Mack Brown and North Carolina came into Tallahassee ranked as the fifth-best team in the nation, as 13.5-point favorites, and fell behind by 24 points. The Tar Heels had a late surge — they cut the deficit to three points, and had the ball in Florida State territory on their final drive, before a couple of drops derailed their comeback attempt. By the skin of their teeth, the Seminoles held on, 31-28.
The prevailing question, which we will not know the answer to until later, is whether Florida State is starting to be on an upward trajectory with new coach Mike Norvell or if the Tar Heels were always overrated and destined to fall flat. Or maybe it’s both.
Norvell didn’t call on quarterback Jordan Travis to throw too much; Travis had a rare stat line where he completed under half his passes, but averaged over 10 yards per attempt. For North Carolina, Sam Howell played really well at QB amidst their comeback surge. Until the Tar Heels didn’t score on their final drive, his play had made it feel inevitable that they would.
Next Saturday, Florida State plays at Louisville and North Carolina hosts NC State.