Florida State appears to have turned a corner with back-to-back wins against Syracuse and North Carolina after an 0-4 start to the season.
While the Seminoles lost three one possession games against Notre Dame, Jacksonville State and Louisville, head coach Mike Norvell now believes his team is on the right track for sustained success. Norvell spoke to the media on Monday and pointed to last year’s 31-28 upset victory against UNC and how the team responded after that triumph.
“I was a lot happier after this one than I was really a year ago,” Norvell said. “This was a clean game.”
FSU took a 31-7 lead into halftime during that game but became complacent and nearly lost its grip on the lead. It wasn’t as great a feeling when the clocked ticked down to zero as it should’ve been, and what happened in the following weeks proved it. FSU started a three-game losing streak in what became a rough first season for Norvell as head coach.
But this time around, things appear different. FSU dominated UNC in Chapel Hill with a Hall-of-Fame coach in Mack Brown on the other sideline. Norvell and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham finally committed to Jordan Travis at quarterback, meaning that they committed to a run heavy offense, something we’re not used to seeing in Tallahassee.
Travis, along with running backs Treshaun Ward and Jashaun Corbin ran to the tune of 238 yards on 41 carries, gassing Tar Heels defenders throughout the game. FSU played turnover free football and only committed five penalties for 50 yards as a team, a complete performance.
“Being able to truly win the game by doing the things that were necessary,” Norvell said. “I was really pleased with our team.”
It might’ve been the best performance by any FSU team since Jimbo Fisher bolted to Texas A&M at the conclusion of the 2017 season. It was that good, but also a sign of how far the once mighty program had fallen. But it’s finally looking up with a favorable schedule ahead.
FSU will host UMass at Doak Campbell Stadium on Oct. 23, a team that just got its first win over UConn, one of the only winless teams in the nation. It’ll be a chance for FSU to start a three-game winning streak and gain some momentum before the schedule thickens in November. Once thought of as a guaranteed loss, the annual matchup with Clemson on Oct. 30 seems winnable. The Tigers have stumbled this season to a 3-2 record, unranked in the AP Poll.
Norvell, however, is focused on improving, which he says is the same attitude his team carries every week.
“I’m just proud of our team,” Norvell said. “I think we’re getting better. It’s a continued work in progress. We definitely have a lot of things we have to continue to improve on… We can be a lot better. And we need to be a lot better. That’s why we go back to work.”