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FSU offensive observations from upset win over North Carolina

Explosive first half, and a not so explosive second half, but a win nonetheless.

Don Juan Moore

Florida State’s offense has been building a foundation brick-by-brick since Jordan Travis took over as quarterback. That foundation was looking like a well built cathedral in the first half, before taking a step in the wrong direction. The Seminoles came out firing, from scoring on their first drive of the quarter, to pop passes within their own 10-yard line, and shot play after shot play. Here are our observations from FSU’s upset win over UNC.

  • Jordan Travis continues to prove he’s the answer at QB, and maybe not just for the short term. His elusiveness in the pocket makes everyone around him look better. His ability to escape pressure negates a good pass rush, and his ability to keep his eyes down field can neutralize good coverage in the secondary. Time after time, we saw his legs open up the field for the Seminoles.
  • When JT’s legs open the field, he shows what he can do with his arm. His arm was always the part of his game in question, but he’s fired back with bold answers. He made multiple eye-opening deep connections with his receivers Saturday night. Two throws in the first half, a falling-back dot to Ontaria Wilson, and a perfect tear drop pass into the bread basket of Warren Thompson, could not have been any better.
  • With Tamorrion Terry out, FSU’s WR corps had to step up. After some early struggles, they did just that. The catch of the night came courtesy of Keyshawn Helton, as he adjusted on an under-thrown ball, and got up to make a catch over three defenders:

Wilson continued his strong start to the year, reeling in 2 catches for 61 yards. FSU also got its tight ends involved for the first time in a couple games as Camren McDonald caught a TD:

  • Mike Norvell’s play calling has been nothing short of impressive since Travis took over. When Travis took over, he immediately adjusted to his skill set, and has continued to grow in his play calling the last few weeks. The play call of the game came when the ‘Noles ran a pop pass play on their own seven-yard line. The play resulted in a big gain and a crucial third-down conversion. It also led to points on the drive:
  • The addition of La’Damian Webb from the JUCO ranks could go down as one of the more impactful additions in Mike Norvell’s first recruiting class. The RB plays with intensity at all times and frequently turns negatives into positives. On the night, Webb ran the ball 12 times for 109 yards (9.1 yards per carry):
  • The ‘Noles posted a ridiculous 10 yards per play in the first half. They also had 11 yards per first down, and no third and longs. The staff has mentioned repeatedly that you sustain drives with multiple positive plays and avoiding third and long. With Travis’ escapability, he often turns negative plays into positives, even if it’s just a one-yard gain. The consistency and ability to sustain drives has been the difference for the Seminoles.
  • The third quarter was a completely different game for FSU’s offense. From self-inflicted wounds to bad decisions, Florida State went scoreless in the quarter as UNC roared back. The Seminoles completed just one pass in the quarter and also threw a pick as the quarter came to an end. The ‘Noles had the same number of penalties as first downs, as they went three-and-out in two of their drives.
  • Florida State’s offense had to respond in the fourth quarter. The ‘Noles put up a good first drive, going 53 yards on a 11 plays in seven minutes, but the drive stalled and led to no points after a missed field goal. With the game on the line, FSU’s offense had one last chance to respond, up three with five minutes remaining. Once again, they failed to respond, going three and out and giving the defense just two minutes of rest. Despite the struggles, FSU gutted out the win as the defense gutted it out at the end.
  • Now, we wait to see the status of Jordan Travis with a trip to his former school, Louisville, looming next weekend.