On a rainsoaked Tallahassee evening, one team came to play, and one team did not. Florida State was not motivated for this game against Jacksonville State, and realistically, they weren't expected to. Without a true head coach, the 'Noles lack the leadership needed to avoid the trap scenario. Between their epic battle with Miami last Monday night, a short work week (the Noles had only two days of practice), and a huge road game next weekend against Top-Ten ranked BYU, FSU did not come out focused. Jacksonville State led the game at halftime, 9-7, and both teams mixed big plays with sloppiness as holding on to the rain soaked ball became difficult, particularly for the Noles who didn't really seem to care. The crowd wasn't in the game either. The announced gate was over 70K, but over two inches of rain beat the crowd down to an estimate of under 40,000 fans. With less than 3 minutes left to play, the Noles still trailed the Gamecocks, but Florida State marched the ball down the field just as they had done throughout the game (400 yards on only 60 plays), but this time the Noles held on to the ball and a beautiful 24-yard pass to Richard Goodman put the Noles at the 1. Sophomore Ty Jones punched the ball in from there. The defense followed with a fumble recovery for a touchdown, but FSU missed both extra points on the rain-soaked field, to lead 19-9.
The 'Noles should be embarrassed by their performance, and from various reader reports, it was clear that the guys took the week off, going out late after practice, and not putting in the full effort. Jacksonville State, however, treated this game like their Super Bowl and they had two special players to help them with their goal. Using some plays the Florida Gators routinely use to destroy FSU Defensive Coordinator Mickey Andrews' defense behind the talent of former #1 Overall High School QB Ryan Perriloux, the Gamecocks routinely frustrated the FSU defense, converting 5 of their first 13 3rd down opportunities. The Gamecock defense had former 5* Defensive Tackle Torrey Davis in the middle of their defense and his considerable physical talents frustrated the Noles offense, as they were just 3 of 12 on 3rd downs, until they finally stepped it up in the 4th quarter.
But the real story of this game was sloppiness. The Noles offense moved the ball well enough to win, Gaining 407 yards on only 61 plays. But they were very sloppy and had terrible attention to detail, which means that many of those yards didn't turn into points. The Noles missed a field goal, two extra points, had a turnover on downs, fumbled twice in Jacksonville State territory (including one on the 2-yard line after a 30 yard run), had a muffed punt allowing Jacksonville State to resume their only scoring drive, and also had a roughing the punter penalty to extend a Jacksonville State drive. The defense allowed 330 yards on 69 plays, which outside of the 3rd down conversions through the first three quarters, isn't bad (4.9 allowed per play, albeit to Jacksonville State).
The Noles escaped the game without major injury and won, which were the two main goals given the weather conditions and de-motivational factors. Maybe this loss will serve as a wakeup call to the team.