Saturday, January 2, 2010

NOLES WIN GATOR BOWL, SEND BOWDEN OUT IN GRAND STYLE

Bobby Bowden watched the clock run down to :00, then took his last walk to midfield as his Florida State players jumped up and down, thrusting their helmets into the air.
The coach went out a winner, carried off by the Seminoles.

Jermaine Thomas ran for two touchdowns, Florida State scored 20 straight points to take control and the Seminoles knocked off No. 18 West Virginia 33-21 at the Gator Bowl in the final game of Bowden's storied 44-year career as a head coach.

"I will not forget it. I won't forget the other ones we have here, too," Bowden said, his hands wrapped around the silver Gator Bowl trophy. "Nothing like a win."

Bowden finished with a 389-129-4 record, and most importantly to him, a 33rd consecutive winning season. Next week, Jimbo Fisher takes over at Florida State, which finished 7-6 for the third time in the last four years.

On this day, the Florida State faithful serenaded Bowden with "Bob-by! Bob-by!" chants throughout the day, saving their loudest cries for the very end.

With 1:39 left, Bowden trotted down to the Florida State band section, removing his autographed white cap and tossing it into the seats - and the celebration began.

When it was over, Bowden was surrounded by a wall of photographers, trying to make his way over to shake the hand of West Virginia coach Bill Stewart - who was a 177-pound walk-on for Bowden's first Mountaineers team in 1970.

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