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5 questions, 5 answers: FSU vs. Miami

What went wrong? What went right? What changed the game?

NCAA Football: Miami at Florida State

The Florida State Seminoles rattled the Miami Hurricanes in a thrilling fourth-quarter comeback (31-28.)

Emotions ran high as it had all the usual feelings of this classic rivalry. From skirmishes and trick plays, turnovers, and sacks the Noles managed to break their four-game losing streak at home but it wasn't all good. The team seemed to take a second-half low but a late rally was able to put them over the edge.

Our staff here at Tomahawk Nation broke down the game with five questions:

What went right on offense? What went wrong?

Tommy: The offense got off to a fast start aided by UM’s defensive penalties. After settling for two field goals they got into a lull until a late effort in the fourth to win the game. Jordan Travis made an incredible fourth-down conversion which ultimately sealed the victory but I would say tosses and throws to the running backs are what went right. There still needs to be more consistency at catching passes and the offensive line seemed to be getting burnt a lot. They were 3-15 on third down conversions which also, was not good.

Jon: I thought FSU had a clear game plan of attacking Miami on the edges, and they had success there. But in the second half, I felt they went away from that and tried to go up the middle, which never really worked with any consistency. I knew FSU was going to have to find a big pass play down the stretch if they wanted to win and they managed to do just that.

Evan: They bowed up. They didn’t quit. The coaching staff came out with a good game plan of attacking the edges but once Miami adjusted FSU had little to follow up with. There were still plays to be made though. Andrew Parchment’s missed catch was looming large until he was able to haul one in at the one at the end of the game. That’s where the offense showed the most growth: they made winning plays. The plays have been there all season but missed blocks, dropped balls, misfired passes and more have plagued this unit. Tonight they did just enough to win this game and it was spectacular. I LOVE that FSU just pounded it up the middle to win. That can help send a message to your team.

CoachAB: The offense stuck with the game plan all night. They attacked inside with the run game and countered enough of that with some exterior passing game and rush attempts. Showed some tendency breakers with the Jordan keep on the toss read. When things went bad it was typically losses by the offensive line. Jordan left some points on the board also by dropping his eyes in the red zone.

NT&T: Persistence, grit, and fake momentum.

What went right on defense? What went wrong?

Tommy: Defensively the front four were able to create a ton of pressure totaling three sacks and in critical moments the back end was able to make some very nice plays to eventually win the game. On the other hand, the back-end also gave up a ton of big plays during Miami’s scoring drives.

Evan: The defensive line, headed by Jermaine Johnson was on all night but the ‘Noles got some very good contributions from Omarion Cooper. Between Cooper, Jarvis Brownlee, and, Kevin Knowles you’re starting to see a very promising secondary for years to come. Let’s not ignore the fact that they turned this game into a great recruiting weekend with a few high-profile DBs on campus.

CoachAB: The DL (particularly) the DEs ate all night long. They collapsed the pocket, they stopped the run game, they harassed Van Dyke. I thought Omarion Cooper may have been the second-best player on the defense all night. He dominated his side of the field in coverage. Was a sight to see a freshman go out and shut down an opposing WR.

NT&T: FSU is going to have some serious ballers in the defensive secondary the next few years. Jermaine Johnson II should run for governor with all this fake momentum!

What play changed the game?

Jon: There are usually lots of game-changing plays in rivalry games and this one was no exception. Miami tried to give the game away early and FSU largely failed to take advantage, but still went into halftime with the lead. However, FSU’s fumble on the reverse and Jarvis Brownlee’s penalty on Miami’s missed field goal not only gave the Hurricanes life they were the engine that led to Miami taking the lead. But Jordan Travis’ late 59-yard bomb to Ja’Khi Douglas down the sideline set up FSU’s game-winning score.

Tommy: I’m with Jon because the game-winning score is obviously a play that changes the outcome of a game. Defensive back Omarion Cooper’s interception early on set the tone for the first half momentum and his four pass breakups came at very important times the most critical one being on Miami’s final stand in the fourth. Had Andrew Parchment not caught that massive catch at the end the Seminoles would probably have added another one to the losses column.

Evan: Just to be different I’ll go with the Travis to Parchment catch. Obviously, it couldn’t happen without the previously mentioned play but it was 4th and 14 from the 25 meaning Travis was throwing into a compressed field to a receiver that quit on a play earlier.

CoachAB: The game-winning TD play right? There’s so many plays throughout that define a game that it’s impossible to pick just one.

NT&T: The unbelievably lucky TD catch by Miami generated some significant fake momentum.

Who’s your MVP?

Jon: My MVP goes to Jermaine Johnson, who finished with three sacks and harassed Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke all night. But I also have to give a game ball to Jordan Travis, who despite all his flaws and struggles found a way to win.

Tommy: My MVP would have to be Omarion Cooper or Jermaine Johnson for the reasons listed above.

Evan: Jermaine Johnson without a doubt. Seven tackles, five for a loss, and three sacks. This is pretty easy.

CoachAB: Jermaine and Mike Norvell.

NT&T: Manny “Fake Momentum” Diaz.

What’s your main takeaway?

Tommy: I think my main takeaway is that we saw a team that didn’t quit. The final goal-line drive is going to be crucial in building the confidence of this team. They had all of Miami’s big boys up front and still forced their way in. The number of high-level recruits that witnessed a team still fighting even after having their wind knocked out shows the culture that Mike Norvell is building and should attract some attention from the ones that might not have been looking Florida State’s way before tonight.

Evan: The team does not quit and the coaches know what they are doing. I don’t always agree with their decisions and I don’t think this was Mike Norvell’s best night but it’s obvious they have a plan and have communicated it well to the team. There are instances where this team wants to quit but they don’t and that’s a huge testament to a coaching staff in a program like FSU’s that has been under .500 for the last few years. I think Fuller is starting to show his worth. That defense isn’t always great but they can be downright nasty and have come a long way. Way to do all of this on a big recruiting weekend!

CoachAB: This team has character and that’s something we haven’t been able to say for a few seasons. In crunch time this team reverts back to its identity which is response. They’ve done it time and time again this year.

NT&T: This game will make significant waves on the recruiting trail for the next few cycles. Absolutely wonderful weekend for this staff as they build the future of the program. Oh! And there will be some serious fake momentum coming to the Coral Gables unemployment office soon.