Scores

Final

W Carolina 0

(1-1, 0-1 away)

Florida State 69

(1-0, 1-0 home)

6:00 PM ET, September 6, 2008

Doak Campbell Stadium, TALLAHASSEE, FL

1 2 3 4 T
WCU 0 0 0 00
FSU 7 21 27 1469

Top Performers

Passing: C. Ponder (FSU) - 196 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: J. Thomas (FSU) - 13 CAR, 91 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: B. Reed (FSU) - 3 REC, 77 YDS, 1 TD

Ponder strong in start as FSU whips W. Carolina

Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Christian Ponder threw three touchdowns passes and backup D'Vontrey Richardson ran for two more scores to lead Florida State to a 69-0 win over Western Carolina on Saturday night in a game interrupted more than two hours by lightning.

Ponder, making his first college start after throwing only 18 passes for the Seminoles, completed 11 of 17 passes for 196 yards before giving way to Richardson after the first series of the second half.

Richardson ran for a 52-yard score on his second play and moments later scored on a 7-yard run as Florida State (1-0) took a 48-0 lead early in the third quarter. He also hit Jamon Fortson with a 3-yard TD pass.

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden claimed his 374th career to win to stay abreast of Penn State's Joe Paterno as the winningest major college coach. Penn State beat Oregon State earlier Saturday.

With more than a dozen players, including several starters, sitting out suspensions for either academic or disciplinary reasons, 28 freshmen played for the Seminoles and two scored touchdowns -- Fortson and Jermaine Thomas, who ran for two TDs.

Western Carolina (1-1) trailed by only a touchdown, 7-0, midway through the second quarter before surrendering three quick touchdowns in the final 6:54 of the half.

Tony Carter's 68-yard punt return 1:49 into the game spotted the unranked Seminoles a quick lead, but the game was stopped after the point-after kick for 55 minutes and Ponder and the offense seemed out of sync when the game first resumed.

The 6-foot-2, 218-pound Ponder, who beat out incumbent starter Drew Weatherford for the starting job this fall, shook off a sluggish start and completed seven of 10 passes for 123 yards in the second quarter. In the period, he teamed with Bert Reed on a 41-yard scoring pass and then hit Corey Surrency with a 7-yard TD throw to give the Seminoles a 28-0 at the break.

On Florida State's opening drive of the second half, Ponder hit 6-6 Greg Carr with a 54-yard scoring pass as the Seminoles took a 35-0 lead.

The start of the game was delayed by 1 hour, 21 minutes because of lightning and then for another 55 minutes right after Carter's touchdown.

Florida State is 3-0 against the outgunned Catamounts -- a member of the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision formerly known as I-AA -- outscoring the Southern Conference school by an aggregate 175-20.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
WCU
FSU
1st Downs1224
Total Yards176561
Passing119271
Rushing57290
Penalties6-378-58
3rd Down Conversions3-143-6
4th Down Conversions0-20-0
Turnovers10
Possession32:1627:44

Passing Leaders

Western CarolinaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Hearns4/7669.400
Florida StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Ponder11/1719611.530

Rushing Leaders

Western CarolinaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Warley14382.708
Wright5234.6010
Florida StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Thomas13917.0216
Richardson46817.0252

Receiving Leaders

Western CarolinaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Pittman58917.8028
James2157.5010
Florida StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Reed37725.7141
Carr36722.3154

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERWCUFSU
TD13:11Tony Carter 68 Yd Punt Return (Zach Hobby Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERWCUFSU
TD06:54Antone Smith 5 Yd Run (Zach Hobby Kick) 014
TD03:48Bert Reed 41 Yd Pass From Christian Ponder (Zach Hobby Kick) 021
TD01:28Corey Surrency 7 Yd Pass From Christian Ponder (Zach Hobby Kick) 028
THIRD QUARTERWCUFSU
TD13:32Greg Carr 54 Yd Pass From Christian Ponder (Zach Hobby Kick) 035
TD10:51D'Vontrey Richardson 52 Yd Run (Zach Hobby Kick) 042
TD09:46D'Vontrey Richardson 7 Yd Run (Pat Failed) 048
TD03:29Jarmon Fortson 3 Yd Pass From D'Vontrey Richardson (Zach Hobby Kick) 055
FOURTH QUARTERWCUFSU
TD09:17Jermaine Thomas 12 Yd Run (Zach Hobby Kick) 062
TD01:01Jermaine Thomas 5 Yd Run (Zach Hobby Kick) 069