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5 questions, 5 answers: FSU vs. LSU

The Seminoles pull off a major win in dramatic fashion

Charles Mays/Tomahawk Nation

The Florida State Seminoles improved to 2-0 with an impressive win over the LSU Tigers Sunday in the Allstate Louisiana Kickoff. The Noles looked every part the better team from start to finish and were able to roll to the victory despite plenty of missed opportunities on offense.

So what went right? Who flashed? What went wrong? The Tomahawk Nation crew gives their answers below and we want your thoughts too. Leave your answers in the comments.

What are your major takeaways from Florida State’s win?

Perry: FSU got a major win in major fashion, and you really can’t ask for more, but as NoleThruandThru is about to eloquently put it:


FrankDNole: This Mike Norvell fella, was he the one that called the fumble play?

TimScribble: Jordan Travis is a legit quarterback. Mike Norvell is still worrisome in the big situation. Questionable play calling on the last two drives. Can he not get swallowed in the big moment?

Juan Montalvo III: this team got themselves a win. It may have been ugly, but it can’t be overstated how big getting out of that stadium, against (even this) LSU. They play with belief and confidence. This is how teams win close games. It’s the evolution - lose by a lot, lose by a little, win by a little, win by a lot they won by a little despite themselves. Dominated the game but couldn’t finish and held on. Bravo.

Evan Johnson: This team is cohesive. They aren’t going to always do the right thing but they are going to fight. Honestly this game could not have ended any better.

Brian Pellerin: The biggest thing is that Jordan Travis simply has it. He has that dawg in him. He is him. Whatever you want to say, Jordan Travis is here. That LSU defense is incredibly fast and that defensively was in his face frequently. He was able to stay in or find just enough space to deliver a catchable ball. 3rd and long was a recipe for disaster, but it felt like Jordan was able to make the plays necessary every time to overcome those odds in the face of pressure.

What went wrong down the stretch for FSU?

NoleThruandThru: Getting away from what was working all game on offense, and prevent defense in the end. John Papuchis’ unit saved the day with two blocked kicks.

Perry: Not converting on three separate end zone trips — FSU could’ve easily put this game away in the third and saved a lot of people a lot of stress.

FrankDNole: When this Mike Norvell fella called a fumble play.

Juan Montalvo III: They did not finish drives. They put themselves in good positions, but could not get the points when it would’ve mattered most.

Evan Johnson: People are going to point to the fumbled toss for good reason but the defense should have stepped up a bit more. They went prevent, which is a good decision, but maybe should have played a bit more aggressive. If FSU had a decent kicker though, none of this would have mattered.

Brian Pellerin: I’m not sure if FSU really did anything wrong toward the end compared to the rest of the game aside from the toss play call. That was just awful. I know you had success on the edge, but there’s no reason to put the ball in danger there. Otherwise, LSU’s only successes in the passing game came late, but those guys were open all game. Daniels spent the first 3 quarters, going with one look and run. I’m a bit concerned that FSU’s secondary was pretty easily picked on once LSU had to throw, but I also don’t think they’ll face many receiving corps as deep with talent like that one is.

Bigger performance — FSU defense or wide receivers?

Perry: The receivers were amazing but man, that defense did everything it could and it paid off in the end, especially when the coaching staff put them in a difficult position in the final minute of the game.

NoleThruandThru: Defense, particularly the DL and LBs. Tatum Bethune is rock solid and Jared Verse has officially arrived.

FrankDNole: The defense was outstanding and did what needed to be done for most of the game. Kudo’s for shutting down a good Brian Kelly offense.

But how about the Special Teams? They are the ones that won the game for FSU. The blocked FG and extra point is the only reason we did not have to win this game in overtime.

TimScribble: The defense. Outside of the three man rush prevent defense (yuck) and the penalty aided drives, it was tough sledding all night for LSU.

Juan Montalvo III: Yes? Yes. Can I say both? This is the first receiver unit Florida State can count on in a decade. While they aren’t at the same level as the defense, they are vastly superior to their predecessor units. The defense managed the game well. A competent linebacker unit alone is almost as important as the receiver unit.

