For the first time since 2005, Florida State Seminoles football secured a season-opening top-ten win.
And with all eyes on Orlando, as Sunday’s primetime matchup and the weekend’s sole ranked game, FSU dominated the No. 5 LSU Tigers 45-24 in what was arguably one of the most impressive wins in school history.
What were some of the biggest takeaways from the win?
The Tomahawk Nation staff breaks down five questions from the game with five answers below.
Who was the most impressive player on the field for Florida State tonight?
LastNoleOfKrypton: Keon Coleman is him; simple as that.
Tim: I know everyone is going to say Keon Coleman, so let me give hype to Jaheim Bell. The tight end transfer made a few mistakes in the first half but then was lights out in the fourth quarter. He could have easily wilted, but his bounce back embodied exactly what this team has become, bought into the Climb.
Jon Marchant: Keon Coleman. He was flawless.
Juan Montalvo: Keon Coleman. Three touchdowns - against #5? That’s a hell of a debut. I can’t think of a better one.
Evan Johnson: Don’t ask stupid questions. It’s clearly Coleman.
Brian Pellerin: Keon Coleman is everything you could hope for and more. He flashed size. He flashed route running. He flashed at every level. Truly a dominant performance from the Louisiana native. The kid can ball. FSU added another elite weapon. Look out.
Perry Kostidakis: It’s Coleman — but man, did Jared Verse have himself a night. He came alive right when it was most needed and played a major part in wearing down and breaking the Tigers.
NoleThruandThru: Obviously Coleman will be a popular answer but I’m going with Jordan Travis. First FSU QB with 4 passing touchdowns and 1 rushing touchdown since Jameis Winston. The Heisman hype is legit!
Which part of the game do you think FSU excelled the most at?
LastnoleofKrypton: For the first time in a long time; FSU outplayed its opponent in the middle eight; scoring out the half to keep the pressure on LSU and then scoring on the rest of its drives to end the game. Situational gameplay was clearly emphasized as FSU dominated on third down, in the red zone, and on didn’t make as many mistakes on special teams as LSU did.
Tim: Not folding up after the second quarter sloppiness. Perry called it out on Twitter that the last three times FSU played against Brian Kelly. It went from a close loss, to a tight win, and finally a second half beat down. These players are bought into the message , they’re bought into the Climb (yes, I’m beating that drum).
Jon Marchant: Whatever happened at halftime must have been magical. After that they excelled in every phase. If I had to pick one thing it would be situational football.
Juan Montalvo: Finishing drives. This is something Mike Norvell talked about with last years team a lot. This team showed they can recover in tough spots - and there isn’t a better form of resiliency that can be shown.
NoleThruandThru: Redzone efficiency. 100% perfect with 4-4 tonight.
Perry Kostidakis: It wasn’t the case in the first half, but the way that Florida State executed in the second half was perfectly in line with the vision that Norvell has laid out over the offseason. Even when FSU was comfortably ahead late in the game, there were just consistent reps of getting it done — something that is essential to teams with championship aspirations.
Evan Johnson: Line play! Not the whole game for the offensive line but they really figured it out in the second half. The defensive line was fantastic all game. Their ability to not only penetrate but finish is pretty great.
Brian Pellerin: The redzone. FSU went 4-of-4 in the redzone. They were excellent in that area after it was such a pain for them a year ago. They really showed those new weapons were needed and they were excellent in that area. Keon and Jaheim were fantastic and versatile. Lots to love in that area.
Be honest — did you expect a score like this?
Lastnoleofkrypton: I knew we could get 40 but I did not expect the defense to do what did in the second half. Big shout-outs to Braden Fiske and Jordan Farmer; dominant game from those two.
Tim: No, I’m negative and though I had confidence FSU was improved and probably the better team, I expected a tight game and even picked LSU (so I could be pleasantly surprised lol).
Jon Marchant: I knew FSU was capable of this kind of score but you never expect it against a top 5 team. But when this whole team is clicking this is what they are capable of.
Juan Montalvo: No. LSU is stacked and I didn’t think the Noles would get into the 40’s, let alone do so with ease. Taking over a half the way this team did on both sides of the ball? Incredible performance.
