TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's offense had been a little sluggish in recent games, so coach Jimbo Fisher opted to go with a no-huddle, hurry-up attack on Saturday against North Carolina.
"We were just trying to get tempo and get (QB) Christian (Ponder) in a groove and let him play," Fisher said. "I keep saying, he's our guy and he enjoys that and I think it got some of the pressure off our kids and got them in a rhythm. Sometimes you don't have time to think about mistakes, you just go-go-go-go. It was a nice little addition for some things we did tonight."
Especially in the first half, when Ponder led the team to four touchdowns. Too many penalties, however, hindered how often FSU could use the scheme in the second half.
"It's something we worked on all week," Ponder said. "After our last drive against N.C. State, we thought it would be a good idea to put in. We implemented it pretty well. There's still a lot of things we have to fix, but I think everyone's pretty comfortable with it."
Line dance continueS: Rhonne Sanderson, a redshirt sophomore from Plant, started at right guard for the first time for the Seminoles with junior David Spurlock (concussion) and redshirt freshman Bryan Stork (illness) both out. Although he had a couple mistakes, including a chop block that helped stall a drive in the third quarter, Fisher was pleased.
"He did a solid job," Fisher said. "He had some good players he was playing against, too."
That included 6-foot-6 DT Quinton Coples.
"It felt good out there," said Sanderson, who started at right tackle last year against USF. "I made a few mistakes so I have to go back to the film room and get them corrected by Coach (Rick) Trickett and hopefully they won't happen again."
Sack artist: FSU sophomore DE Brandon Jenkins had two sacks, giving him 10 on the year. FSU had five sacks for the game, but too often it didn't pressure QB T.J. Yates enough, and he made the defense pay for that.
Familiar faces: UNC freshman DE Tim Jackson, a star at Gibbs, had something of a homecoming. A forgettable one. He sprained his right ankle late in the third quarter. Meanwhile, sophomore CB Mywan Jackson, a former standout at Armwood who has started four games this season, was out with a groin injury.
Homecoming crowd: FSU announced that 70,157 tickets were distributed for the homecoming game. That was the second-highest count of the season; Boston College drew an announced 75,301.
Record books: Ponder, who entered with 6,211 career passing yards, finished with 264 to pass both Danny Kanell (6,372) and Gary Huff (6,378) for fourth place in school history.
Giant to be honored: Former FSU baseball star Buster Posey, who just helped lead the San Francisco Giants to a World Series championship, will be honored during Saturday's game against Clemson. FSU and Bucs legend Derrick Brooks also will have his jersey retired that night.
Brian Landman can be reached at [email protected] Follow his coverage at seminoles.tampabay.com.