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5 questions, 5 answers: FSU wins ACC, moves to 13-0 ahead of Selection Sunday

13-0 and it feels so good.

Peyton Baker/Tomahawk Nation

13-0 and it feels so good.

For the first time since 2014, Florida State has claimed a conference championship, riding an elite performance from its defense to secure a 16-6 win over the Louisville Cardinals.

The win came despite a gameday announcement that true freshman Brock Glenn would be starting in relief of Tate Rodemaker at quarterback.

Florida State utilized a Wildcat attack to offset any lack of familiarity for the frosh, with a 73-yard rush from Lawrance Toafili setting up a 2-yard touchdown rush from the back the next play.

With the victory, Florida State has positioned itself well for a spot in the 2023 College Football Playoff — No. 2 Michigan beat Iowa and No. 3 Washington took down Oregon while No. 1 Georgia lost for the first time in 29 games with a slip-up vs. Alabama.

What takeaways are there from Florida State’s win? The Tomahawk Nation staff breaks it down below with five answers to five questions.

Let’s do this first — Florida State is 13-0 and your ACC Champion, go wild

LastNoleOfKrypton: I am euphoric; what Mike Norvell has done is incredible. And I have one thing to say, Adam Fuller should win the Broyles Award.

NoleThruandThru: What a season. What a turnaround. This is a family and I’ve never been more proud of any other FSU team. I wonder if it’ll have any impact on recruiting…

Evenflow58: This is wild. FSU missed a bowl two years ago and didn’t lose a game this year. What team loses their top two QBs and goes undefeated? What team does this sort of thing with a sub-50% blue chip roster? Nobody does that! Well, nobody outside of one team.

Tim: This is one of the most likable FSU teams of all time. The players, coaches, the culture. This team tugs at your emotions and has taken on every obstacle. What an amazing season.

Brian: Crazy to see the preseason expectations exceeded for this team. We talked all offseason that this team had the potential to unseat Clemson and reclaim the ACC title. Anything more was gravy. An unbeaten 13-0 year with all the different obstacles along the way is absolutely gravy. Drink it in. What a ride this season.

Juan Montalvo: FROM THREE WINS TO THIRTEEN MIKE IS KING SO I AM GOING ALL CAPS

Perry: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Jon Loesche: Just a hell of a lot of catharsis this season capped off by a legendary performance by the defense.

Was Braden Fiske or Tatum Bethune tonight’s MVP?

LastNoleOfKrypton: My god this tough; do I have to choose? Bethune kept points off the scoreboard which at the end of day s ishut it down but Fiske was godly.

NoleThruandThru: Bethune made the play of the game dislodging the touchdown catch, and then made the play of the game again with the interception. But my goodness, Braden Fiske is HIM. It was poetic that he ended the last two Louisville drives.

Evenflow58: Bethune played very well tonight but this is not a close decision. Fiske is the best player on this team and it isn’t even close. That’s not a knock to the other players on that team but that dude is a dude.

Tim: Fiske and that defensive line recorded seven sacks. Unbelievable play, they were on another level and Fiske was the leader.

Brian: It’s Fiske for me. From surprise to unsung hero to a star of this defense. You could tell on the first series that he had it tonight and he dominated upfront.

Juan: YES. FISKE WAS THE KING.

Perry: That stretch by Bethune in the end zone might have been what officially swung the game in Florida State’s favor, but Braden Fiske made NFL money tonight. What he’s done for FSU this season has been arguably equal to the single-season impact we saw from Jermaine Johnson and Jared Verse before him (of course, not to imply Verse was a one-season wonder).

Jon Loesche: Bethune made the single biggest play of the night but Fiske had himself a game that will be the benchmark for FSU defensive lineman for years to come. Fiske.

Why did the offense struggle, outside of the obvious of having to start a true freshman?

LastNoleOfKrypton: The WRs were not good tonight; Keon Coleman needs to get it together; he’s better than this.

NoleThruandThru: Yikes. Lazy observers will criticize Brock Glenn but he was failed often by the OL, WRs, and TEs. Really disappointing performance by what should be an excellent unit in the WR/TE group. Norvell’s playcalling was also puzzling at times.

Tim: Louisville has a good defense. That line won them games this year. The FSU offensive play calling was conservative and made it easy at times for them.

Evenflow58: Ditto to LastNoleOfKrypton. The WRs were largely bad. They have to step up. The OL isn’t great but they figure things out by the end of the game. If Keon can show a complete game this team is a very tough out.

Brian: Feels like a lot of the things that have been ailing them this season. The run game doesn’t quite have the juice to lineup and take the pressure off the quarterback. With Jordan, you can get away with it. With inexperienced guys like Tate and Brock, it’s harder to mask. Still the wildcat drive broke through that and that was enough tonight.

Juan: POOR RECEIVER AND LINE PLAY. SEVERAL DROPS AND MO SMITHS

Perry: As Tim said, Louisville was no slouch on defense and this was going to be a grind no matter what. Add in the pressure of catering your offense to a true freshman and you’re going to need execution from your leaders — which did not happen on multiple occasions. Glenn threw pretty balls to Keon Coleman, Johnny Wilson and Kyle Morlock that all fell incomplete because of a drop.

Jon Loesche: Drops by the WRs killed the few chances the offense had to get anything done.

Where does this win rank in your history of watching Florida State?

LastNoleOfKrypton: This trumps 2014 so far; this team is just so much fun and they love to fight which is the cherry on top.

Juan: 2010 UF GAME OR 2012 ACCCG COME TO MIND

NoleThruandThru: No idea but y’all- FSU is an unconquered 13-0, ACC Champions, and playoff bound!!!!!

Evenflow58: Top 10, not sure if it’s top 5. There’s a few national titles in there and some important rivalry wins but FSU is back and that means something.

Brian: No secret that I’m new around these parts with only 3 seasons covering the team, but it’s wild to think where this program was to now so quickly. I think the LSU win last year was probably a better win for me as was Clemson this year, but this felt like a monumental moment in the climb.

Perry: It really might be top 5 for me, just from the multiple levels of what this means for Florida State. The Seminoles popped off about the ACC all offseason and then won the whole dang thing. Mike Norvell won three games in 2020 and now has a playoff team. So many people wanted FSU to lose tonight because of who they wanted to see in the postseason and Florida State didn’t “survive” — the defense dominated and offense outpaced and FSU pulled off a 10-point win against a Top 15 team.

Jon Loesche: I agree with Juan on the 2010 UF game. Just an overwhelming feeling of finally being on the otherside of a lot of bad football & the bright promise of the future.

Going as family-friendly as possible here, what’s your response to those that say FSU should be left out of playoff?

Evenflow58: Scoreboard

NoleThruandThru: Someone once told me, “the more you complain about life, the longer God makes you live”. When FSU makes the playoff, Paul Finebaum will get another 30 years added.

LastNoleOfKrypton: If you don’t like us then you should beat us, oh wait. 13 tried and 13 failed:

Juan: in the words of Herm Edwards: YOU WIN TO PLAY THE GAME. YOU LOSE. GOOD DAY SIR.

Brian: You can’t make a good faith argument to do it. There’s no way. Florida State schedule tough out of conference with the LSU game. They can’t be blamed that the top of the ACC was largely underwhelming this year. 13-0 with 4 top 25 wins and a conference title belongs in regardless of anything else. If FSU isn’t in, it’s strictly based on an assumption that they can’t win with a backup QB and we just saw them do it twice. The Noles looked no worse than Michigan did tonight and nobody is questioning their intentional soft schedule. FSU belongs in. They are one of the four best teams.

Perry:

Jon Loesche: Don’t lose.