Evan Johnson: Defense. The receivers were great. Who would have expected that from Pokey?!?!?! However, that LSU offense is really good and to hold a player like Boutte to two catches for 20 yards is phenomenal. Daniels carved them up on the ground but other than that they were excellent.

Brian Pellerin: I was really impressed with the receiving corps. The defense was stout for so much of the game and hats off to them for it, but this receiving corps looked... dare I say... good. We know a year ago this group was a misery to watch, but they were very good today at finding open spots in the defense and helping their QB when necessary. I know every one will focus on Ontaria’s TD grabs, but there was a 3rd and 8 in the second quarter where Jordan was forced to roll to his left and Ontaria stopped his route, rolled toward his quarterback, made the grab and hustled for a first down. It’s not much. But it’s the little things that this team needs to be doing to win. They absolutely need guys to make plays like that to sustain drives and become a consistent winner.

How did Jordan Travis perform?

NoleThruandThru: Travis was outstanding. Without having to look over his shoulder, his confidence shines and he steps up when the pressure is on. He threw dimes all night and carried the offense on third downs. Maybe the media should have remember his name when they discussed literally every other ACC QB this off-season.

Perry: He was the best player on the field in a game filled with NFL talent. Travis already looked confident against Duquesne, but he made a statement tonight on a national stage.

FrankDNole: JT13 is the real deal. His slow and painful (for him) journey climbing up the FSU depth chart is the best thing that could have happened to him. His progression is very inspiring.

I like Jordan.

Juan Montalvo III: FSU has a quarterback, ladies and gentlemen. Jordan Travis has taken the next step. Some unbelievable throws under pressure, some huge plays in big moments.

Evan Johnson: FSU is screwed if JT goes down. JT might end the season as a Heisman finalist if he continues this level of play. The end.

Brian Pellerin: I believe I tweeted it from the main account tonight, Jordan couldn’t possibly have done more for this football team. If they lost, it wasn’t Jordan’s fault. He made every throw on the field. He was rolling when necessary but keep his eyes downfield. Even the incompletions were good plays. Only one stands out as an ill-advised pass in my head, but the guy really couldn’t have done more.

Who stood out from the Florida State defense’s strong performance?

NoleThruandThru: Tatum Bethune and Jared Verse. Having a competent linebacker duo along with a deep and versatile DL is really going to help this defense take the next step.

Perry: Jared Verse, welcome to the show. There were a lot of questions as to how the line would handle the loss of Jermaine Johnson to the NFL, and while there’s still some things to clean up, he was an absolute freak on Sunday.

TimScribble: The fact that we weren’t all lamenting Jarrian Jones or another defensive back for consistently burnt or making back-to-back boneheaded plays.

Juan Montalvo III: Renardo Green is as good a safety as FSU has had in years. The top two LBs are legitimately solid. Tatum Bethune alone raises the level of the defense and Kalen Deloach has improved significantly. Very pleased with that defensive unit overall. Adam Fuller wasn’t the problem the last couple years.

Evan Johnson: I’m impressed with FSU’s secondary and offensive line. The secondary has been getting high praise in the preseason but that’s a tough match up tonight that they aced. I don’t think Daniels is a good QB and LSU might have been better served with going with Nussmeier but receivers were covered well and windows were small.

Even with Maason Smith going down the FSU line held up well considering they were missing a key contributor. It’s certainly a far cry from a couple of years ago when an OL injury spelt the end of the season.

FrankDNole: Jared Verse is This Years Model of Jermaine Johnson. The portal has become just as important as the recruiting.

Brian Pellerin: It’s gonna be Jared Verse for me. We’ve talked all offseason about how he looks the part and the question remained whether or not he could step up to the big time and play big time opponents. Very first snap, FSU gave up a big run, but he absolutely blew up the RT and put him on his heels. There are going to be some things to clean up like the contain on that play, but the physical side is absolutely ready for the spotlight.