(Saturday, November 27th)
Final Score: (22) Florida State 31, Florida 7
Tallahassee, FL (Sports Network) - Christian Ponder threw for 221 yards and three touchdowns on 16-of-24 passing as No. 22 Florida State handled Florida, 31-7, at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Rodney Smith caught four passes for 79 yards and a touchdown and Taiwan Easterling had three catches for 35 yards and a score for Florida State (9-3), which will face Virginia Tech in next week's ACC Championship Game thanks to Maryland's 38-81 victory over NC State.
"We'll probably appreciate this a lot more tomorrow, but what a perfect day for Florida State football," Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Like I say, our kids are doing a great job and they deserve to go where they are going. I'm proud of them."
John Brantley threw for just 52 yards on 6-of-12 passing with a touchdown and an interception as Florida (7-5) had its six-game series winning streak snapped.
Jordan Reed, who shared the quarterback duties with Brantley, completed only two passes for 12 yards but led the Gators in rushing with 74 yards on 13 carries.
Florida State scored on the game's opening drive when Dustin Hopkins kicked a 38-yard field goal.
Florida's Andre Debose took the ensuing kickoff to the Seminoles' 32 and the Gators scored five plays later when Brantley hit Robert Clark in stride for a 20-yard touchdown to make it 7-3.
The Gators got the ball back after a Florida State punt at 7:39, but after working the ball to their own 45, Reed fumbled on a run at the 46 that was recovered by the Seminoles.
Florida State carried the drive into the opening minutes of the second but was forced to punt. It would get the ball back three plays later when Chris Rainey fumbled on a one-yard reception at the Gators' 17.
After a Chris Thompson run worked the ball down to the nine, Lonnie Pryor scored on the next play to put Florida State up 10-7 at the 12-minute mark.
The Gators were held in their own territory on the next drive, and after failing to convert a faked punt on a 4th-and-5, the Seminoles took over at the Florida 39. Ponder connected with Smith for 39 yards on the following play to extend the Florida State lead to 17-7.
The Seminoles added another score with just under three minutes left in the first half when Ponder hit Easterling for a 15-yard score that capped a 12- play, 73-yard drive.
Florida was charging in the final minute, but Brantley was picked off at the Florida State seven with 55 seconds left, allowing the Seminoles to take the 24-7 lead into the half.
The Gators were forced into a three-and-out to open the third, and Ponder added his third touchdown of the day 10 plays later when he hit Willie Haulstead down the middle of the field for a 29-yard score.
Florida had a drive working at the end of the third and expanded it in the opening minutes of the fourth, but after methodically working the ball down the Florida State 14, Trey Burton fumbled on a run at the 12-yard line and it was recovered by Florida State's Terrance Parks.
The teams traded punts down the stretch and after the Seminoles got the ball back with 7:35 left on the clock, Ponder was given his curtain call by the fans, and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher allowed backup E.J. Manuel to work down the clock and seal the victory.
It was Urban Meyer's first loss to Florida State as Gators head coach...Florida entered the game holding opponents to 20.2 points a game...Florida State has won three straight since losing back-to-back to North Carolina and NC State...The Seminoles clinched their first nine-win season since 2003... Fisher is the only Florida State head coach to beat the Gators in his first season... Thompson led Florida State with 42 rushing yards on 17 carries.
11/28 01:26:52 ET