JACKSONVILLE -- The city of Jacksonville continues to treat the Seminoles well.
In Saturday's River City Showdown between Colorado and Florida State the Seminoles got the better of the Buffaloes, thanks in large part to the efforts of Antone Smith. In front of 46,716 at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, the senior running back racked up 154 yards and three touchdowns to give Bobby Bowden a win in his 500th game.
"He's a senior and you know we've been trying to count on him since he's been here but we really hadn't put the emphasis on him until we needed to do so," Bowden said of Smith. "I thought the way we won was very significant in the fact that we actually ran the ball."
On Colorado's opening drive of the game, Seminole defensive end Everrette Brown got around the edge and struck the ball loose out of quarterback Cody Hawkins hand. Neefy Moffett, who started in his first game back from suspension, jumped on the fumble and gave the 'Noles the ball on Colorado's 27-yard line.
Once the Seminole offense stepped on the field, it became the Antone Smith show.
Smith took the ball on four consecutive carries for 27 yards and a Seminole touchdown to put FSU up 7-0 early.
Colorado quickly struck back with a 11 play, 82 yard touchdown drive capped off by a 30 yard touchdown pass from Hawkins to Josh Smith to tie the score.
After being forced to punt, the Seminoles defense came up with a big stand on Colorado's next drive causing the Buffaloes to turn the ball over on downs.
Florida State's next drive showed plenty of promise moving the chains on several occasions before freshman running back Jermaine Thomas coughed the ball up turning it over inside Colorado's territory. Fortunately for the 'Noles, Colorado could do nothing with it and were forced to punt.
After a punt, the Seminoles offense, pinned inside their own 20, could do nothing and went three and out.
Finally, on the Buffaloes' next possession, Florida State got their first interception of the year courtesy of free safety Jamie Robinson.
Florida State gave the ball right back to Colorado on a wacky play. The Buffs swatted a Christian Ponder pass and Ponder would end up catching it, but lost control of it on another hit. Colorado linebacker Curtis Cunningham snatched it for an interception.
The Seminole defense continued to do its job, forcing a 27-yard field goal that would sail wide and keep Colorado from taking the lead.
Both teams would again trade punts before Florida State found the scoreboard again.
From the Florida State 40 yard line, Smith took the ball, found a crease, and left everyone in his wake for a 60-yard touchdown scamper down the sideline. Gano converted the point after to make the score 14-7 in favor of the Seminoles.
On the ensuing kickoff, Colorado's Josh Smith had trouble handling the ball and was tackled at his own 4, pinning Colorado deep in its own territory with under two and a half minutes remaining in the half. Florida State stuffed the Colorado offense on three straight plays and used all three timeouts to force a punt from their own three with 1:57 remaining in the half.
With the punt block on, junior linebacker Dekoda Watson got past the Buffalo punt protection and blocked the football out of the end zone for a safety, widening the margin to 16-7.
Colorado's kickoff was fielded by Bert Reed and returned 41 yards all the way to the 23 yard line. The favorable field position eventually led to a field goal by Graham Gano, from 36 yards out just prior to the half. The Seminoles would take a 19-7 lead into the locker room.
Florida State opened the second half with a drive that led to Gano's second field goal of the day, a career-long 52-yarder.
Both offenses struggled after that exchanging punts. The next instance of scoring was Gano's third field goal of the day, this one from 44 yards with 1:33 remaining in the third quarter giving the Seminoles a 25-7 lead.
Colorado responded putting together a 8-play, 80 yard touchdown drive where Hawkins found tight end Riar Greer from two yards out for a Buffalo touchdown bringing the score to 25-14.
Florida State's response would be immediate and swift. Senior Michael Ray Garvin seemingly put any hopes for a Colorado comeback to bed when he returned the kickoff 94 yards. Gano's extra point extended the Seminoles lead to 18.
However, the Buffaloes continued to fight hard and put together another touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter which was capped off when Hawkins found a wide open Patrick Devenny from 13 yards out for the score.
Behind Rick Trickett's offensive line the Seminoles would answer with a tough 10-play, 80 yard touchdown drive behind the legs of Smith. Smith capped off the drive with his third touchdown of the day, this time from two yards out.
"The fourth quarter felt really good, especially our final scoring drive," sophomore offensive lineman Rodney Hudson said. "With the clock winding down, all we really needed was two first downs, but it felt good to wrap the game up and go ahead and punch the ball in the end zone on the ground."
Colorado would get the ball back, but would turn it over on downs before FSU ran out the clock and improved to 3-1 on the season.
All in all, Bowden was pleased with his team's performance against Colorado coming off a tough loss to Wake Forest last week.
"You know one thing happens when you get beat like we did last week, you don't have any trouble getting their attention the next week cause you're made, and they know you're mad," Bowden said. "It got a lot better today because of the output of the offensive line. That's something you don't see in Bobby Bowden football. I got to hand all that credit to Trickett, our offensive line coach, James Coley who coaches our tight ends and Dexter Carter."