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Noles News: FSU is the only team in country with more incompletions forced than completions allowed

Florida State has 4 wins in games it trailed by at least 10 points (tied for the most in the country), winning those four games by an average of 19.75 points

Recruiting

QUARTERBACK: 4 star Luke Kromenhoek (GA)

RUNNING BACK: 4 star Kam Davis (GA)

RUNNING BACK: 4 star Micahi Danzy (FL)

WIDE RECEIVER: 4 star Camdon Frier (FL)

WIDE RECEIVER: 4 star Lawayne McCoy (FL)

WIDE RECEIVER: 4 star BJ Gibson (GA)

WIDE RECEIVER: 4 star Elijah Moore (MD)

TIGHT END: 5 star Landen Thomas (GA)

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: 4 star Jonathan Daniels (FL)

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: 3 star Tye Hylton (FL)

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: 4 star Manasse Itete (CA)

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: 3 star Jayden Todd (GA)

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: 5 star Armondo Blount

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: 4 star DD Holmes (DC)

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: 3 star Jamorie Flagg (FL)

LINEBACKER: 3 star Jayden Parrish (FL)

LINEBACKER: 3 star Timir Hickman-Collins (SC)

DEFENSIVE BACK: 5 star KJ Bolden (GA)

DEFENSIVE BACK: 5 star Charles Lester III (FL)

DEFENSIVE BACK: 4 star Jamari Howard (FL)

DEFENSIVE BACK: 4 star Ricky Knight III (FL)

KICKER: 3 star Jake Weinberg (FL)

Football

Florida State hit the practice field for one last time ahead of Saturday’s showdown vs. the Louisville Cardinals in the ACC Championship — Wednesday has long served as FSU’s situational-specific practice, and yesterday saw highlight reel catches, a focus on 3rd downs, and an energetic Mike Norvell.

From Jordan Silversmith:

The Seminoles will be ready for Charlotte in more ways than one.

With nasty weather forecasted in Charlotte, the Noles received a double dose of cold temperatures over the last two days. Unfortunately, the chilly air seemed to make an impact on their play. The offense looked disjointed, Mike Norvell raised his voice more than usual, and practice ended early for the second day. With this in mind, the head man spoke after practice about the effort needed to come on Saturday.

“Excited for the opportunity that’s ahead. We’ve got to continue to push and focus on the details. It’s the little things that are going to make the difference in the championship game.”

Florida State focused extensively on situational play Wednesday, which always seems to be the difference between winning and losing essential games

What was the difference between winning and losing for Florida State on offense in the Seminoles’ win over the Gators? Jon Marchant took a look into what went wrong early, how FSU got it going and Tate Rodemaker’s performance:

UF bought time running a different scheme (more tailored to Brown) than anything they had run all season with Graham Mertz. They repeatedly utilized jet motion, split zone, and split zone bluff early and often (they ran a lot of the same plays over and over), and mixed in other motion and blocking schemes to really mess with the Seminole defense’s eye discipline.

The main suckers of all that eye candy were FSU’s linebackers who were largely awful in both coverage and their run fits, especially early. By the second quarter the ‘backers were guessing which gap the play was going to go or who had the ball. A lot of that got cleaned up even before halftime, and the Gators mustered only 3 points early in the second half.

Florida State’s defensive line was absolutely dominant all night. There’s not much more to say other than they were fantastic as a group, even down the two deep. Verse, Payton, and Braden Fiske were of course the big standouts. Credit to UF QB Max Brown, who took a bunch of hits but often stood tall and made some tip-your-cap NFL throws.

A well-deserved honor — Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis was named as both the ACC Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year on Wednesday, beating out NC State’s Payton Wilson for the former and Virginia’s Malik Washington for the latter:

Travis was 207-of-324 passing for 2,756 yards and 20 touchdowns with only two interceptions while adding 176 yards and seven touchdowns on 73 rushing attempts. He is the only player in the ACC and one of three nationally with 20 passing touchdowns and two or fewer interceptions and leads the ACC in fewest interceptions thrown, the second-lowest total among quarterbacks nationally with at least 200 attempts, and ranks second in the conference in passing efficiency, yards per pass attempt and passing yards per game. He ranks third in the ACC in points responsibility per game, yards per completion, total offense per game and completion percentage.

