Sept. 13, 2004 wire reports

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Chris Rix will remain Florida State's starting quarterback despite a dreadful performance in last week's loss at Miami.


Coach Bobby Bowden announced his decision at a booster luncheon on Monday.

Rix, who is Bowden's first-ever four-year starter, became Division I-A's only quarterback to go 0-5 against the same school after failing to lead the offense to a touchdown in Friday night's loss at the Orange Bowl.

"I thought about it all night and all the next day and all the next night and talked it over with our coaches and everything," Bowden said after practice Monday night. "We felt like he's really got the kids behind him.

"Four years ago (the players) were not behind him. I think the wise thing to do is start him and see if he can't get back to his old self."

Rix completed 12 of 28 passes for 108 yards, threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles, including a critical one in overtime in the 16-10 loss. He ranks 10th in the Atlantic Coast Conference's passing statistics with a 61.0 efficiency ranking.

"It's way too early to panic," added Bowden, who has spent most of the past three autumns defending Rix, now 24-11 in four seasons leading the Seminoles, who dropped from No. 4 to 8 in the latest media poll. "It's not time."

Bowden was quick to remind Florida State fans in the audience that the Seminoles ran the table in 1988 after losing their opener to Miami. Florida State finished No. 3 in the AP rankings that season.

"We've been there before," Bowden said. "The only thing that game the other night proved was we're not going to have a perfect season."

Bowden also has few alternatives as no other quarterback on the Seminoles roster has ever started a game or seen any significant playing time. Backup Wyatt Sexton was 3-of-5 for 45 yards in limited mop-up duty last season.

However, Bowden conceded he had thought about playing the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Sexton, the top student on the team and the son of running backs coach Billy Sexton.

Fabian Walker, who had backed up Rix the previous two seasons, transferred to Valdosta State over the summer. However, Bowden conceded he had thought about playing the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Sexton, a 4.0 student and the son of running backs coach Billy Sexton.

"We definitely need to get him some action," Bowden said.

Bowden hopes to redshirt freshman quarterbacks Xavier Lee and Drew Weatherford.

Next up is Alabama-Birmingham, a team that crushed Baylor 56-14 in its opener and has Bowden more than a little worried.

"It's a good time to play Florida State -- after Miami," Bowden said. "They're a team that can beat you."

The Associated Press News Service

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