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Instant analysis: FSU 26, South Carolina 17

Here’s a quick recap of Florida State’s 26-17 win against South Carolina:

How the game was won: With two of the game’s top offensive players -- Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder and South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore -- sidelined with injuries in the first half the difference in the game was Florida State’s defense. Greg Reid, Brandon Jenkins and Markus White – just to name a few – were all over the field and Jenkins was in Stephen Garcia’s face late in the fourth quarter. South Carolina didn’t give itself much of a chance to win with five turnovers, and couldn't stop the Noles' running game.

Stat of the game: South Carolina had four turnovers in the first half and finished with three interceptions and two fumbles. Florida State wasn't always able to capitalize on them, but it's hard to win when you don't have the ball, and South Carolina surrendered it five too many times.

Player of the game: Cornerback Greg Reid. He had five tackles, two forced fumbles, and four pass breakups, not to mention his contributions as a punt returner with 71 yards. He also delivered the hit on Marcus Lattimore that knocked him out of the game and caused a fumble.

Unsung hero of the game: FSU running back Chris Thompson. He had 24 carries for 142 yards and a touchdown, and two catches for 17 yards. His 27-yard touchdown run in the second quarter put FSU ahead 13-0.

What Florida State learned: The future is now for EJ Manuel. The Christian Ponder era has officially ended, and Manuel has now led the Noles to back-t0-back bowl wins -- not bad for a backup.

What it means: Florida State is heading in the right direction under Jimbo Fisher, who became the first coach in school history to win his first bowl game. The team won 10 games for the first time since 2003, won the Atlantic Division, and has plenty to build on heading into the offseason.