Seminoles rally past Tar Heels

Published 2:19 am Friday, October 23, 2009

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Christian Ponder threw for a career-high 395 yards and three touchdowns to help Florida State rally from a big second-half deficit and beat North Carolina 30-27 on Thursday night.

Rod Owens added career-highs of nine catches for 199 yards, including a 98-yard score, for the Seminoles (3-4, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who trailed 24-6 early in the third quarter and appeared headed for a fourth straight loss.

Instead, Ponder directed a stunning rally against the nation’s third-ranked total defense, including the go-ahead 18-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Beau Reliford with 6:20 to play.

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The Tar Heels (4-3, 0-3) still had a chance to tie when they got the ball back with 47 seconds left and no timeouts, but their desperate drive only got to midfield before Markus White sacked T.J. Yates on the final play.

Florida State finished with 438 total yards, the most allowed by North Carolina all season. That came despite the Seminoles generating little on the ground and committing penalty after penalty to force almost the entire burden on Ponder, who responded by completing 33 of 40 passes.