He is Florida State’s all-time leader in total offense and touchdowns responsible for, records he achieved earlier this year, and previously broke program records for quarterback rushing yards and quarterback rushing touchdowns. Travis broke FSU’s career touchdown responsibility record on his game-winning touchdown pass in overtime at Clemson and took over the program’s career total offense record on his go-ahead rushing touchdown in Florida State’s win against No. 16 Duke.

Earlier this season, Travis produced a stretch of 184 consecutive passes without an interception, the fifth-longest in FSU history and 13th-longest in ACC history. He had an active streak of 126 passes without an interception at the time of his season-ending injury and is the only player in program history with two streaks of at least 120 passes without an interception in the same season. Adding a streak of 120 passes in 2021, he is the only player at Florida State with three different streaks of at least 120 passes without an interception in a career.

Call it getting ahead of the curve — FSU Sports Info sent an email out yesterday highlighting “points to consider when discussing Florida State’s opportunity to be selected for the College Football Playoff.”

Here’s a rundown of the fun facts:

— In the 25 seasons dating back to the beginning of the BCS in 1998, no undefeated Power 5 team has been denied an opportunity to play for a national championship in favor of a team with a loss (only undefeated P5 team to not play in BCS National Championship Game or make CFP was Auburn in 2004 when USC and Oklahoma were also undefeated)

— In the first 9 years of the Playoff, 13 teams have started multiple quarterbacks in the season they made the CFP – including national champions Ohio State (2014), Alabama (2015), Clemson (2019) and Georgia (2021)

— FSU has the 3rd-longest active winning streak in the nation (18 – 3rd-longest in ACC history)

— Florida State is 3rd in ESPN’s Strength of Record rankings

— Florida State has produced a stretch where it outscored its opponent by at least 17 points in every game this season – the only team in the CFP top-10 to do so

— Florida State: 12

— Oregon: 11

— Georgia: 10

— Michigan: 10

— Penn State: 10

— Texas: 9

— Ohio State: 8

— Missouri: 8

— Alabama: 7

— Washington: 4

— Florida State has produced a stretch where it outscored its opponent by at least 24 points in 8 games – 2nd-most among the CFP top-10

— Michigan: 9

— Florida State: 8

— Georgia: 8

— Oregon: 8

— Penn State: 7

— Ohio State: 6

— Texas: 6

— Missouri: 5

— Washington: 4

— Alabama: 4

— Florida State is tied for the most wins in the country over bowl-eligible P5 teams (7)

— Florida State: 7 (LSU, Boston College, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Duke, Miami)

— Louisville: 7 (Georgia Tech, Boston College, NC State, Notre Dame, Duke, Virginia Tech, Miami)

— Georgia: 6 (Auburn, Kentucky, Missouri, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Georgia Tech)

— Washington: 6 (California, Arizona, Oregon, USC, Utah, Oregon State)

— Alabama: 6 (Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Tennessee, LSU, Kentucky, Auburn)

— Oregon: 5 (Texas Tech, Utah, California, USC, Oregon State)

— Ohio State: 5 (Notre Dame, Maryland, Penn State, Wisconsin, Rutgers)

— Texas: 5 (Alabama, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Texas Tech)

— Michigan: 4 (Rutgers, Penn State, Maryland, Ohio State)

— Missouri: 3 (Kansas State, Kentucky, Tennessee)

“If you’re a Florida State fan, you should be very, very excited about these rankings...Based on what we just saw, if you’re Florida State, it looks like you’re four quarters away from controlling your own destiny and securing a spot in the Playoff, even without Jordan Travis.” – Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN

“We don’t even need to entertain the idea of a one-loss team jumping them. Florida State is in. If they take care of business this weekend, they’re going to be in and they deserve to be. The results have to matter. They’re undefeated.” – Greg McElroy, ESPN

“If Florida State beats Louisville, regardless of whether it’s by one point or 20 points, they’re going to get in the Playoff.” – Booger McFarland, ESPN

