‘Noles rally for 19-9 win over Jacksonville State
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP)—Florida State needed two scores in the final 35 seconds Saturday night to avoid arguably one of the most embarrassing upsets in school history.
Ty Jones’ 1-yard touchdown run with 35 seconds left put the Seminoles ahead of lower-division Jacksonville (Ala.) State and teammate Kevin McNeil returned a fumble for a score 21 seconds later to seal the 19-9 victory.
Trailing 9-7, Jones’ TD rallied the Seminoles and McNeil scooped up Ryan Perrilloux’s fumble and ran 33 yards for his score. McNeil also blocked a field goal try by Jacksonville’s Patrick Tatum in the third quarter that could have given the Gamecocks a 12-7 lead.
The visiting Gamecocks (0-2) took advantage of three Florida State turnovers to keep control of the contest until the final minute.
Florida State (1-1) hasn’t lost to a school in the Football Championship Subdivision since a 9-0 defeat to William & Mary in 1969.
The Seminoles were listless for much of the game, coming just five days after a 38-34 loss to archrival Miami. Florida State makes its first road appearance next Saturday for a date with No. 9 Brigham Young.
Christian Ponder’s 24-yard pass to Richard Goodman with 1:11 left in the game set up Jones’ go-ahead score. Ponder threw for a career high 324 yards, completing 22 of 35 passes without a touchdown or interception—teaming mostly with Goodman, who caught eight passes for 80 yards.
Perrilloux completed 12 of 27 passes for Jacksonville State for 213 yards and a first quarter touchdown that put the Gamecocks into a 6-0 lead.
Jacksonville State led 9-7 at the half on Tatum’s 37-yard field goal late in the second quarter.
Dustin Hopkins extra point kick gave Florida State a 7-6 lead with 1:25 left in the first quarter. Jones scored the touchdown on a 7-yard run that tied the game after Ponder teamed up with tight end Caz Piurowski on a 53-yard pass on play.
Florida State’s pass defense troubles were evident on Jacksonville’s opening drive as Perrilloux connected on a 28-yard touchdown pass with a wide-open Jamal Young. The extra point failed when the snap was mishandled.