Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No. 22 Florida State Seminoles pound Florida Gators 31-7

TALLAHASSEE — With their fans chanting as loudly as they had in years, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher and quarterback Christian Ponder shared the quietest of moments.

They hugged, their eyes welled up and despite the din of a sellout crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium, they told each other how special the ride has been, culminating with Saturday's 31-7 win against Florida.

"Obviously, Coach Fisher has helped me out a lot," Ponder said. "He developed me as a quarterback. He's done an unbelievable job in his first year as a head coach. And for us to beat Florida, that moment is definitely special."

"I said I loved coaching him," Fisher said. "And I was so happy for him because he can be cemented now as one of the great Florida State quarterbacks of all time … (for bringing) Florida State back to national prominence."

Hyperbole? Well, consider all what happened.

With Ponder playing like so many expected he would the entire season and might have were it not for injuries and inconsistent play around him, the No. 22 Seminoles (9-3) ended a six-game losing streak to Florida dating to 2003. Coupled with their win in October at Miami, the Seminoles claimed the mythical state title — another annual goal — for the first time since their 1999 national championship season.

Then as fireworks boomed overhead and FSU players took turns triumphantly holding a gator head over their heads as they raced around the rocking stadium, the replay board was turned to Maryland's win against North Carolina State.

That result meant the Seminoles would represent the Atlantic Division in the ACC title game Saturday in Charlotte, N.C., against Coastal Division champ and No. 13 Virginia Tech. The Seminoles, who for years made winning the ACC seem routine, last reached the league finale in 2005, upsetting the Hokies in the inaugural game

"Words can't really explain how you feel right now," said junior linebacker Nigel Bradham, who carried the gator head to midfield in the frenetic celebration. "A lot of things happened at once. I'm just overwhelmed with all the emotions."

Funny. But the Gators (7-5), who hadn't lost as many regular-season games since 1988, could relate to that overwhelmed feeling. For a change against the Seminoles.

After taking a 7-3 lead early in the opening quarter, they couldn't do much of anything right. Not on offense with Urban Meyer, who had never lost more than four games in any of his 10 seasons as a coach, rotating quarterbacks. Not on defense. Not on special teams.

In the first half alone, the Gators lost two fumbles, the second setting up a 9-yard touchdown run by Lonnie Pryor for a 10-7 FSU lead. Then early in the second quarter, Meyer elected to fake a punt on fourth and 5 from his 36, and FSU stopped it.

On the next play, Ponder hooked up with sophomore Rodney Smith, who was running free down the right sideline, for a 39-yard touchdown and a 17-7 lead.

Ponder, his right elbow still wrapped from an injury that affected him during the second half of the season, then threw a 15-yard touchdown to redshirt junior Taiwan Easterling for a 24-7 lead.

"That guy is as good as I've had," Fisher said. "When people function around him, he's as good as there is in this country."

FSU junior cornerback Michael Harris stopped a Gator drive in the final minute of the half by intercepting a John Brantley pass at the 7-yard line, the third of four turnovers in the game — matching a season high. The Gators also had a season-low 64 yards passing and 11 penalties for 79 yards, both of which matched season highs.

"(We were) just really ineffective in certain areas," Meyer said, "really, really ineffective."

With a few minutes left, the chants of "Hey-hey, good-bye" reverberated.

"Finally beating the Gators, beating Miami in the same year, and going to the ACC Championship Game," Ponder said, "I don't know what's a better feeling."

Brian Landman can be reached at landman@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3347.

No. 22 FSU 31

Florida 7

No. 22 Florida State Seminoles pound Florida Gators 31-7

11/27/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 27, 2010 11:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has

    Sports

    ST. PETERSBURG

    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.
  4. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Fennelly: This season's Chris Archer is a pleasure to watch

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    At this time last season, through 10 starts, Rays pitcher Chris Archer was 3-5 on his way to 9-19.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, May 21, 2017.