FSU Seminoles defeat South Carolina in Chick-fil-A Bowl

South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is brought down by FSU’s Everett Dawkins in the first quarter of the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The former Jefferson standout  threw three first-half interceptions.

Associated Press

South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is brought down by FSU’s Everett Dawkins in the first quarter of the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The former Jefferson standout threw three first-half interceptions.

ATLANTA — Jimbo Fisher grew up playing quarterback, taught the position early in his coaching career and admired high-powered offenses like those Steve Spurrier employed at Florida years ago. But it was Florida State's defense that carried the Seminoles in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Friday night and led Fisher to his first postseason victory as a head coach.

FSU forced five South Carolina turnovers and knocked star freshman running back Marcus Lattimore out of the game early during the Seminoles' 26-17 victory.

FSU (10-4) has a 10-win season for the first time since 2003.

It came in unlikely, defensive fashion – and it came, too, with both teams playing without two of their best players. Lattimore left the game in the first quarter after a violent collision. He caught a short pass but fumbled after sophomore Greg Reid knocked him backward. Kendall Smith scooped the loose ball and returned it 46 yards to set up a field goal.

In the second quarter, FSU quarterback Christian Ponder left the game after suffering a concussion. It was a cruel blow to Ponder, who started only after quickly recovering from arm surgery in early December. He lasted just more than a quarter against a fierce pass rush and sat out the rest of his final collegiate game.

Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia threw three first-half interceptions.

Midway through the fourth quarter, EJ Manuel led the Seminoles on a 13-play, 63-yard touchdown drive that consumed more than six minutes.

"Our defense played phenomenal,'' Fisher said. "I'm tickled for the kids.''

FSU 26

S. Carolina 17

XX innings

FSU Seminoles defeat South Carolina in Chick-fil-A Bowl 12/31/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 31, 2010 11:12pm]

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