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3 UP, 3 DOWN: Jacksonville State

We look back on the embarrassment that was Saturday night.

There’s a lot to chew on after Florida State’s stunning 20-17 loss to FCS Jacksonville State. This week’s installment of 3 Up, 3 Down could go a lot of ways based on the way the game unfolded.

Saturday night was simply mind-numbing as a Florida State fan. Coming into the weekend there was a lot of optimism about this year’s Seminoles team after a hard-fought contest with Notre Dame. While the Noles had played down to their competition the last three years against this same Jacksonville State team, Louisiana-Monroe and Samford, many thought this year’s team would do what they were supposed to - dominate and coast against an overmatched opponent

The end result of the game is FSU’s worst loss in program history, and there’s a lot to look at when it comes to deciding who and what is at fault. In this week’s 3 Up, 3 Down we look at some of the pieces that led to the embarrassment on Saturday night.

3 Up

1. Jermaine Johnson 

Jermaine has been dominant two weeks into the season. 19 tackles, 4 sacks, and 4 tackles for loss - that’s his stat line so far in 2021. Saturday, Johnson couldn’t be blocked as he had 11 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, and a pass defended. There’s been a constant pass rush the first two games and Johnson is a major reason why. While he apologized after the game, he is the LAST player that needs to be doing so.

2. Jashaun Corbin 

Corbin continued his hot start to 2021 with another 100-yard performance after compiling 15 carries for 109 yards and a score. Corbin was the only constant threat in an otherwise poor offensive performance for the Noles. It’s highly questionable why he didn’t get 8-10 more carries in the game due to the way he was running all over the JSU defense.

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3. FSU’s run blocking 

FSU’s run game is clicking on all cylinders right now. The JSU defense had nothing for Corbin or Treshaun Ward all night long. This is CLEARLY the strength of the offense and it needs to be the direction moving forward.

3 Down

1. Coaching 

This is the first time I questioned many situational play calls from Mike Norvell’s offense, and the way the defense ended the game left a lot to be desired when it came to the play call. After soaking in what I watched, and watching some of the first half again, it’s almost like this game was treated as an in-season scrimmage. From highly questionable personnel combos to just an awful call on the last play of the game, this coaching staff was off Saturday.

2. Keyshawn Helton 

Based on the play calls it is very clear the coaching staff is depending on Helton this season to be a big-play threat. He had his opportunity early in the first quarter when he dropped that wide-open 4th down pass that would have gone for six. McKenzie Milton called his number several other times downfield with no success. Who knows what would've happened had Helton made that catch and the 'Noles got up early on a big play?

3. The FSU Secondary 

First, let me say there is talent here. There are really good players. What’s not clicking? Busted assignments, lack of communication, and just a really poor effort on the last play of the game. You have to know the down, distance and where you are on the field at all times, but there continue to be misses from this secondary. I am not a fan of the over-rotation that is going on two games in - play your top four corners and top four safeties and run with it. There’s no continuity in this unit and they allowed two game-changing drives that led to the loss.