CHARLOTTE -- For the first time since 2005, Florida State won an Atlantic Coast Conference title and will head to a BCS bowl game.
The Seminoles last played in a BCS game in the 2005 Orange Bowl, when Bobby Bowden lost a triple-overtime thriller to Joe Paterno’s Penn State Nittany Lions (the win was later vacated).
The Seminoles will return to the Orange Bowl to play Big East champion Louisville. The Cardinals announced this past Monday they would be leaving the Big East to join the ACC in all sports come 2014. The last time Louisville and FSU met was in 2002, when the Cardinals upset the unbeaten Seminoles 26-20 on a Thursday night.
The Seminoles have not won a BCS bowl since they won the Sugar Bowl during their 1999 national championship campaign. Florida State is 1-5 all-time in BCS games.
Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops accepted the head coaching job at the University of Kentucky on Tuesday, but stayed on through Saturday’s game to coach the Seminoles defense.
After the game the 45-year-old first-time head coach will head to Lexington where he will be officially introduced as the head of the Wildcats.
Kentucky basketball head coach John Calipari has already tweeted that Stoops will have the full resources of the school’s basketball program at his disposal.
Smith ties mark
Senior wide receiver Rodney Smith (Miami Archbishop Carroll) officially tied former Seminole E.G. Green for the most consecutive games with a reception in a Florida State career when he caught a 12-yard pass with 9:25 left in the second quarter.
Green had 38 games with a catch from 1994-97. Smith’s streak started in 2010 against BYU, and the 6-6, 220-pound senior hasn’t gone a game without a catch since. He will have a chance to break Green’s record in Seminoles’ bowl game.
This and that
• Florida State scored a touchdown on its opening possession for the seventh time this season. The Seminoles have scored on nine of their 13 opening drives (seven touchdowns, two field goals) and are 9-0 in games during which they score on their first drive.
• Senior linebacker Nick Moody was knocked out of the game with a head injury on the opening kickoff. He did not return. Junior safety Lamarcus Joyner (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas) was injured on the Yellow Jackets’ opening possession (just a few plays after Moody). He missed a series before returning to the field.
Despite losing senior running back Chris Thompson against Miami in October and the impact that has had on Florida State, the Seminoles have had little trouble replacing Thompson’s production on the field. Going into the ACC Championship Game, sophomores Devonta Freeman (Miami Central) and James Wilder Jr. had combined for nearly 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns. Both showed up ready to play from the opening whistle in Charlotte. Freeman scored his eighth touchdown of the season on an option pitch to cap off the Seminoles’ opening possession and Wilder scored his 10th and 11th touchdowns in the second quarter.
The Seminoles ran for 147 first half yards.
• Florida State’s captains were senior kicker Dustin Hopkins, senior linebacker Vince Williams and senior fullback Lonnie Pryor.