Jermaine Thomas has two TDs, Florida State has six sacks in convincing win
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Jermaine Thomas ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns in the first half and Florida State pounded Virginia 34-14 on Saturday.
The Seminoles (4-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) led 27-0 at halftime after outgaining Virginia 294-42. Thomas, who finished with 122 yards on 16 carries, scored on runs of 70 and 10 yards, and Christian Ponder hit Willie Haulstead with a 15-yard touchdown pass.
The Seminoles also sacked Marc Verica three times before halftime, and he missed several open receivers. He was 4 for 15 in the first half, and all four completions were to running backs.
Virginia (2-2, 0-1), which had beaten FCS schools Richmond and VMI and played well in a 17-14 loss at Southern Cal, viewed the game as a chance to see where it stands four games into the Mike London era, and many of the Cavaliers fans left after seeing the answer.
Meanwhile, the Seminoles were out to show that their 47-17 thrashing at the hands of No. 8 Oklahoma three weeks ago was an aberration, and they may have made some believers.
Virginia gave its fans some hope in the third quarter when the defense forced Florida State to punt and Verica hit Kris Burd for a 76-yard touchdown. The defense again held and Virginia drove to the Seminoles' 30, but Greg Reid intercepted Verica in the end zone.
Verica threw another interception deep in Seminoles territory and finished 14 for 30 for 211 yards. He was sacked four times and replaced by Ross Metheny in the final quarter.
The Seminoles came in leading the nation with 19 sacks and got six more.
Florida State, unranked for just the second time in 16 meetings with Virginia, looked every bit like one of those top teams of years past in the first half.
After Ponder was hit and fumbled on the opening play, with Thomas recovering, Ponder drove his team to the Virginia 19, where Dustin Hopkins' 37-yard field goal made it 3-0.
The Seminoles' next three possessions ended in touchdowns, often because Ponder made plays to keep the drives going. He hit Beau Reliford for 16 yards on a third-and-4, and Haulstead for the TD on a third-and-8. He also ran 12 yards on third-and-11 in a later drive.
Ponder finished 17 for 29 for 172 yards, and ran 10 times for 17 yards.
Metheny hit Colter Phillips with an 11-yard TD with 1:39 left for the final points.
2022 Atlantic Coast Conference Standings