play, Pearsall caught a 16-yarder.

CAUTIOUS CALL: Junior center Kevin Long, who injured his right knee last week, said earlier in the day that he wanted to play, but expected to be held out by the coaches for next week's game against nationally ranked North Carolina. Redshirt freshman Eric Thomas started in his place.

FASHION STATEMENT: The Seminoles wore garnet pants, replicas of the ones destroyed in an equipment truck fire after last year's trip to North Carolina. FSU is 7-0 when it wears the pants, beginning with a 34-3 win against N.C. State in 1994.

WEEKEND SPECTATORS: Although Saturday's ballyhooed showdown between Florida and Tennessee could affect the Seminoles' national championship aspirations, Bowden said he didn't know how much his players think about it, but he thinks about it only "because people call me" and ask about its implications. FSU probably needs a Gator win to have a realistic shot to reach finish first or second in the poll and reach the Sugar Bowl.

"But I'm more concerned about LSU and Auburn," he said of son Terry's game against the visiting LSU Tigers and tailback Kevin Faulk _ the other big SEC game on Saturday.

THE LAST WORD: "The thing I like most is the money and then second is the exposure. It is great exposure. There's no competition. If you play Thursday night you've got it all. But I wouldn't do it unless I had an open date. So, I don't mind. You're in this thing to make money. You're in this thing to be exposed. You're in this thing to get coverage. That's one thing ESPN gives you on Thursday night." _ Bowden.

_ BRIAN LANDMAN