FSU battled back-and-forth with the Hurricanes over the course of 60 minutes, pulling ahead by 10 points twice but each time seeing Miami attempt to battle back.
The Hurricanes, down 27-20 in the final minutes of the game, were picked off on 4th-and-10 to ice the win for the Seminoles.
What takeaways are there from FSU’s third-straight victory over Miami?
The Tomahawk Nation staff breaks down five questions with five answers down below.
What allowed Miami to play its way back into the game two separate times?
Tim: FSU’s offensive play calling and offensive line both times for me. In the second quarter, the playcalling got too “cute”. The FSU wide receivers were getting open but Norvell wanted to try some unique plays to catch Miami off guard, which they didn’t. He would typically follow that up with a slow developing run play which the Miami defensive line stopped. I may be a little reactionary with the game ending so close, but FSU left plays/points on the field.
Jon Loesche: The 2nd quarter can get chalked up to this team’s inability to play a full 60 minutes. The long TD was just a broken play thanks to Knowles taking a poor angle.
LSK: Since Tim already spoke on how the offense let Miami back in the safeties on this; team must take better angles in the run and pass game; looking at you 3 and 23.
Josh: Florida State’s offensive play-calling (why go away from the TE’s and force the run?). Kevin Knowles at safety (he’s played there enough the staff should realize he can’t by now—-he’s not terrible as a slot-corner). The ACC zebras (and the replay officials)—missed an obvious targeting on James Williams, which resulted in a punt, missed a defensive holding on Keon Coleman, which stopped a potential TD and resulted in a punt, and gave Miami (FL) a first down when the QB was clearly short of the line to gain. Yeah, I know Canes’ fans will complain about the missed Jordan Travis safety (and they’d be correct), but the refs should’ve called offensive holding against Jared Verse in the end zone on The U’s first drive, as well.
Perry: The cheating answer would be “the unnatural forces that surround rivalry games,” but the real one is FSU’s offense shutting down in the second quarter. It’s not the first time the Seminoles have posted just a single yard in the second period, and if not for the ACC officials being gracious in their interpretation of what a safety is, we could’ve seen things get a little more concerning. Florida State’s defense got it done mostly, outside of a concerning amount of explosive plays, and if the Seminoles had been able to turn some of their production into actual points, it wouldn’t have felt so sweaty.
Who was the MVP of today?
Tim: Alex Mastromanno. He pinned Miami deep on multiple occasions. The Hurricane offense had to depend on long drives which helped Florida State land opportunities to force them off the field.
Jon L: Keon Coleman’s punt return & TD catch in the 4th quarter were the stuff of rivalry game legend
LSK: Tim might be right, FSU’s special teams dominated the day but I’m going to go with Trey Benson; multiple big plays and two touchdowns on the day.
Josh: Kalen DeLoach? No one exactly blew me away.
Perry: I’m with Tim — Mastromanno’s masterclass of a performance helped flip the field on multiple occasions, most importantly in the third quarter when the Seminoles started to separate.
Which play would you say was the game-changer in the win?
Tim: The Keon Coleman punt return to the red zone. It allowed FSU to score the game winning touchdown.
LSK: Keon Colehim, passing game was out of sync all day but when he got his opportunities he put on a show; 6’4 should not be able to move like that after the catch.
Josh: The KC punt return—he was due after struggling mightily in that phase the rest of the game.
Jon L: The defense tightened up on the run. Outside of the second quarter when Miami was getting 10 plus yards a run, their offense did nothing aside from the 85 yard TD
Perry: The Coleman return might very well be the answer, but I’ll go out on a limb and say Trey Benson’s major touchdown run in the third quarter which gave FSU the lead for good. It shocked some much-needed life into the Seminoles and helped put the pressure back on Miami.
Where are you still looking for FSU to take a step forward?
Tim: The offensive line. The big guys feel too slow on the counters and just don’t appear to get a big enough push to allow Norvell to run the ball consistently.
LSK: Jordan Travis’ mechanics are regressing in the pocket; whether it’s the constant backpedaling or the missed deep shots 13 has to be better.
Jon L: At this point the only “step forward” is playing for a full 60 minutes and 10 games into the year I don’t think that will happen.
Josh: Agree w/ those boys—Mike Norvell’s offense is explosive (at times), but it needs to be more efficient and dependable down the stretch.
Perry: The offense, overall — early in the season even when FSU was putting up points, it felt like Florida State was leaving scores on the field. Now that we’ve seen a second-straight game of less than 30 on the board (granted, it was 27 in each of them), it’s enough to be concerned that Florida State is loosing some of its groove in consistently finding the end zone.
FSU has won three straight over Miami — what does that mean for Mike Norvell and the program?
LSK: It means that assuming you finish the job vs. Florida you’ve exerted dominance over your two rivals in the most fertile recruiting state in the country.
Josh: A blowout would’ve been nicer (should’ve happened, too), but three in a row vs. the Canes will play, especially in recruiting. Now, please take care of Sun Belt Billy’s boys in The Swamp.
Jon L: Each game over Miami has been a major mile marker for Norvell. The 2020 game where he wasn’t even on the sidelines because of COVID was another in a long list of embarrassments during that time, 2021 was the breakthrough when he needed, 2022 saw the team come out of the October funk and really kick into high gear, and this year saw the Noles go 8-0 in the ACC for the first time in a decade
Perry: If we’re getting technical — because Norvell wasn’t on the sideline in the 2020 loss, he’s still undefeated vs. the Hurricanes. To pull off a win in front of large crowd of recruits and wrap up the conference slate undefeated is a huge testament to the turnaround we’ve seen under Norvell. Wins over Miami always feel great, but it being a win to push FSU to 10-0 and in control of its own destiny makes it even better.