Alabama vs.Florida State

  Date: 9/29/2007  
  Score: 14-21  
  Alabama vs. Florida State

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Alabama defense held the Florida State offense in check for most of Saturday’s game in Jacksonville, but the Seminoles put up 21 second-half points to defeat the Crimson Tide, 21-14, before a record crowd at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.

Alabama managed 329 total yards in the game, including 181 yards in the game’s final eight minutes with junior quarterback John Parker Wilson setting career single-game highs for completions (28) and attempts (53) in the loss. On the ground, freshman Terry Grant again led the Tide with a season-low 36 yards on nine carries. Senior DJ Hall caught a game-high seven passes for 83 yards and a score for Alabama.

After a scoreless first half, the Seminoles managed touchdown-scoring drives of 67, 5 and 70 yards. Quarterback Xavier Lee, in relief of starter Drew Weatherford, was 12-0f-19 for 224 yards and two touchdowns. After Alabama drew within 14-7 with 5:04 left in the fourth quarter, Lee hit De’Cody Fagg for a 70-yard pass to clinch the game for FSU. Alabama drove 60 yards in 8 plays to pull within 21-14 with 1:06 left, but the onside kick recovery by the Tide was disallowed as Alabama committed an illegal touching penalty on the play.

Lee, who entered the game in the second quarter, hit Fagg with a 7-yard pass for the game’s first touchdown on the opening drive of the second half. The two then teamed up on a 70-yard TD pass with 4:46 left to give the Seminoles a 21-7 lead. That play came immediately after Alabama scored its first touchdown.

Lee completed 12 of 19 passes for 224 yards after making his first appearance of the year and ran for a game-high 59 yards in what began as a defensive struggle for both teams. Florida State (3-1) gave Bowden, who grew up in Birmingham, Ala., his 369th coaching win in his first game against Alabama. Bowden has three more coaching wins than Penn State’s Joe Paterno.

"When it will be emotional is when I go home this summer up to Birmingham and we go out to Roebuck [golf course] and we tee that thing up on the first tee box and I say ‘We whipped y’all’," Bowden said.

Antone Smith scored on a 5-yard run to give Florida State a 14-0 lead early in the fourth quarter. Smith’s touchdown, which came one play after Letroy Guion recovered a fumble by Alabama’s John Parker Wilson, gave Florida State a 14-0 lead with 9:03 left. Wilson lost the ball as he was being sacked by Florida State’s Everette Brown. Alabama (3-2) cut the lead to 14-7 with 5:04 left on DJ Hall’s leaping grab in the back of the end zone on a pass from Wilson, who added a 17-yard TD pass to Keith Brown with 1:06 left.

Wilson completed 28 of 53 passes for 240 yards with Hall catching seven for 83 yards. Alabama’s leading rusher, Terry Grant, was held to just 36 of the team’s 89 rushing yards. "The only thing that we had was underneath," said Wilson, who was sacked three times and had little time to throw deep. Alabama had 78 total yards and three first downs in a scoreless first half while Florida State was onlymanaged five first downs and 89 total yards.

Florida State’s two tallest receivers, 6-foot-6 Greg Carr and 6-3 Fagg, combined to catch nine passes for 202 yards. Carr had five catches for 107 yards and Fagg had 95 yards on four catches. It was Florida State’s first victory in four tries against Alabama in the first meeting between the schools since 1974. The 85,412 fans at the game were the most to see a game in Jacksonville, exceeding attendance at the 2004 Super Bowl game or any of the annual Georgia- Florida rivalry games.