FSU restores rivalry with Spurrier

TALLAHASSEE – Florida State's rivalry with the Head Ball Coach will be renewed on New Year's Eve. The No. 23 Seminoles (9-4) will face No. 20 South Carolina (9-4) on Dec. 31 at 7:30 p.m. in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, setting up the first matchup of coach Steve Spurrier against FSU since 2001.

FSU went 8-4-1 against Spurrier during his time as Florida's coach. Spurrier left Gainesville to coach for two seasons with the NFL's Washington Redskins and has rejuvenated South Carolina, which won the SEC East for the first time this season.

Spurrier was asked about the old FSU-Florida games on Sunday and couldn't resist one jab.

"There were some years when they tried to hurt our quarterback, which was irritating," he said. "But that was a long time ago. I really admire Jimbo Fisher and what they're doing there. They run a first-class program."

FSU will make its 29th consecutive bowl appearance, the longest active streak in the nation. But the Seminoles have not played in an Atlanta bowl game since the old Peach Bowl in 1983.

Fisher is familiar with the Chick-fil-A Bowl. As an assistant coach with Auburn and LSU, he is 3-0 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

"Anything involved with Chick-fil-A, they're first class," Fisher said. "It's one of the best bowl games you can go to, the way they treat you, the hospitality.

"Atlanta is a great town and, playing in the dome, it's a great environment there and it's a great atmosphere."

FSU holds a 15-3 lead in the series against South Carolina, but the teams have not played since 1991. Both were members of the Metro Conference before FSU jumped to the ACC and South Carolina to the SEC in 1992.

Tickets are available now by going to Seminoles.com or by calling (888) 378-6653. FSU received an allotment of 18,000 tickets to the game.

Ponder's injury

With final exams slated for this week and coaches out of town recruiting, FSU is not expected to practice until the weekend at the earliest.

Fisher said on Sunday that he expected quarterback Christian Ponder (elbow) to play against South Carolina.

FSU leads nation again in sacks

Florida State didn't have much to be pleased with on defense, but the Seminoles did have three sacks in the loss to Virginia Tech.

They now lead the nation with 46 sacks – pushing them past Boise State (45).

Sophomore defensive end Brandon Jenkins had a sack, giving him 13. He has tied Alonzo Jackson (2002) for fifth place on the single-season sack list and would move up to third with a sack in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Jenkins' total is just 2.5 behind ACC leader Da'Quan Bowers of Clemson.

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