Florida State Seminoles football (5-3, 3-3 ACC) got back into the win column on Saturday, blowing out the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-5, 2-4 ACC) 41-16 to snap a three-game losing streak (and two-game series losing streak to GT.)
While FSU logged 642 yards of offense on the day and held Tech to just 16 points (six of which were scored with literally no time on the clock), the Seminoles still struggled to find a consistent level of execution throughout the entire game, suffering from a multitude of self-inflicted mistakes.
To break down the win, the Tomahawk Nation staff tackled five big questions from the game.
What does FSU need to correct the most on offense?
Perry: It is too easy to say “the little things,” but I am not a man that shies away from easy wins. Florida State can so clearly do whatever it needs and wants on offense — they are one of the most explosive offenses in the country for a reason — but small missteps keep stopping this team from turning into a full death machine. It reflects the potential of this team that they can play (at least according to the eye test) pretty average and still put up 41 points and 642 yards.
LastNoleOfKrypton: Taking care of the ball; whether it’s drops or more importantly the fumbles if they stop putting the ball on the ground they’ll be just fine.
Juan Montalvo III: Like Kryp dog said, keeping the ball secure. Really my only complaint. FSU pushes for a shutout without the first Toafili fumble & Return.
Evan Johnson: Consistency. I think Johnny had a few drops but also had some good plays. Consistency is at least somewhat talent and it’s one that FSU lacks.
Who was more impressive — Johnny Wilson or the running back duo of Trey Benson and Lawrance Toafili?
Perry: Despite the fantastic play of both Benson and Toafili (with exception to the turnovers), I have to go with Johnny Wilson. Even though he failed to snag two balls in the end zone late in the game, he still put up 111 yards in the air, the bulk of which came off of an impressive 78-yard catch and run for a score. If he manages to cut down on those drops, he has a chance to be a 100+ receiver each game the rest of the year.
LastNoleOfKrypton: Gonna flip it and say Trey Benson was the impressive and separate him from Toafili. Ran hard, didn’t drop the ball, and didn’t put it on the ground.
Juan: Yes. All three had 100+ all purpose yards, Wilson and Benson in the air and on the ground, respectively, and Toafili did it combined. Ironically, Toafili’s hands sort of stole the show, between his long catch TD (one of the best balls of Travis’ career) and the fumbles. If I’m forced to pick one, it’s Benson. I still think he’s on par if not better than Ward. Johnny had too many drops to give him the game ball between the three, though he was screwed on the phantom OPI call which was DPI and not a pick.
Evan Johnson: Trey Benson was very impressive. I think all three played mostly well but Benson was the only that didn’t have meaningful errors that I can think of. Toa had the fumbles and Johnny had a few drops.
Who was the defensive MVP of today’s performance?
Perry: Fabien Lovett’s presence made the difference in how the defense was able to execute, but I’m stuck between the performances of defensive end Jared Verse and linebacker Tatum Bethune (with a close nod to Kalen DeLoach). Verse was all over the field today, dominating in the backfield, and same with Bethune, who was part of several key sacks and tackles for loss.
LastNoleOfKrypton: If it wasn’t clear before this game it should be clear now just how important Fabien Lovett is to this defense.
Juan: Lovett. He’s back. Because he’s back, 9-3 is on the table.
Evan Johnson: Definitely Lovett but Verse was also good.
What was the most impressive part of the win?
Perry: As mentioned in my first answer, the fact that FSU could put together what was arguably an “average” performance and still win by 25 points. The Georgia Tech offense is awful and we knew that heading in, but the defense dominated to make sure that they remained awful. The offense left maybe 14 points on the field, but still was able to showcase the talent and skill that the Seminoles possess. Hopefully, it was a wake-up call to what can happen if FSU executes and what could happen should they continue to falter in critical situations and consistency.
LastNoleOfKrypton: The physical domination; tripling a conference opponents yards before garbage time means you imposed your will on your opponent.
Juan: 600+ yards, Jordan at 396, three 100+ yard skill players, all against a decent ACC defense. They just absolutely dominated on both sides of the ball after a tough 3 week stretch. Responded amazingly.
Evan Johnson: They were by no means perfect but they where much better than GT and did a pretty good job of taking advantage of opportunities.
What was the most concerning part of the win?
Perry: That Florida State once again got off to a slow start and once again, came out of halftime looking a little lost. You can rattle off the soft factors that contribute to that, but in the end, it all boils down to the inconsistency that the Seminoles have displayed over the last four games.
LastNoleOfKrypton: Again some situational football concerns as redzone efficiency continues to elude FSU; Mike also outthinks himself sometimes. Just hand ball off or better yet, QB sneak it Mike.
Juan: Green area complete fighter, red zone all beach muscles - all show. Gotta be better in the red zone. They had been earlier this year, but this is the difference between 60 and 30 vs GT - against a better team, it’s a difference of W vs L.
Evan Johnson: The secondary leaves a lot to be desired. There’s just defenders open all over the place and really the issue is with the corner backs. The safeties seem fine and do a good job of preventing big plays but too often there are guys running wide open and it seems to be getting worse as the season has gone on.