Florida State’s special teams play was hardly the main reason the Seminoles suffered their third straight home loss, falling 31-28 to Louisville on Saturday.
That being said, underwhelming play from each major player in the position group will leave a bad taste in the mouths of FSU fans, adding to the mess of troublesome problems from the team’s offensive and defensive units.
Starting with the specialists, sophomores Logan Tyler and Ricky Aguayo both had their issues after a series of strong performances dating back to the NC State game.
Tyler was not called upon for too many punts against the Cardinals, kicking three punts in all which traveled a reasonable average of 42 yards. The problem was that his best punt of the day by far, a bouncing ball inside the Louisville 10-yard line was misread by gunner Jared Jackson, who chased the ball sideways instead of running straight downfield, allowing the ball to bounce into the end zone for a touchback.
Tyler’s issue came from his kickoffs as he kicked FSU’s second kickoff of the game out of bounds, giving a talented quarterback in Lamar Jackson spectacular field position.
Aguayo made all four of his extra point attempts, but missed his sole field goal, a 44-yard attempt on FSU’s opening drive of the second half. Aguayo’s miss snapped a streak of 11 straight field goal attempts converted which dated back nearly a month to September 23rd.
Not that it’s saying much, but Tarvarus McFadden had the best game of his career at punt returner against UL. The junior cornerback, who has earned himself a reputation for allowing punts to hit the ground, fielded all three of Louisville’s punts cleanly and returned them for 18 total yards.
One Florida State alum who may know a thing or two about working as a returner weighed in with his opinion during the game on Saturday.
Just being Honest, Mcphadden And James are not Returners. Put DJ Matthews In. #GoNoles— Leon Washington (@Leon_Washington) October 21, 2017
Amir Rasul worked alongside Derwin James on the kick return unit once again against the Cardinals, but neither of these two did anything particularly special with their one return. Rasul’s sole return went for 25 yards while James once again bobbled a kick, an all-too-common occurrence for the preseason All American.
In all, it was nowhere close to the caliber of disaster the Seminoles had against Alabama, but a disappointing showing in each of the special teams phases made this feel like a bit of a step in the wrong direction.