Chris Rix, whose play at quarterback continues to be scrutinized, will have to make do with a makeshift offensive line as eighth-ranked Florida State tries to bounce back from a season-opening loss when it hosts UAB on Saturday.
Coach Bobby Bowden announced Rix will remain the Seminoles’ starting quarterback despite struggling in a 16-10 overtime loss at Miami last Friday, but will play behind an offensive line riddled with injuries.
Rix, who is Bowden’s first-ever four-year starter, became the only current quarterback in Division I-A to go 0-5 against the same school after being sacked three times and failing to lead the offense to a touchdown.
“People want to give up on Chris,” Bowden said. “I’m hoping that’s his bad one for the year.”
Rix completed 12 of 28 passes for 108 yards, threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles, including a critical one in overtime. He ranks 10th in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s passing statistics with a 61.0 efficiency ranking.
“It’s way too early to panic,” said Bowden, who has spent most of the past three seasons defending Rix, now 24-11 in four seasons leading the Seminoles. “It’s not time.”
Bowden 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.
Fabian Walker, who had backed up Rix the previous two seasons, transferred to Valdosta State over the summer. Bowden, however, conceded he thought about playing the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Sexton, a 4.0 student and the son of running backs coach Billy Sexton.
Florida State guard Matt Meinrod will miss the rest of the season after injuring his knee against Miami. One of five returning starters on the offensive line, Meinrod tore his anterior cruciate ligament and sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
Center David Castillo missed the opener with a pectoral injury while guard Bobby Meeks played sparingly with a high ankle sprain.
Coach Bobby Bowden hoped both starters would be available for Saturday’s game.
“We got a chance to get Meeks back,” Bowden said Monday.
“Castillo, we are going to start to get him back in, start working him.”
Cory Niblock will get his first start against the Blazers in place of Meinrod.
UAB is coming off an impressive opener, beating Baylor 56-14 on Saturday.
“We played really well, especially in the first half,” Blazers coach Watson Brown said. “It was just a good solid game by us. We didn’t do a lot wrong. I thought this would be a toss-up game, but it turned out not being that way.”
Darrell Hackney threw three touchdown passes and ran for one score Saturday to lead UAB to its highest point total since becoming a Division I-A team in 1996.
Florida State won the only meeting between the teams, 29-7 at home on Sept. 8, 2001.