Seminoles Escape With 19-9 Win
Sept. 12, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida State football team avoided the unthinkable Saturday night as the Seminoles escaped with a 19-9 victory over visiting Jacksonville State.
Trailing most of the game, FSU (1-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) rattled off 12-straight points in the game's final three minutes thanks to a high-pressure offensive drive and a game-sealing defensive play.
Down 9-7, FSU senior linebacker Dekoda Watson's sack of Jacksonville State quarterback Ryan Perrilloux with three minutes remaining helped initiate what would become the Seminoles' come-back drive.
Starting from his own 42-yard line with just 2:45 remaining on the clock, Seminoles quarterback Christian Ponder hooked up with Richard Goodman on the drive's seventh play for a 24-yard gain.
The long pass-play was then followed a short time later by tailback Ty Jones' one-yard plunge as the clock ticked to 35 seconds left and the scoreboard moved to 13-9 in favor of the Seminoles.
On Jacksonville State's ensuing drive, true freshman Jacobbi McDaniel knocked the ball out of Perilloux's hands and senior defensive end Kevin McNeil's scoop and dash into the endzone from 33 yards out extended the FSU lead to 19-9 with 21 seconds left.
"Who won that darn game?" FSU head coach Bobby Bowden joked after the game. "I feel lucky to have won that one. I never played a ballgame in my life where so many things went wrong."
And Coach Bowden was right; the Seminoles just couldn't catch a break against the Gamecocks (0-2).
A big third-down stand by the Seminoles midway through the fourth quarter was then wiped out when senior cornerback Patrick Robinson roughed the kicker on the ensuing punt.
McNeil blocked a field goal late in the third quarter but the offense couldn't turn it into any points. Senior wide receiver Louis Givens took a long pass-play down near the goal-line but fumbled at the end of the run.
That was just the type of night it was for an FSU team looking to rebound after a heart-wrenching loss to Miami just a few days prior.
The only real highlight for the Seminoles before the final few moments was Jones' seven-yard rumble into the endzone late in the first quarter. The scoring play, which put FSU on top 7-6, was set up by a career-best 53-yard reception by Piurowski.
For the game, Ponder broke the career-high he set against the Hurricanes as he finished the game against the Gamecocks with 324 yards passing.
Ponder's first-ever 300-yard passing game was made possible by his ability to spread the wealth. Just like he did against Miami, FSU's starting signal-caller connected with eight different pass-catchers.
Goodman led the 'Noles with eight catches for 80 yards while Rod Owens had four grabs for 47 yards. Piurowski added 78 yards on two catches.
In addition to his 30 receiving yards, Jones led the Seminoles with 40 yards on eight carries.
Defensively, redshirt freshman rover Nick Moody made the most of his first-ever start as he finished with 10 tackles. Senior Kendall Smith also posted 10 stops from his Mike linebacker spot.
Defensive captain Dekoda Watson paced his unit with an impressive 3.5 sacks and nine tackles.
Florida State will now head to Utah for a tough matchup with No. 9 BYU on Saturday. That game will be aired nationally on the Versus Network and is slated for a 7 p.m. EST kickoff.
"You can't keep making mistakes if you expect to win any more of these games," Bowden said.