Perry Kostidakis: Sure, a feeling, but no way did I expect it to this level. It’s going to take a lot of self-talking down and trying to be reasonable over the next 48 hours because FSU shot a full vial of adrenaline into my confidence for the season.
NoleThruandThru: I thought it would be a 7-point FSU win but I felt good that if one team blew out the other, FSU would be on the winning side.
Brian Pellerin: Of course not. I said all week that there were more paths to an FSU rout because I didn’t think LSU could run the ball. To keep up, they had to throw it well. FSU could do both. That put an FSU blowout more likely in the range of possibilities, but I expect something like the first half to continue. FSU just came out the break and absolutely took off. Didn’t think that would happen.
Juan Montalvo: No. LSU is stacked and I didn’t think that level of domination was possible.
Evan Johnson: In the morning I said FSU would win by 14 and I was clearly wrong. I felt like that was a bit of an overreach but I felt good after watching FSU’s transfers play well in other games. So ultimately, no I didn’t expect this but whew, boy.
Where are the biggest areas of concern that FSU needs to address?
Juan Montalvo: They came out flat at times, especially the receivers and Jordan Travis. Key drops and a couple miscues made it look like the game would end as close as last year.
Jon Marchant: The secondary was really disappointing in the first half. I’m worried a better QB will get whatever they want against this secondary. I was very impressed with FSU up front on both sides of the ball throughout the game, even with LSU’s Wingo playing extremely well. Other than that, the self-inflicted mistakes and penalties in the first half need to get cleaned up.
Perry Kostidakis: Penalties, penalties, penalties. In contrast to my answer above, that part of the execution was pretty disappointing to me, especially with how much Norvell preaches mental consistency.
Lastnoleofkrypton: Man coverage; FSU busted more coverages than you’d like; communication is key is you want to be good in the secondary and let your edge rushers have time to work.
Brian Pellerin: I thought there weren’t many areas that stood out as poor. LSU has a great receiving corps so I’m not that worried about the secondary. They’ve got some spots to fix, but that is a talented group that was bound to have success. There were more open plays than what LSU was able to take advantage of on the outside. Certainly need to sort that out for Clemson, but they won’t see a receiving corps that talented in a large majority of their games.
NoleThruandThru: The penalties and mistakes should settle down as the season goes on and the emotions are tempered. The secondary has a lot of work to do, though. Fentrell Cypress seemed a half-step behind despite making some heady plays, and there were numerous communication breakdowns. It’ll be interesting to see where these guys are in December, which will give us a good baseline on Surtain as a coach and teacher.
No question, just a free space to go wild over the win
LastNoleOfkrypton: The only reason to not rank FSU no.1 right now is cowardice; that is all. Go Noles.
NoleThruandThru: Brian Kelly and his fake Cajun accent done learnt tonight. That dude wants no part of FSU in an expanded SEC.
Jon Marchant: Some of the game played out exactly like last season - FSU driving to take a two touchdown lead late in the game. Last season they fumbled at the goal line. This year they had Keon Coleman, and Jaheim Bell, and Rodney Hill. And they executed with precision and physicality. For this team, the sky is the limit, if they can play like that for 60 minutes and not just 30. But 30 minutes of that will win you a lot of ball games.
Perry Kostidakis: BRIAN KELLY IS A DORKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK
Evan Johnson: I’m shook. We knew FSU would be good but to be able to spread the ball like they did is something. Rodney Hill is a name to watch out for when Benson leaves. They still need to get more consistent on defense and fifure out those scoring draughts but even if they don’t they are very dangerous.
Juan Montalvo: This is gonna be a fun year. Buckle up.
Brian Pellerin: Mike Norvell gets it. This dude absolutely f*****g gets it. No other way to say it man. His postgame comments about what it means to coach at Florida State specifically. The last barrier you could put in front of him was “can he win the big one?” He did it in serious fashion. He’s a legit program leader. He cares about the perception of this program and he cares about his guys. Alford is going to be opening up the pocketbooks again this offseason. Mike Norvell is worth every penny.