Three weeks ago, Florida state coach Mike Norvell sat home alone watching his team embarrassingly lose to Miami, another daunting loss to a program that was looking for a way to get one Corner to bend.
Maybe that happened against North Carolina on Saturday. Playing with an intensity, passion and energy lacking in recent years, the Seminoles upset the number 5 in North Carolina (31-28) on Saturday night as he builds his program.
The state of Florida entered the game as a double-digit underdog, in large part due to their poor performance at the opening of the season. But Norvell saw improvements in a loss to Notre Dame last week and that gave him hope that there would be more against the Tar Heels.
In fact, the state of Florida scored its first unrated team win against a top five AP opponent since 2007 against Boston College No. 2. All of that would have been hard to imagine in late September when Norvell was in Miami for one missed positive coronavirus tests and the Seminoles were unraveled in front of a national television audience.
When asked to describe Saturday’s win, Norvell said, “There really are no words for it. It’s so special because I went to this briefing room with my team and this group for the first time since December 8th, everyone Moment we were trying to grow and I tell our boys the ultimate goal of every opportunity you get is to try to get out there and be the best you are.
“To see their celebrations, the joy of seeing, knowing, stacked against all odds, not many people gave us a chance tonight, but they weren’t worried about what others thought of them. They didn’t think of anything about the limitations that would be in front of them. They just went out and played their game. Tonight it was about these guys. It was their moment and they definitely deserve the win for how they prepared and how they reacted to all of this You are asked to do that. “
Break The Rock Coach! #NoleFamily | #KeepCLIMBing pic.twitter.com/05ic38RHol
– FSU Football (@FSUFootball) October 18, 2020
Florida State took the lead 31-7, but the Tar Heels fought their way back. By the start of the fourth quarter, the tar heels had bridged the gap, ranged from 31-21. Norvell said he pulled his entire team together with a smile on their face and told them, “Guys, this is where you rely on what you do . I can’t tell you what this fourth quarter is going to be like, but you go out there and you play the next piece. You give all you’ve got. You maximize your efforts on this opportunity. “You did that. We did Found a way tonight to get a bit better. It will be monumental for us to keep growing and building on this example. “
North Carolina had one final shot to win or tie the game on its final drive. When the fourth relegation pass for North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell went incomplete, a big celebration ensued.
“It was the greatest feeling I’ve ever felt in my life when the defense got this big,” said Jordan Travis, Florida state quarterback.
Offensive lineman Devontay Love-Taylor added, “The celebration, especially after what we’ve been through this season, the hard loss in Miami, the hard loss here for Georgia Tech, all the work we’ve done, us felt like it has paid off tonight. But we have to keep working to keep it paying off. “
Norvell looks to be a lot of clean up, including an inability to score in the second half and too many undisciplined penalties that almost cost them the game. That will happen next week and in the coming weeks during film study and film practice.
“We’re not perfect,” said Norvell. “We’re in the works, but if you get the chance to see growth, when you see improvement, when you see investment, that’s not for everyone. We’ve had some people who made up their minds on other things, the people who there are.” Here they keep working and trying to be the best version of themselves in all aspects of their lives. That’s what tonight is about.
“We’re still going to put the pressure on because I know we’re capable of so much more.”