Ponder sparks Florida St. with three first-half TDs

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Christian Ponder threw three first-half touchdown passes and Florida State wrapped up the soft part of its schedule Saturday with a 46-7 victory over lower-division Chattanooga.

The Seminoles (2-0) had three touchdowns on the board just 12 minutes into the game and led 30-7 at the half. They didn't have it quite as easy as last week when they roughed up another Southern Conference team, Western Carolina, 69-0. Western Carolina and Chattanooga (1-2) are members of the Football Championship Subdivision.

Coach Bobby Bowden collected career win No. 375, staying abreast of Penn State's Joe Paterno, whose Nittany Lions whipped Syracuse on Saturday.

Florida State begins the meatier part of its schedule next Saturday when Wake Forest (2-0) visits in search of a third straight win over the Seminoles in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.

A sophomore making his second collegiate start for the Seminoles, Ponder threw to 6-foot-5 Corey Surrency for 44- and 39-yard touchdowns. He also teamed with Antone Smith on an 8-yard scoring pass. Smith added a 12-yard TD run.

Ponder, who beat out three-year incumbent Drew Weatherford for the starting job, has thrown six TD passes in two games without an interception, albeit against lower-level competition.

And for the second straight week, second-team quarterback D'Vontrey Richardson came up big as well -- throwing for 117 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown to Bert Reed.

Richardson ran for another, his third of the season. His 55-yard run was the longest scoring run by a quarterback in Florida State history -- a record he'd set last week with a 52-yard scoring burst.

Florida State lost its chance for a second straight shutout early when Chattanooga's Jordan Hazard raced past Seminoles safety Darius McClure to haul in a 62-yard scoring pass from Tony Pastore.

The Seminoles played without a half-dozen defensive starters still sitting out suspensions from an academic cheating scandal in 2007. Those players will be back Sept. 27 for the Colorado game, but junior wide receiver Preston Parker returns Saturday after sitting out two games as a result of pleading guilty to misdemeanor firearms and marijuana charges.

Florida State is 2-0 against the Mocs, also winning in 1984, 37-0.