Another week, another blowout victory for Florida State Seminoles football.
No. 19 FSU (8-3, 5-3 ACC) took care of business Saturday against Louisiana, dominating the Ragin’ Cajuns from start-to-finish (though, to Louisiana’s credit, it did score two touchdowns in the fourth to snap the Seminoles’ two-game streak).
It was exactly the sort of performance that Florida State needed ahead of a major game against a matchup against rival Florida on Black Friday, who dropped a stunner against the Vanderbilt Commodores.
What were some major takeaways from the game? The Tomahawk Nation staff breaks down some storylines below:
How much of FSU’s success has been due to quality of opponent vs. the Seminoles putting it together?
Perry: I mean, the last four teams haven’t been great, but they weren’t exactly UMass or Vanderbilt or something. Good teams beat bad teams, and Florida State has absolutely dominated its competition since losing to Clemson.
LastNoleOfKrypton: Quality of opponent matters but FSU is dominating beyond expectations. It’s about FSU putting it together and getting healthy at the right time.
Jon: Gonna agree, Norvell and staff have FSU rolling. Coach talks a lot postgame about how it’s not about the other team, it’s only about themselves and playing as well as they can. Sure this stretch isn’t stuffed with the same quality of opponents as Wake-NC State-Clemson, but they’re dominating lesser competition like the 2013 team did.
Juan Montalvo III: Beating the spread by 3 TDs is good. The opponents aren’t good, but this hasn’t just been “handling business” - these have been dominant performances in all 3 facets. Good teams win against bad teams, great teams blow out bad teams.
Tommy: The injury bug karma finally swung in the Seminole’s favor and ended with an outmatched Louisiana team. It isn’t as much as they are blowing out teams because they are bad. This is a legitimate FSU team on both sides of the ball.
What’s been the key to Florida State’s defensive surge?
LastNoleOfKrypton: The return of Fabian Lovett and the improved play of Jammie Robinson. 10 has been everywhere lately.
Tommy: Being healthy on the line and having guys familiar with the system. They also put in a lot of work to correct some of the things that were going wrong. Or just read what Jon wrote.
Perry: Getting healthy and gaining confidence through action — Florida State, even during the losing streak, was in position to make big, game-changing plays but didn’t follow through and execute for one reason or another (somewhat similar to the offense.) Adam Fuller has his side of the ball gunning at just the right time.
Jon: FSU is healthy but now that some of these players have been in the system for a couple years you can tell they understand what they’re being asked to do and they execute at a high-floor level.
Juan: Adam Fuller has these guys tuned in, playing together. They know what they’re supposed to do, and they execute it. Health is, of course, a factor. No team would be better without Lovett. But they’re playing at a very high level, and have been.
Who was the depth-piece player you were most excited to see get extended playing time?
LastNoleOfKrypton: Kentron Poitier
Perry: Not necessarily a “gets to play in blowouts” depth-piece, so I’m cheating on my own question, but seeing Pat Payton come alive over the last few weeks has been fantastic to see. He’s become a great complement to the havoc that the linebackers, Jared Verse and the rest of the line have been creating all year.
Juan: AJ Duffy. Not necessarily because I wanted to see him, but because when you’re playing the third string QB on the second drive of the second half, things have gone very well on the day and every backup is getting reps.
It’s hard to overstate how critical it is to the growth of the program, and continued health of the program, for starters to play at a high level quickly and let the backups get reps. These reps matter.
Tommy: Pat Payton and Josh Farmer
What has been the most impressive win for FSU over the last four games?
LastNoleOfKrypton: Syracuse, to come out on the road and dominate after destroying a rival on the road shows a level of focus we haven’t seen in Tallahassee in a long time.
Jon: Syracuse was the best opponent but I’m gonna go with Miami. It was the last thing a talented Canes team had to play for this season and FSU didn’t give Miami a chance. Gave Miami their worst or 2nd-worst home loss in the rivalry series.
Juan: I’m with Jon — dominating Miami at a historic level? Every time. Much like 2010.
Perry: Beating Miami is always fun, blowing them out is hilarious. And I love a great joke.
What are your early thoughts on FSU vs. Florida?
LastNoleOfKrypton: UF’s defense which wasn’t that good in the first place is going to be missing its best player for the first half and if they refuse to run Anthony Richardson it could be a funeral for the Gators on Black Friday.
Perry: The Gators play to their opponent, which has resulted in a confusing maybe-slightly-average team that can hang around but easily is outclassed if you stick to your game plan. Norvell is on a revenge tour this year and knows what’s at stake in year one of Napier in a primetime matchup that’ll have plenty of eyes given the Friday kick.
Jon: If Richardson refuses to run like he did against Vandy I don’t see how UF has a chance against the ’Noles, barring an equalizer like an insane number of turnovers by FSU. UF’s weakness is its defense and FSU has one of the best offenses in the country and will be at home.
Juan: It’ll be a nice, relaxing evening on our way to a good bowl game and a ten-win season.