Sept. 7, 2008
FLORIDA STATE VS. WESTERN CAROLINA GAMEDAY NOTES
SECOND HALF NOTES
Carter Returns Punt For Touchdown
Tony Carter took the first punt return of the season 67 yards for a touchdown to give Florida State an early 7-0 lead. It was Carter’s first career touchdown on a punt return and fifth touchdown return overall. Carter has three career interception returns (35-yard vs. UVa – 2006; 86-yard vs. UCLA – 2006; 24-yards vs. Kentucky – 2007) and one blocked field goal return (69-yards vs. Clemson – 2006). The senior from Jacksonville, Fla., also added a blocked PAT for two points to his resume in 2006 (vs. Clemson). The punt return was just the second of his career. Carter’s first return off a punt came in 2006 as he tallied 19 yards.
The last time a Seminole returned a punt for a touchdown was Willie Reid against Penn State in the 2006 Orange Bowl. Reid returned a Nittany Lion punt 87 yards in the second quarter.
The last time Florida State opened a season with a punt return for a touchdown was in 1977 when Scott Warren scored on a two-yard return off a block punt against Southern Mississippi. The touchdown gave the Seminoles a 7-3 advantage, a lead FSU would not relinquish in a 35-6 victory.
The last time Florida State returned the first punt of the game for a touchdown was November 11, 1995 when Mario Edwards returned a block punt 24-yards for the score against North Carolina.
Ponder – Owens Connection
In Florida State’s first scoring drive of the season, starting quarterback Christian Ponder was a perfect 3-for-3 connecting all three times with junior wide out Rod Owens. Owens established a career-high with 50 receiving yards on the drive surpassing his previous career-high of 45 yards against Florida in 2007. Owens caught six passes for 55 yards a season ago. Owens added one more catch later in the second quarter tying his career-high in receptions with four (vs. Florida, 2007). He finished the first half with 4 catches for 61 yards.
Touchdown For Antone
Tailback Antone Smith recorded the first offensive touchdown for the Seminoles with a 5-yard run in the second quarter. It was Smith’s first touchdown since scoring on a 5-yard run against Alabama on September 29, 2007 in Jacksonville, a span of eight games.
Starting quarterback Christian Ponder found Bert Reed for a 41-yard scoring strike in the second quarter. The touchdown was the first career pass for Ponder and the first career touchdown reception for Reed. In the midst of the Seminoles second scoring drive of the half, Ponder surpassed his previous career-high for throwing yards while finishing the half with 134. The 41-yard pass was also a career long pass (28 yards) and touchdown pass (8 yards).
First Time Seminoles
Fifteen true freshmen made their Florida State debut in the first half against Western Carolina tying Arkansas for the most true freshman played in a single game in the FBS this year. Overall, 26 Seminoles made their first ever game appearance in the first half. Here is a list of the first time starters for the Seminoles in the first half:
*Moses McCray, *James Esco, *Nigel Bradham, Louis Givens, Markus White, *Everett Dawkins, Corey Surrency, *David Spurlock, *Zebrie Sanders, Taiwan Easterling, Antwane Greenlee, *Nigel Carr, *Shawn Powell, Zack Aronson, Zach Hobby, *John Jones, *Rhonne Sanderson, Bert Reed, *Vince Williams, *Carlton Jones, Joe Tonga, *Jarmon Fortson, A.J. Ganguzza, *Andrew Datko, Will Furlong, *Toshmon Stevens
* denotes true freshman
First Half Scoring
Florida State’s 28 points in the first half are the most since September 27, 2003 vs. Duke. In that game, the Seminoles tallied 28 points in the first half on their way to a 57-6 victory over the Blue Devils.
October 3, 2002 vs. Clemson marked the last time Florida State scored 28 points in the first half at home. You have to go back to September 29, 2001 to find the last time FSU scored more than 28 points in the first half as the Seminoles tallied 42 against Wake Forest in Doak S. Campbell Stadium.
SECOND HALF NOTES
First Time Seminoles
Twenty-two true freshmen made their Florida State debut against Western Carolina moving ahead of Arkansas for the most true freshman played in a single game in the FBS this year. Overall, 39 Seminoles made their first-ever appearance in the game. Here is a list of the Seminoles making their collegiate debut versus the Catamounts:
*Moses McCray, *James Esco, *Nigel Bradham, Shawn Powell, and Chad Colley.
* denotes true freshman
Carr Moves Up The Touchdown Charts
Greg Carr moved into third place all-time for career touchdown catches at FSU with his 26th on a 54-yard pass from Christian Ponder to open the third quarter. With the touchdown reception, Carr also moved ahead of Wake Forest’s Ricky Proehl for eighth place all alone in the ACC for career TD catches.
The touchdown pass by Ponder eclipsed his previous long of 41 yards established earlier in the first half.
Run D’Vo Run…Pass D’Vo Pass
In his first appearance of the season at quarterback, sophomore D’Vontrey Richardson scampered 52 yards for the sixth Seminole touchdown of the game. The run is the longest by a Seminole quarterback dating back to at least the `67 season.
Richardson added his second rushing touchdown of the evening scoring from four yards out. Richardson finished the game with four rushes for 68 yards.
The last time a Seminole quarterback rushed for two touchdowns was Drew Weatherford against Kentucky in the Music City Bowl on December 31, 2007. Weatherford scored from 6 yards out in the first quarter and then on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Richardson also had a good night throwing the ball completing 5-of-6 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown, all career-highs.
First Time Touchdowns
Five of the ten touchdowns recorded by Florida State on Saturday evening came from players making their collegiate debut. Those reaching pay dirt for the first time as collegians were Bert Reed, Corey Surrency, D’Vontrey Richardson, Jarmon Fortson, and Jermaine Thomas.
The 69 points scored by Florida State on Saturday evening are the most since defeating Duke 62-13 at home on September 20, 1998. The last time FSU scored 69 points or more was in a 72-13 win over Wake Forest on October 14, 1995 at Doak Campbell Stadium. The 69 points were the most scored to open the season since downing Duke 70-26 on September 2, 1995 in Orlando. It’s also the third most points FSU has ever scored in a season-opener. The 69-point margin of victory is a school record, topping the old mark of 63 points when the Seminoles downed Louisiana Tech 66-3 on October 22, 1988 in Tallahassee. On Nov. 14, 1992, FSU defeated Tulane in Tallahassee by a margin of 63 points as well with a 70-7 victory.
This is the 13th time under head coach Bobby Bowden that Florida State has eclipsed the 60-point plateau.
The 69-0 victory for Florida State over Western Carolina is the first shutout for the Seminoles since taking a 33-0 victory over Virginia on November 4, 2006 at Doak Campbell Stadium.
The 561 yards of total offense amassed by Florida State is the most since the Seminoles tallied 587 against Wake Forest in 2005.