Florida State Pummels Florida, Earns Trip To ACC Championship

Daniel BrommerCorrespondent INovember 28, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 27:  Taiwan Easterling #8 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates a touchdown during a game against the Florida Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Saturday resulted in two things: Florida State beat Florida for the first time in since 2003 and they earned the right to go to the ACC Championship due to Maryland's victory over N.C. State. A day that will be forever remembered in the hearts of Florida State fans as a day of celebration.

For starters Florida State actually looked the part of a dominant team against rival Florida in their 31-7 victory over the Gators. It was senior day in Tallahassee and an emotional day for senior quarterback Christian Ponder who would be playing his last game ever in Doak Campbell stadium. Ponder didn't disappoint completing 16 of 24 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns. While the rushing attack wasn't there for the 'Noles, it was the arm of Ponder that helped direct the offense and expose Florida's pass defense.

Ponder displayed the poise that he showcased last season as a junior, and while he hasn't been healthy all year, he showed why he was a pre-season Heisman candidate. Rodney Smith, Willie Haulstead and Taiwan Easterling all hauled in touchdown grabs and Lonnie Pryor provided one on the ground.

On defense, Brandon Jenkins added two more sacks bringing his season total to 12 which is fourth in the country. Mike Harris notched an interception and the defense as a whole held the Florida offense to just 276 yards.

The win snapped the streak of six straight wins by the Gators and in a way showed that Florida State is inching closer and closer to being back to their old self. The regular season ends with a 9-3 record for the 'Noles and they will turn their sites to Virginia Tech who coincidentally was their same opponent in the 2005 ACC Championship, the last time the Seminoles made it to the conference title game.

Florida State needed Maryland to win against N.C. State to win the Atlantic division and to make it back to the conference championship. Maryland beat N.C. State in dramatic fashion after giving up a 38-17 lead late in the fourth quarter to winning 38-31 sending the 'Noles back to the ACC title game.

Florida State will face off against Virginia Tech who has not lose a game since starting 0-2 against Boise State and James Madison.