“I firmly believe the FSU decision is regarding seeding – not selection. If the Seminoles win on Saturday, they should be in.” Nicole Auerbach, The Athletic

“With an ACC title and three wins against CFP top 25 teams, it would be extremely difficult for the committee to exclude the undefeated ACC champs…Florida State’s path to the Playoff seems clear.” – Heather Dinich, ESPN

“I doubt the committee would keep out a 13-0 ACC champion – and it would be an injustice to every player and coach at Florida State.” – Jeff Schultz, The Athletic

“This isn’t a one-man show. This is a team, and it has been a team effort from the start of the season to the end of the regular season. Explain to me how a 13-0 champion in a Power 5 conference gets left out…it is incomprehensible that people are talking about Florida State the way they are talking about them. What do people want here? This is a team that has answered the call week-in and week-out and did it last weekend with a backup quarterback.” – Andrea Adelson, ESPN

— Florida State produced a program-record 25 All-ACC selections, including at least one at every position, and led the conference in 1st-team selections, 2nd-team selections and 3rd-team selections

— Florida State has 4 wins in games it trailed by at least 10 points – tied with Appalachian State for the most in the country – and won those four games by an average of 19.75 points

— Florida State is T3 nationally in wins vs. FPI Top-20 (2), T3 in wins vs. FPI Top-60 (7) and T4 in wins vs. FPI Top-40 (4)

— FSU is 6th nationally in ESPN’s SP+ rankings and one of 3 teams in the country – along with Michigan and Georgia – ranked in the top-10 in offense (10), defense (9) and special teams (6)

— Florida State is one of two teams nationally in the top-25 of offense (20th), defense (9th) and special teams (25th) in ESPN’s efficiency rankings

— Florida State is 5th nationally in points per game vs. FBS opponents with a winning record (35.3)

— Florida State is 7th nationally in average margin of victory (22.0)

— Florida State is 9th nationally in wins over FBS opponents by 20+ points (5)

— Florida State is the only team in the country with multiple non-conference wins against SEC teams, and its two victories over SEC opponents are more than 3 SEC teams in 2023

— Florida State is one of 10 teams with a non-conference victory over a current CFP top-25 team

— Florida State – #13 LSU

— Ohio State – #17 Notre Dame

— Texas – #8 Alabama

— Missouri – #25 Kansas State

— Ole Miss – #22 Tulane

— Louisville – #17 Notre Dame

— Clemson – #17 Notre Dame

— Kentucky – #14 Louisville

— Mississippi State – #15 Arizona

— South Alabama – #18 Oklahoma State

— Florida State leads the country in opponent completion percentage (47.6 – the only team with more incompletions forced than completions allowed) and most pass breakups (67)

— The last time a team held its opponents below 48.0 percent completions in a season is 2016

— Florida State ranks 2nd nationally in passes defended (76), 4th in fewest passing touchdowns allowed (8), 5th in 3rd-down conversions allowed (28.5%) 5th in opponent passer rating (100.32), 7th in yards allowed per attempt (6.0), 7th in sacks per game (3.17) and 11th in scoring defense (16.8)

— The Seminoles have not allowed 30 points in a game this season (12 straight games holding opponent below 30 points is tied for 3rd-longest active streak in the country)

— FSU is 1st nationally in fewest turnovers (5), 2nd in fewest interceptions thrown (2), 5th in turnover margin per game (+0.92), 9th in total touchdowns scored (60) and 10th in scoring offense (38.8)

— FSU is one of four teams ranked in the top-12 in both scoring offense and scoring defense

— FSU ranks 2nd nationally in 80+ yard plays, 6th in 40+ yard plays, 9th in 30+ yard plays and 10th in 60+ yard plays

— FSU ranks 3rd nationally in yards per kickoff return (27.08) and 4th in net punting (43.54)

— Florida State held LSU to its lowest point total in 2023 (24 points); in the other 11 games, LSU is averaging 48.5 points per game

— Florida State scored the 2nd-highest point total vs. LSU in 2023 (45 points); in the other 11 games, LSU is averaging 26.2 points allowed per game

