NCAA Game Summary - South Carolina vs. Florida State|
(Friday, December 31st)
Final Score: (23) Florida State 26, (19) South Carolina 17
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Chris Thompson ran for 147 yards and a
touchdown, as 23rd-ranked Florida State pulled out a 26-17 victory over No. 19
South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
E.J. Manuel completed 11-of-15 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown for the
Seminoles (10-4) while playing in place of Christian Ponder, who left the game
with an injury.
Florida State rebounded from a loss to Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship
Game to give Jimbo Fisher a good ending to his first year as head coach. The
Seminoles also won their third consecutive bowl game.
Stephen Garcia passed for 243 yards but threw three interceptions as the
Gamecocks (9-5) dropped their third consecutive bowl game.
"Florida State outsmarted us and outplayed us completely in special teams,"
said South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier. "We had the turnovers, didn't
give ourselves much of a chance. They played a lot better than we did. They
were a better-coached team tonight, simple as that."
South Carolina played much of the contest without running back Marcus
Lattimore, who left after taking a hard hit on the game's opening drive.
Seminoles cornerback Greg Reid forced a fumble while hitting Lattimore after a
catch, and Lattimore left the game with a cut on his mouth. Spurrier said
Lattimore required stitches and went to the hospital because he sustained a
"little bit of a concussion."
Reid turned in a huge game overall, forcing two fumbles and totaling 71 return
Florida State got on the board on its ensuing possession, when Dustin Hopkins
kicked a 29-yard field goal. Hopkins added a 48-yarder with 2:42 left in the
quarter to make it a 6-0 game.
Ponder did not return to the game when the Seminoles took the ball with 7:58
left in the second quarter. He completed just one of his five pass attempts
and was sacked once.
Manuel took over and helped Florida State reach the end zone during his second
series under center. The Seminoles took over at their own 40 with a little
more than two minutes remaining.
Manuel rushed for 32 yards to bring the ball to the South Carolina 27, and two
plays later Thompson found the end zone.
There were only 62 seconds on the clock when the Gamecocks got the ball back,
but they got on the board before the half was through. Spencer Lanning kicked
a 40-yard field goal with time expiring, making it a 13-3 game at the break.
However, Hopkins kicked a 35-yarder on the opening drive of the second half to
get the points back.
Reid forced a fumble by receiver Alshon Jeffery on South Carolina's next
drive, but the Gamecocks' offense found success later in the quarter. They
went 92 yards in 10 plays, and scored on a trick play.
On third down at the FSU three-yard line, Garcia passed to Ace Sanders behind
the line of scrimmage on the left side of the field. Garcia then ran into open
space on the right side of the end zone, and Sanders hit him in stride. The
score got South Carolina within 16-10 with 3:49 left in the frame.
Hopkins added his fourth field goal, a 45-yarder, with nine seconds left. The
four successful kicks provided necessary cushion, as South Carolina responded
with another touchdown.
Brian Maddox capped the seven-play, 79-yard drive with a seven-yard run up the
middle. He fell backward over the goal line with 11:56 on the clock to bring
the Gamecocks within two.
But most hopes South Carolina had of completing the comeback ended on Florida
State's next possession, when Manuel led the Seminoles on a lengthy touchdown
drive. He ran or passed on 10 of the 13 plays, including a seven-yard scoring
strike to Taiwan Easterling with 5:27 to go.
"Defenses weren't letting it get out of hand," Fisher said. "I think both
defenses did a tremendous job tonight. We just kept scratching and clawing. We
played with a lot of toughness, and a lot of will."
The nine-point deficit was too much for the Gamecocks to overcome, especially
with so little time left. Florida State forced a turnover on downs on South
Carolina's next touch to punctuate the win.
Florida State fumbled three times, but didn't lose any...South Carolina held a
414-308 edge in total yards...Garcia completed 19-of-34 passes for the
Gamecocks, while Maddox finished with 53 yards and Kenny Miles totaled a team-
high 70 yards on the ground.
01/01 01:25:07 ET