The Noles had their Thanksgiving feast a couple of days late as they feasted on turnovers, sacks, and touchdowns against Florida.
While both teams had issues on offense, the Seminoles defense made a feast on what was a more inept Gator offense. They basically devoured an overmatched Florida QB, Feleipe Franks. Starting with a strip sack by DE Brian Burns resulting in a 16-yard scoop and score by LB Jacob Pugh, you could tell that the Noles D wanted to prove a point.
An opportunity for another pick-6 was botched by the stupidity of senior LB Matthew Thomas. Thomas picked off a Franks pass at the Florida 30 and then, with a clear path to the end zone, tries to showboat and dive in for the score. Although first called a touchdown video review showed his
knee hit at the 1. That along with the 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty put the ball at the 16. Instead of an insurmountable 38-16 lead, at the 11:12 mark of the 4th quarter, the offense had to come back on the field. Fortunately for FSU (and Thomas) the offense came through and sealed the game
by getting the score to 38-16 with 7:33 left in the game. While the FSU offense struggled with a strong defensive effort by the Gators, they were leading in total yards at that point. A meaningless 72-yard drive, by Florida that started at the 3:15 mark, had the Gators punching in a score with 37 left in
the game. This made the final score 38-22 and still gives FSU hope to continue their bowl streak as well as consecutive seasons without a losing record. All told, FSU converted 4 turnovers into 28 points. With this performance by the defense, it shows that the future should be bright for the Seminoles.
Playing a key part in the defensive effort, the following standouts:
*DE Brian Burns had 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 TFL, 1 forced fumble and 2 passes broken up
*CB Levonta Taylor had 2 interceptions (one a pick-6)
*Standford Samuels had 3 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 PBU
*Hamsah Nasirildeen had 4 tackles
*Joshua Kaindoh had 2 quarterback hurries and 1 TFL
What do they all have in common?
The first 2 are true sophomores and the other 3, true freshmen. Add in the true freshman, DT Marvin Wilson (#1 DT coming out of HS) and the future should be bright.
In what appeared to be an insurmountable challenge after leaving Clemson on November 11 with a 3-6 record there is still work to do but, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. FSU’s streak of winning seasons (dating back to their last season with a losing record (5-6 in 1976 in Bobby Bowden’s
1st year) has not yet come to an end. With a win to close out the regular season against ULM they clear the 1st hurdle. A bowl bid is almost a certainty at that point. With a bowl win (most are predicting El Paso or Shreveport) they will finish at 7-6. Again, not near what was anticipated when the season
started but a major accomplishment from where they stood just 3 weeks ago. As I mentioned before, it would be a confidence builder going into 2018.
Now, just take care of business next Saturday and see where the chips fall!