Florida State Dominates Miami, Gains Ground In Wide-Open ACC

Daniel BrommerCorrespondent IOctober 10, 2010

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 9: Jermaine Thomas #38 pats Christian Ponder #7 on the head as he is held by Andrew Datko #67 of the Florida State Seminoles after scoring a touchdown against the Miami Hurricanes on October 9, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Seminoles defeated the Hurricanes 45-17. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Florida State entered Saturday's annual game against Miami ranking first in the nation in sacks and tackles for loss. Saturday they managed only one sack, but accounted for five tackles for loss. A complete effort by the defensive unit held the explosive Miami offense to just 17 points.

Miami running back Damien Berry was the first running back to have rushed for over 100 yards against the Seminole defense. Jacory Harris was hampered by what appeared to be a groin injury, and his numbers didn't help his case either—he completed 19 of 47 passes for 225 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. Harris was overthrowing receivers all night, and looked flustered by the defense the entire game.

Miami receiver Leonard Hankerson was held to five catches for 72 yards and Travis Benjamin had four catches for 59 yards. While the Florida State secondary gave up 235 yards, they still prevented any touchdowns through the air. True freshman LaMarcus Joyner snagged his first interception of his college career.

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder needed to have a solid performance. While he didn't put up Heisman-like numbers, he was consistent and played a great game while leading this offense to another victory. He had 173 yards with two touchdowns and a pick that he threw towards the end of the first half. Ponder was a field general and showed poise and leadership.

The story of the game was the continued success of the running game for the Seminoles. Once again, they racked up over 200 yards collectively, with Chris Thompson leading the charge with 158 yards and a touchdown, and Jermaine Thomas adding 78 yards with two touchdowns while having 34 yards receiving for a touchdown. Sophomore fullback Lonnie Pryor also added 45 yards on the ground with a touchdown.

Taiwan Easterling led all Seminole receivers with 53 yards, while Rodney Smith hauled in an 18-yard touchdown grab.

With the win, Florida State inches closer to being back. Since their loss to Oklahoma, they are undefeated and have shown they have truly turned this season around. There is no reason not to believe that this team is the front runner in the ACC now. With their huge win Saturday night, they are the favorites to win the championship.