Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Noles Clinch Share of ACC

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Noles Clinch Share of ACC

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Thomas, Times-Union sports writer

TALLAHASSEE -- From the lopsided final score, to the four touchdown passes and three defensive takeaways, there was an old-time feel to Florida State's 40-14 homecoming throttling of North Carolina last night.

"We're just starting to play like old times," FSU defensive tackle Jeff Womble said. "Everybody's starting to play together, trusting everybody to be where they're supposed to be and do what they're supposed to do."

The 15th-ranked Seminoles (8-3, 7-0 ACC) used the victory to get back to the position they've long held in the Atlantic Coast Conference -- champions for the 10th time in 11 years. By handing the Tar Heels (2-9, 0-7) their sixth consecutive loss, FSU locked up a share of the league title. It can clinch the title outright -- and the accompanying Bowl Championship Series berth -- with a win at N.C. State in next week's ACC finale, or a Maryland loss in any of its final two games.

The Terrapins, who defeated Clemson last night, travel to Virginia before playing host to Wake Forest in the season finale.

Walkovers have been few and far between for the Seminoles. FSU scored on four of its first five second-half possessions, blowing open a 17-0 halftime lead, to pull away and put coach Bobby Bowden's mind at ease.

"That is the first time I've had that feeling in a long time, and that is always a good feeling when you're coaching," Bowden said.

The 'Noles were able to put the game away with three first-time starters on offense -- a pair of linemen and freshman tailback Leon Washington, who filled in while Nick Maddox rested a right ankle sprain.

A pair of failed first-half field-goal attempts by Xavier Beitia prevented the 'Noles from putting the game away earlier, but quarterback Adrian McPherson and wide receiver Anquan Boldin more than made amends for the sluggish start. The duo teamed up for touchdown passes of 43, 19 and 4 yards, and McPherson added a 20-yard touchdown pass to Talman Gardner on his final throw of the night, pushing FSU's lead to 33-7 with 30 seconds to play in the third quarter. …

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