Nov 1, 2003
By TOM COYNE
AP Sports Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Chris Rix passed for 327 yards and three touchdowns to lead Florida State to a 37-0 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday, the second worst home loss in Irish history.
Craphonso Thorpe had seven catches for 217 yards, including TD catches of 35 and 38 yards to help the Seminoles (8-1) get revenge for an embarrassing 34-24 loss to the Irish last year.
The Irish, held scoreless at home for the first time since 1978, fell to 2-6 for the first time since 1963.
A year after seemingly regaining its spot back among college football’s elite by improving to 8-0 with the win in Tallahassee, the Irish look as far from their glory days as ever.
They’re 4-9 since that win and the 37-point loss, the ninth worst defeat in Notre Dame history, marks the third time the Irish have been routed this season.
Notre Dame lost 45-14 to Southern California two weeks ago and 38-0 to Michigan on Sept. 13. The Irish have been shut out twice in a season for first time since 1960.
The Irish also have been beaten by 31 points or more points 20 times, including four times in their last 10 games.
Rix, benched a year ago for his poor performance against Notre Dame, wasted no time in getting started, completing a 38-yard pass to Thorpe on the first play from scrimmage. The pass was the longest of season against the Irish and set up a 40-yard field goal by Xavier Beitia.
It remained the longest pass play of the season until the third play of Florida State’s next possession, when Rix threw a 51-yard pass to Thorpe. That set up a 6-yard TD pass from Rix to P.K. Sam, which gave the Seminoles a 10-0 lead.
Rix, who completed 17 of 31 passes with three interceptions, then threw a 35-yard TD pass to Thorpe late in the first quarter as Florida State took a 17-0 lead – the most points the Seminoles have scored in the first half this season.
Beitia kicked a pair of field goals in the second quarter to give Florida State a 23-0 lead.
The Irish, who gave up 31 straight points in the loss to Southern Cal two weeks ago, have were outscored 68-0 at home since late in the first quarter against USC.
The Seminoles held the Irish to 146 yards rushing and 175 yards passing, and cornerback Leroy Smith returned an interception 90 yards for a TD in the fourth quarter.
Notre Dame managed just one first down on eight possessions in the first half. When Brady Quinn connected with Maurice Stovall for Notre Dame’s second first down with 10:47 left in the third quarter, many in the crowd of 80,795 stood and gave a mock cheer.
Later in the quarter the Irish fans were so quiet the tomahawk chop was echoing through the stadium.
The Irish offense had three scoring chances.
In the first quarter, Vontez Duff intercepted Rix’s pass and returned it 55 yards to the Florida 9. The Irish got the ball down to the 3, but were called for having too many men in the huddle for the fifth time this season. Then a 24-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by B.J. Ward, extending his school record for blocks to seven.
The Irish drove to the Florida State 9 in the third quarter and to the 5 in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t score. They went for it on fourth down both times.
Notre Dame has lost three straight at home for just the fifth time ever and for the first time since 1984 under Gerry Faust.