— Florida State did not allow a TFL at Boston College – one of only four games this season a team has held a P5 opponent without a TFL – and registered 10 TFLs for the first game nationally a team made 10 TFLs while allowing 0 against a P5 opponent since 2017

— Clemson is 6-1 at home this season with its only loss to FSU and wins vs. Notre Dame and North Carolina (FSU win snapped Clemson’s 25-game home ACC winning streak and is Clemson’s only home loss by more than 1 point since 2013)

— Florida State scored the most points Virginia Tech has allowed in 2023 (39); in the other 11 games Virginia Tech is averaging 22.9 points allowed per game

— Florida State scored the most points Syracuse has allowed in 2023 (41); in the other 11 games Syracuse is averaging 22.2 points allowed per game

— Florida State scored the most points Duke has allowed in regulation in 2023 (38 – tied for the most points scored in regulation under Mike Elko); in the other 11 games Duke is averaging 17.4 points allowed in regulation

— FSU scored the 2nd-most points Wake Forest has allowed in 2023 (41); most points Wake Forest has allowed at home in regulation since 2021; allowing 25.9 points per game in other 11 games

— Florida State’s win at Pitt ended the Panthers’ eight-game winning streak in November

— Florida State’s defense held Pitt to 0-for-11 on 3rd downs, the first team this season to hold a P5 opponent without a 3rd-down conversion when facing at least 11 opportunities

— Florida State held Miami to 10-of-31 passing (32.3%); the Hurricanes entered the game ranked 1st in the ACC and 15th nationally with a 68.7 completion percentage in 2023

— After holding Miami to a field goal after starting the 2nd half with an onside kick, FSU did not allow Miami to cross the 50-yard line the rest of the game

— Florida State’s 9-point victory at Florida was the largest margin of victory among the CFP’s top-4 teams last weekend

— Florida State held Florida to 48 yards of total offense in the second half, including minus-15 in the 4th quarter with every play of UF’s final two drives resulting in lost yardage (4), an incomplete pass (2) or an interception (1)

— 23 different players have accounted for points

— 20 different players have scored at least one touchdown

— 23 different players have at least one play of 20 yards

— 16 different players have at least one 20-yard reception

— 6 different players have at least one 20-yard rush

— 18 different players have at least one reception

— 22 different players have recorded a TFL

— 10 different players have registered a takeaway

Soccer

A duly-deserved double designation (I wanted to see how long I could keep that alliteration going, sorry) — Florida State’s Onyi Echegini and Jordynn Dudley have been named MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalists:

Echegini was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year and ACC Tournament MVP this season while also being selected for the All-ACC First Team and ACC All-Tournament Team. The Nigerian international has scored 15 goals and four assists with multi-goal games against North Florida, eleventh-ranked Notre Dame, Duke, and seventh-ranked Clemson in the ACC Championship.

Dudley is the only freshman on the list and her first collegiate season saw her claim ACC Freshman of the Year. She was also named to the All-ACC First Team, All-ACC Freshman Team, and the ACC All-Tournament Team with TopDrawerSoccer selecting her in their Team of the Week award on multiple occasions. She’s scored 12 goals and eight assists with prolific performances against South Florida, Miami and a brace at first-ranked North Carolina.

Florida State’s last honoree named to the 15-man list was Jenna Nighswonger, she was then named a finalist for the trophy last season. Two players from Florida State have received the award with Jaelin Howell winning back-to-back in 2020 and 2021 while Mami Yamaguchi claimed the program’s first back in 2007.

Florida State is set to face off against the Clemson Tigers in the College Cup at 6 p.m. this Friday with a trip to the national championship on the line.

Basketball

A sloppy game between Florida State and Georgia saw a 17-point Seminoles’ lead in the second-half erased, culminating in a loss in the final seconds to the Bulldogs who ended the game on an 18-3 run:

From Matt Minnick:

Tonight was a good lesson in the fact that not all takeaways are created equal. Florida State is not going to impress you with its half-court offense this season. The Seminoles thrive in transition, running off of live ball turnovers and missed shots. Dead ball turnovers, while better than a made basket, don’t allow you to push the pace at all. If FSU isn’t pushing pace, it’s going to be a struggle.

