Belittled passer Thad Busby seemingly completed a right of passage. No longer was he someone you plead with not to lose a game; he became someone you could count on for game-breaking plays.
Busby was 25-of-36 for 316 yards with two touchdowns against No.
14 Virginia and was nearly flawless in the second half, when FSU rallied from its first halftime deficit of the season.
"I'm really confident right now," he said. "That's what happens when you have confidence in yourself and the people around you."
Like tailback Warrick Dunn, who rushed for 134 yards, including an electrifying 65-yard touchdown. Like receiver Andre Cooper, who had his first 100-yard game of the season.
"Their offense was better than it looked on film," said Virginia coach George Welsh, whose team upset the Seminoles a year ago when Dunn was stopped inches short of the winning score on the game's final play. "They're not as explosive as previous teams, but they are the best we've seen this year. They have good receivers, and Busby's timing was much better."
Heretofore, FSU offensive coordinator Mark Richt had called a conservative game, sacrificing the big play to avoid the big mistake. Not a bad strategy when you have one of the nation's stingiest defenses. In three different games, including the team's win over Miami, Busby attempted just 17 passes.
But after cornerback Samari Rolle intercepted a Tim Sherman pass on the opening drive of the second half, Busby looked to throw ... a lot. A 21-yard touchdown pass to E. G. Green erased a 17-14 halftime deficit.
"He really did a good job," said Wayne Messam, who finished with five receptions for 90 yards and one touchdown. "He's coming into his own. You get better through experience. Charlie Ward don't become Charlie Ward without failing some."