TALLAHASSEE — Florida State redshirt senior S Ochuko Jenije said it was instinct.
With the Florida Gators down 10-7 and facing fourth and 5 from their 36-yard line in the second quarter, P Chas Henry tucked the ball and started racing to his right for the first-down marker.
Jenije, a starter at cornerback last year who changed positions and has seen most of his time on special teams, raced toward Henry and brought him down a yard shy. Urban Meyer had been successful on eight of his fake punts in his UF tenure.
"It was instinct," Jenije said. "We always go through those checks (when a fake is possible), but at that time, we weren't really thinking something was coming. … But you could feel something."
FSU scored a touchdown on the next play to take a 17-7 lead.
"I think it was a big turning point in that we were able to score right after that," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "He (Meyer) was playing to win the game. He does a great job at that, but we know that they have a tradition of doing that so we worked on a ton of different fakes and different things they did and tried to use indicators and keys and made our kids very aware of those situations because they're a great special-teams team. That's something we worked on hard all week."
Crowded house, Really: FSU officials announced that they had distributed 82,324 tickets (capacity is 82,300). That was 7,023 more than they announced for the Boston College game. It was the biggest home crowd since last year's USF game drew 83,524. It didn't hurt that Florida's allotment was 10,500 tickets and there was plenty of blue and orange in the stands.
But Gator fans didn't have much to cheer, in sharp contrast to FSU's.
"That was the most pumped up it's been since I've been around; you just felt the crowd the whole game," redshirt senior C Ryan McMahon said.
Moving on up: FSU QB Christian Ponder, who had 7,457 yards of total offense entering the game, finished with 239 Saturday (221 passing, 18 rushing); he now has 7,696 to overtake former Land O'Lakes star Drew Weatherford (7,604) for third in school history. Heisman Trophy-winning QB Chris Weinke (9,473) and Chris Rix (9,213) top the list.
And with three touchdown passes, Ponder has 49 in his career to tie Charlie Ward, the program's first Heisman winner, for fifth in school history.
Focusing on TASK: Though fans might have been interested in keeping tabs on the Maryland-North Carolina State game (FSU needed the Terrapins to win to earn a spot in the ACC championship game) they didn't get it from peeking at the scoreboard. School officials let them know, in a message in capital letters, that at the request of the FSU coaches, they would not show that score.
Bowl talk: Going to the ACC title game means the Seminoles will play for a spot in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3. What if they don't end up there? Well, the most likely destination would be Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31 against an SEC team such as Mississippi State or South Carolina.
Brian Landman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3347.