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The Daily Tar Heel

Seminoles Strike Back

But the Seminoles haven't ever had a score to settle with the Tar Heels before.

Last year's 41-9 upset at Kenan Stadium gave FSU plenty to stew about in the past year.

"We've been looking forward to this since August -- since the season was over last year, really," said FSU quarterback Adrian McPherson. "We have these two dates circled on the calendar."

The Seminoles (8-3, 7-0 in the ACC) walloped the Tar Heels 40-14, avenging last year's loss using a recipe that has worked time and time again to cook up disaster for North Carolina (2-9, 0-7) this season.

Move the ball -- a swift rushing method is preferred by most of the Tar Heels' opponents, but FSU tried a flavor of the passing variety, which worked as well -- and throw in a couple mindless UNC penalties, and you've whipped up a typical Tar Heel loss.

Florida State did just that Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in front of a homecoming crowd of 81,910.

In the game's opening minutes, the Seminoles lacked the intensity of a team with revenge on its mind.

"We still showed our inadequacies by not jumping on (UNC) early," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "We took that first drive right down the field and got nothing; that is a bad sign."

But after a scoreless first quarter, FSU revved up its offensive motor and scored 17 points, including two touchdowns compliments of a lethal McPherson-Anquan Boldin combination.

But instead of allowing the 'Noles run up the score, North Carolina answered with a touchdown of its own.

Soon after halftime, UNC quarterback C.J. Stephens found tight end Bobby Blizzard in the end zone and with a 14-yard touchdown pass, the Tar Heels were back in a 20-7 game.

"On that drive, we really maintained throughout and didn't make mistakes," said Stephens, who finished 16 of 40 for 175 yards, one touchdown and one interception. "It would have been nice if we could have had more like that."

Two UNC penalties -- a pass interference and offsides -- later, Florida State regained the ball and marched it down the field to score on a 4-yard McPherson pass to Boldin. McPherson threw 237 yards for four touchdowns -- three of which were caught by Boldin -- against the Tar Heels.

"They blitzed us a lot the whole game, which gave us some one-on-one coverages outside," Boldin said. "Fortunately, we were able to take advantage of that."

But the game wasn't out of reach until another Tar Heel error sealed their fate.

As North Carolina prepared to punt on fourth and 13, Greg Warren botched the snap and hit Jacque Lewis in the knee. FSU's Jared Hetzel leaped on the ball and the Seminoles took less than a minute to put six more points on the board, courtesy of a 20-yard McPherson pass to Talman Gardner.

"I was really disappointed in the punt team today -- I don't understand what took place there today," Bunting said. "We had a couple of real bonehead plays. We have to get that straightened out because that shouldn't happen."

Florida State scored another touchdown early in the fourth quarter after Bowden subbed in backup quarterback Chris Rix.

UNC backup QB Matt Baker also added a score in the game's waning minutes when he hit Danny Rumley with a 14-yard pass in the end zone.

With the win, the Seminoles clinched at least a share of the ACC title, and kept North Carolina winless in the conference.

"It wasn't pretty," Bunting said. "There's nothing like getting a win, and we didn't get one -- again."

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The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.