The Daily Nole

7 Days Until FSU Football: No. 7 Christian Ponder Helps Transition FSU Into a New Era

FSU athletics

There are seven days left until Florida State football starts the 2018 season. As part of the offseason, we’re highlighting players, games, and specific moments from FSU football history.

On Sunday, it was Florida State’s 8-0 finish in 1950 to complete the school’s first perfect season.

Today, it is Christian Ponder, who wore No. 7 and helped FSU transition into a new era.

A Texas native and son of former FSU defensive standout David Ponder, Christian Ponder was a 3-year starter at quarterback for the Seminoles from 2008-10. In addition to being a leader on the field, Ponder was an outstanding athlete and quite the performer in the classroom. By the time his playing days in Tallahassee were over, Ponder was the proud owner of a master’s degree.

Ponder first got the nod for the Seminoles in 2008 when he was named the starting quarterback over redshirt senior and 3-year starter Drew Weatherford. With Ponder at the helm in 2008, FSU finished 9-4 and in the top 25.

Ponder was mostly a game manager that season with 18 total touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Only once that season did Ponder throw for over 200 yards. Perhaps his best performance of the year was a 144-yard rushing effort in a 41-39 road shootout victory over rival Miami.

Ponder’s redshirt junior season of 2009 watched the heady Texas native mature immensely as a passer. Although the team regressed as a whole, Ponder was nothing short of outstanding, averaging more than 300 yards per game passing and completing nearly 69 percent of his throws. Perhaps the best game of his career was a 395-yard passing effort in Chapel Hill as the Seminoles erased a 24-6 deficit for a thrilling 30-27 win over North Carolina on a Thursday night.

Unfortunately for Ponder, his season would be cut short in a 40-24 loss to Clemson when he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury while making a tackle on a turnover. He made nine starts in 2009.

Ponder would battle multiple injuries under first-year head coach Jimbo Fisher as a redshirt senior in 2010, but still managed to be there when his team needed him. After starting the year with four touchdown passes in a win over Samford, Ponder would lead FSU to the ACC Championship for the first time in five years and a 10-win season for the first time in seven. Ponder accounted for 24 total touchdowns, including 20 through the air that season.

Injuries forced Ponder to miss starts against Clemson and then Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship. His final game in an FSU uniform against South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl was cut short due to a concussion as the Seminoles won 26-17.

On Senior Day however, Ponder passed for 221 yards and three touchdowns as FSU snapped a 6-game losing streak to rival Florida in triumphant fashion, 31-7. Although injuries relegated a potentially great FSU career to a good one, Ponder’s leadership helped the Seminoles begin the post-Bobby Bowden era with an elevated standard and brought much-needed stability to the quarterback position.

Ponder would be selected 12th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings and spent five years in the league with the Vikings and San Francisco 49ers. Ponder ranks fourth all-time at FSU in completions and sixth in passing yards and passing touchdowns.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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  1. Pingback: What Happened To Christian Ponder? (Complete Story)

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