Eurika! The Florida State Seminoles (2-4, 2-2 ACC) walked into Raleigh to face the North Carolina Tar Heels (3-3, 2-2 ACC) and stole a win in convincing fashion to give Head Coach Mike Norvell his first win away from home since his tenure at FSU. Seminole alumni, Mack Brown, remains winless as head coach against his Alma Mater as the ‘Noles dominate the Tar Heels, 35-25.
UNC and Florida State started this one on two completely different pages. The Tar Heels moved quickly and efficiently against the ‘Noles. Going for 41 yards on their first six snaps. The drive was stopped short thanks to a dropped pass on first down, and then a false start on 3rd and 6. Helping the Seminole defense to hold the Tar Heels to 3.
After the ‘Noles get another break on a targeting call on the kickoff, the offense still couldn’t capitalize. Florida State started the drive with a false start, and then couldn’t muster a single yard on their first three plays.
UNC took the ball back and went all over Florida State’s defense. The Tar Heels converted on two third downs and, thanks to an offsides, kept the ‘Noles on the field on 4th and 1. The drive went 12 plays for 70 yards. And North Carolina scored on a 33 yard touchdown pass from Sam Howell to Josh Downs.
Down 10-0 early, Florida State needed to get something going on offense before this one got out of hand. The Seminoles responded with one of their best drives of the entire season. And it started an onslaught on the North Carolina defense.
The ‘Noles found themselves starting on their own 41 yard line thanks to a great return by Travis Jay. The offense then converted on a 3rd and 8 after Jashaun Corbin went for 16 yards on a good play design to create a big hole for the Florida State running back. The Seminoles converted on another 3rd down to Keyshawn Helton for 9 yards. They then finished the drive on a 5 yard touchdown pass to Malik McClain. Where the freshman ran a great route to create just enough separation for Jordan Travis to hit him on the sideline.
This drive lasted 7:26, the Seminoles longest of the year.
The Florida State defense fed off that momentum and forced the Tar Heels off the field on a three and out.
Jordan Travis and the Seminole offense picked up right where they left off and on the third play of the drive, the Tar Heels remembered who Jordan Travis was. Travis took a zone read down the sideline for a 53 yard touchdown. The ‘Noles took their first lead of the game at 14-10.
Again, Florida State didn’t stop there. After North Carolina started driving on the ‘Noles, Sam Howell took a shot to the end zone. The pass was intercepted by Jarrion Jones and Florida State took possession back over with just under 5 minutes to go in the half.
The offense continued their impressive performance with an 8 play, 80 yard drive. Seven straight rushes opened up the Tar Heel secondary and the ‘Noles dialed up a great play which led to a wide open Ontaria Wilson, who Jordan Travis hit in stride for a 32 yard touchdown. Taking the game into halftime with North Carolina on upset alert against the Seminoles, 21-10.
FSU took the ball out of the half and went three and out. And UNC followed their good defensive stand with a six play touchdown drive. The Tar Heels looked good out of the break and cut the lead down to four in under six minutes.
The Seminoles were able to respond on the following drive. A roughing the passer penalty on a 45 yard pass to Keyshawn Helton set up Florida State nicely on UNC’s 15 yard line. The Seminoles used two rushes to get inside the one yard line, where Jordan Travis sneaked in for another touchdown. The ‘Noles were back up 10.
UNC dropped an easy completion which ultimately stalled their drive for the Tar Heels. They ended up punting the ball back to Florida State after possessing the ball for under two minutes.
Florida State’s offense continued to step on North Carolina’s neck. The first two plays were rushes for Treshaun Ward that combined for 30 yards which set up the ‘Noles near the 50 yard line. The Seminole offense then converted on a 3rd and 12 after a nice catch on the sideline by Keyshawn Helton for 18 yards to UNC’s 37 yard line. Florida State continued to chunk down the field and the drive went 83 yards resulting in a touchdown for the ‘Noles. Ontaria Wilson caught his second touchdown of the day for Florida State on a 6 yard completion.
The Seminoles extended their lead to 18 and were dominating the Tar Heels.
However, UNC wouldn’t go away without a fight and found themselves threatening at FSU’s 5 yard line. The ‘Noles defense stepped up and kept the Tar Heels out of the end zone. Making a goal line stand that ended with true freshman, Kevin Knowles, batting a pass away in the end zone.
Florida State punted the ball back to the Tar Heels with just over eight minutes left in the contest. Little time remaining for North Carolina to get back into this game.
UNC seemed to have little effort to score quickly. Down three scores, the Tar Heels surely went down the field on the ‘Noles. Yet they did so while taking 5:25 off the clock. The Tar Heels do not recover their onside kick, and Florida State will leave Raleigh with a win.
After entering the afternoon as 17.5 point underdogs, the Seminoles walked away from Kenan Memorial Stadium with grass to plant in their Sod Cemetery. Pummelling the Tar Heels, 35-25. Florida State led for the last 38 minutes of the ball game.
Florida State goes into next Saturday with the week off. Following the bye week they will be matched up against UMass (1-5). The ‘Noles will be hosting former Offensive Coordinator, Walt Bell. Hoping to extend their winning streak to three games against an inferior opponent.