Chip Ferguson passed for 338 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score Monday night as 18th-ranked Florida State rolled past 19th-ranked Oklahoma State, 34-23, in the Gator Bowl.
Ferguson hit on 20 of 43 attempts, with touchdown passes of 39 and 19 yards to wide receiver Herb Gainer. Ferguson capped the scoring with a one-yard dive with 10:43 left.
The Seminoles were expected to stress the running game because their top receiver, Hassan Jones, had been suspended for selling complimentary tickets and their No. 2 and No. 3 receivers were injured.
The new wide receivers were Gainer and Randy White, a pair of third-year sophomores. Gainer had caught only five passes this season, and White didn’t have a reception.
But the reserves played like veterans in front of a crowd of 79,417. Gainer finished with 7 receptions for 148 yards, while White had 4 catches for 87 yards.
Gainer literally stole a 39-yard touchdown in the second quarter by outbattling Cowboy defensive back Demise Williams for a pass thrown into the end zone. He caught a 29-yarder to give the Seminoles a 27-3 lead with 4:51 left in the third period.
The Seminoles (9-3) also scored on a three-yard run by Cletis Jones and field goals of 23 and 39 yards by Derek Schmidt. Florida State tailback Tony Smith rushed 24 times for 201 yards.
Oklahoma State (8-4) managed only a 33-yard field goal by Brad Dennis until exploding for 14 points in 93 seconds late in the third quarter.
Tailback Thurman Thomas ran 29 yards with a screen pass to make it 27-10 with 2:52 left. After a fumble recovery by Harry Roberts on the third play after the kickoff, Thomas passed 12 yards to quarterback Ronnie Williams on a flea-flicker to make it 27-17 with 1:19 left in the quarter.
The Seminoles put an end to the Oklahoma State rally by driving 55 yards in nine plays to Ferguson’s touchdown run. The Cowboys finished the scoring when Williams passed 31 yards to Hart Lee Dykes with 10 seconds to play.
Thomas, who rushed for 1,553 yards in the regular season, was limited to 97 yards in 26 carries. Williams completed 21 of 43 passes for 251 yards but was intercepted twice.