Nineteen of 31 for 170 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions including a fumble—those don't exactly sound like Heisman statistics, do they?
Those were the numbers that Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder put up against Boston College on Saturday in a hard-fought but easily avoidable 24-19 win. The win extends the 'Noles' winning streak to five games; but in a home game they were picked to win by 28 points, they certainly failed to impress.
Ponder never fully found his rhythm, but it wasn't all his fault. Countless times the offensive drives resulted in three straight pass plays with plenty of three-and-out series. FSU's rushing attack came into the contest ranked 16th in the country, averaging 223 yards a game. Saturday's game against Boston College resulted in only 141 yards of total rushing, almost half the season average. The play-calling was questionable to say the least, but that's not to take credit away from Boston College's defense.
Jermaine Thomas and Chris Thompson never found their stride, while the only rushing touchdown of the day was a reverse to wide receiver Bert Reed for 42 yards to seal the victory. Wide receiver Rodney Smith hauled in six catches for 49 yards, and Taiwan Easterling had three catches for 42 yards.
Florida State's defense struggled early in the game. Boston College running back Montel Harris ripped through the Seminole defense for a staggering 191 yards on 26 carries, but he failed to find the end zone. True freshman Chase Rettig struggled all day, completing just nine passes on 24 attempts for 95 yards.
Brandon Jenkins accounted for two sacks, while Jaccobi McDaniel and Markus White each had a sack of their own. The defensive line started out shaky, but found their groove and in the second half shut down Boston College's offensive attack. Safety Terrance Parks had a couple of huge pass break-ups as did true freshman LaMarcus Joyner.
The win begs the question: Is this team for real?
The old saying, "a win is a win" just doesn't have the same meaning for this one. Florida State dominated Miami last week, so they possibly could have had a hangover from the big game.
At the same time, though, we have to look at the play of Christian Ponder. We've been waiting all season for him to break out of his shell and play the way he did a year ago, but it just hasn't happened yet. There's no time line on when he will start to play better, but if FSU wants the magic to continue, he will need to step up and perform the way he is capable of and the way Florida State fans are used to seeing him play.