Following three quarters of sluggish play and only one touchdown, Florida State found themselves trailing Jacksonville State, an FCS school, 9-7 with under two minutes remaining in the game.
The Seminoles would avoid the monumental upset, thanks to a few big plays in the final two minutes.
The first big play came from the Seminole offense. A 24-yard pass from Christian Ponder to Richard Goodman with 1:11 had the Seminoles down at the one-yard line. Sophomore running back Ty Jones, who got his first career start against the Gamecocks, scored from one yard out to cap a nine-play, 57 yard drive and give the Seminoles a 13-9 lead, following a missed extra point attempt by freshman kicker Dustin Hopkins.
Next up it was the defense's turn. Jacksonville State's offense had one last shot, starting a drive at the 43-yard line following a squib kick from the Seminoles. On the next play, freshman defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel pressured and sacked Ryan Perrilloux forcing a fumble that was picked up by Kevin McNeil. McNeil returned it 33 yards for a touchdown. Following another missed extra point the Seminoles had a 19-9 lead with only 21 seconds remaining.
Florida State would hold onto a victory, in a game where they were largely outplayed for nearly the entire game.
"I sure am happy to win," Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden said. "I feel lucky to have won. I have never played a ballgame in my life where so many things went wrong, never."
Ponder led the Seminoles with 324 passing yards, a new career-high, on 22-of-35 passing. On the ground, Jones had 40 yards on eight rushes, but scored both Seminole offensive touchdowns.
After being out-gained for three quarters, the Seminoles limited Jacksonville State to just 13 offensive yards in the fourth quarter. The Seminoles would finish with 402 total offensive yards while they allowed 310 yards to the Gamecocks.
Bowden said he expects to find out a lot about his team next weekend when Florida State (1-1) travels to BYU (2-0) to face the Cougars on Saturday at 7 p.m.
"We will find out next week how far away we are," Bowden said.
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