FSU Romps In Orlando
by Mike Mitchell
December 27, 2008
Florida State beat Wisconsin 42-13 in the Champs Sports Bowl. It's the worst loss in a bowl game for the Badgers since they were blistered 44-8 by Washington in the 1959 season Rose Bowl. It was FSU's largest margin of victory ever in a bowl game. The 'Noles improved to 21-14-2 in bowl games, including a 13-0-1 mark from 1982-1995.
Graham Gano received the MVP award as the 2008 Lou Groza Award winner (top placekicker) pinned Wisconsin at its own 1, 3 and 1-yard lines on his first three punts.
Florida State gained momentum when Christian Ponder hit Greg Carr on a 15-yard touchdown pass with 7 seconds left in the half to give the 'Nole a 14-3 cushion. It was the first offensive touchdown of the game for Florida State which opened the scoring with Derek Nicholson's 76-yard return of a fumble by Badger QB Dustin Sherer.
After Wisconsin closed to within 14-6 on its opening drive of the 3rd quarter, Florida State scored touchdowns on its next two possesions to blow the game open.
The first score was a 6-yard run by Antone Smith that culminated an 85-yard drive which lasted 7:43. The second drive went 77 yards in less than three minutes and was capped by Carlton Jones' 14-yard run.
Wisconsin fumbled on its next possesion and Dekoda Watson returned it 51 yards to make it 35-6 just 32 seconds into the 4th quarter. The next time Florida State got the football, it scored again on Ponder's 10-yard pass to Caz Piurowski for an insurmountable 42-6 lead.
The 28-point FSU outburst lasted took only 9:07.
Ponder completed 18-of-31 passes for 199 yards with 2 TD's and 0 INT's. Wisconsin's P.J. Hill ran for 140 yards on only 15 carries but also had the fumble that Watson returned for a Florida State touchdown.