Sexton tosses three TDs in first start for FSU

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Just like in the classroom, Florida

State's Wyatt Sexton keeps on passing his on-field tests with


Sexton, who earlier this week was inducted into the university's

prestigious Golden Key International Honor Society in recognition

of his team-best 3.77 grade point average, threw three touchdown

passes in his starting debut Saturday as Florida State (No. 11 ESPN/USAToday; No. 9 AP)

defeated North Carolina 38-16.

Florida State (3-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) built a 24-6

lead early in the third quarter, but didn't put the game out of

reach until Sexton's 15-yard TD pass to Chauncey Stovall completed

the scoring with 6:53 left.

Stovall also caught a 5-yard scoring pass in the final minute of

the first half that gave Florida State a 21-6 lead at halftime over

North Carolina (2-3, 1-2).

Sexton, the son of Florida State assistant coach Billy Sexton,

showed no signs of the nervousness he said followed him onto the

field when he replaced Chris Rix last week.

"I felt comfortable and real at ease with everything today,"

Sexton said. "I've been waiting my whole life."

Sexton hit 10 of 11 passes to open the game as he took the

Seminoles to touchdowns on their first two drives.

"You can't ask for much more than leading us to touchdowns on

our first two drives," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said.

Sexton completed 6 of 7 passes for 48 yards and drove the

Seminoles 81 yards on their opening drive of the game, climaxed by

Leon Washington's 18-yard run for a touchdown on a fourth-and-1


Washington ran for 153 yards on just 10 carries and Lorenzo

Booker added 84 yards, including a 12-yard scoring run in the

second quarter.

"Both can do the same thing, just in different ways," Bowden

said. "One throws a fastball and the other a curve."

Washington said the Seminoles respond well to Sexton's


"A lot of guys feed off the energy he has," Washington said.

"Maybe he has to be calm, because he can't run the ball."

Florida State ignored the running game for most of the first

half, but picked up 190 of its 249 yards rushing in the second


In the last two games, Sexton has hooked up with Stovall to

complete 13 passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns.

Sexton is 43 for 66 for 406 yards this season, with four

touchdowns and an interception.

"I think he's a heck of a player," said North Carolina coach

John Bunting, who tried unsuccessfully to recruit Sexton. "I've

said that before and he reinforced that today."

North Carolina managed 363 yards against Florida State's tough

defense, but had difficulty reaching the end zone.

"When you play against a team like this, you've got to get

seven points," North Carolina quarterback Darian Durant said. "We

didn't capitalize like we needed to."

Durant passed for 254 yards and the Tar Heels' lone touchdown,

an 8-yard scoring toss to Jawarski Pollock in the third quarter

that cut Florida State's lead to 24-13.

Connor Barth kicked field goals of 20, 32 and 37 yards to round

out North Carolina's scoring.

Sexton also teamed with Craphanso Thorpe on an 11-yard touchdown

in the third quarter, and Lorenzo Booker added a 12-yard scoring


Sexton, who completed 20 of 31 passes for 191 yards, came off

the bench last week and rallied Florida State from a 7-3 deficit to

a 41-22 victory over Clemson after Rix sprained his right ankle.

Rix was on the sideline Saturday with a soft cast on his ankle

and said he wasn't sure when he'll be able to return.

"They said I'm ahead of schedule," said Rix, who is out at

least another week. "I'm focusing on getting back healthy."

But whether or not he has the starting job is another matter in

the wake of consecutive strong performances by Sexton.

"I wouldn't touch that with a 10-foot pole," Bowden said when

asked who would start after Rix heals.

Florida State put freshman quarterback Drew Weatherford into the

game in the fourth quarter, but he sprained his right ankle on an

bootleg to his left on his first college play, a call Sexton

criticized afterward as "crazy."

His coach agreed.

"I wish we hadn't called it," Bowden said. "It was a bad way

to break him in."