FSU lost a game in which it led for 35 minutes and 54 seconds, including being up by 17 with less than 8 minutes to play. Ouch. That is a complete collapse. FSU didn’t have great NCAA Tourney chances as it is, but losing games at home in this fashion is a way to ensure that your season ends in early March. Rogner and I agreed there would be one more loss in the out-of-conference portion of the season, but this sure is a brutal way to accomplish it.

No. 15 FSU women’s hoops will look to bounce back from its first loss of the season, facing off against the Arkansas Razorbacks tonight in Tallahassee:

Thursday’s matchup could be a fast one inside The Tuck. The Seminoles are 13th nationally averaging 88.0 points and play at a pace where each team averages 81.3 possessions per 40 minutes. The Razorbacks, which also plays their brand of positionless basketball, average 75.1 points and play at a pace where each team averages 76.5 possessions per 40 minutes.

Arkansas will be the third SEC opponent on FSU’s schedule this season, with the Seminoles owning a 2-0 mark against No. 11 Tennessee (92-91 on Nov. 9) and rival Florida (79-75 on Nov. 17). In the ACC, FSU is the only team to play four Power 5 schools so far (Tennessee, Florida, Northwestern, Stanford), although No. 5 NC State has played three Power 5 schools in addition to UConn.

All Sports

Florida State University President Richard McCullough gave his State of the University address on Wednesday, highlighting the accomplishments of FSU over the last year:

He underscored the university’s dedication to student success by spotlighting record graduation and retention rates and the quality of incoming students: 75 percent of FSU students graduate in four years, and 96 percent of freshmen return for their sophomore year.

This year’s freshman class is among the best in the history of FSU, he said. Their average high school GPA was 4.3, average SAT was 1310, and 72 percent of them ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class. 

The university invested additional resources to enhance programming for first-generation students through the Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement, or CARE, allocated funding to increase the number of Honors students and grew the Presidential Scholars Program – FSU’s premier undergraduate scholarship. 

McCullough also said the university will invest $10 million over the next five years specifically for doctoral student support as a part of the new Quality Enhancement Plan.

McCullough also challenged faculty to set the bar higher with a goal of $500 million in annual research expenditures and said that the university would continue to build its research infrastructure to lend support to this objective.

McCullough highlighted the recent approval of a $98.4 million project by the Triumph Gulf Coast Board to establish aerospace and advanced manufacturing facilities in Northwest Florida. The university will devote resources and apply for federal contracts and grants to support this undertaking, he said.

The FSU Health initiative, launched in 2022, is moving forward at a rapid pace, McCullough said. The university has secured land and is in the final stages of designing an academic health center that will be built on the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) campus. Construction is also underway on a new medical campus in Panama City Beach in partnership with TMH and the St. Joe Company. 

The university received record funding last legislative session to support multiple academic and capital projects, including renovations of the Dittmer Chemistry Building and the relocation of the maintenance facility in the heart of campus that will free up space for new academic and research buildings.

FSU is also strengthening its relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. In partnership with the Tribe, the university launched the Native American and Indigenous Studies Center, which will serve as an intellectual and cultural hub for Native American and Indigenous research and artistic practice. 

McCullough reaffirmed the university’s commitment to inclusive excellence and recognized Ted Ellis, a nationally acclaimed visual artist who was recently named director of FSU’s Civil Rights Institute.

The president praised FSU Athletics for raising the university’s national visibility and acknowledged the stellar seasons by the football, softball, volleyball and soccer teams and the addition of women’s lacrosse as a varsity scholarship program.

To advance the university’s goals, FSU is preparing to launch its next comprehensive campaign in July, McCullough said.

“We are embarking on the most ambitious fundraising effort in our history,” he said. “This campaign will elevate Florida State to new heights of excellence.”

In closing, McCullough reflected on the past year and expressed confidence in FSU’s trajectory.

“We broke many university records. We’re dreaming big. We launched bold initiatives. And we continue to make audacious plans for the future,” he said. “And we will keep climbing. This is our time.”