Apparently, FSU running back Warrick Dunn heals as quickly as he leaves would-be tacklers flailing at his heels.
Dunn, badly battered a week earlier, amassed 204 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns to lead Florida State over No. 25 Southern Mississippi 54-14.
"I guess I wasn't out there thinking about my ribs," Dunn said with a shrug.
"Warrick Dunn is just amazing," coach Bobby Bowden gushed. "If you watch the guy play football, you have to wonder if there's a better player."
But despite its ranking, FSU hardly looked like the nation's No.
3 team at the outset.
Thad Busby threw an interception on the game's first play and Southern Miss took a 7-0 lead when Lee Roberts, Busby's backup at Pace High for two years and coming off a record-setting 398-yard performance, hit tailback Harold Shaw for a score three plays later.
"I felt a little rusty out there," Busby said. "But I tried to come back and not let it get to me."
On the next series, he completed all four of his passes to set up a short Dunn scoring run. With FSU ahead 14-7, the Golden Eagles responded with a tying score in the second quarter, which was the "'eye-opener" the Seminoles defense needed, middle linebacker Daryl Bush said.
For the game, FSU held Southern Miss to 95 total yards, including minus-13 on the ground. His defense dominated, and Dunn did the rest. He scored on FSU's opening series of the second half and later turned a short pass into a 77-yard touchdown, giving him 47 in his career and eclipsing the school record of Greg Allen.
"There can't be a better man to block for in this world," said FSU's Todd Fordham, who moved from tackle to guard in place of the injured Chad Bates. "All you have to do is stay on your man. He's going to make a lot of people miss, and you're going to meet him in the end zone a lot of times."