It was a comfortable win. Not just comfortable — dominant.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise since UMass is one of the worst Group of 5 teams in the country but, at the very least, it was relieving to see Florida State more than fill the shoes of the 35-point favorite they were touted to be heading into the game.
Perhaps not since the 49-12 victory against Alabama State in 2019 have the Seminoles had a wire-to-wire dominant performance like they had against UMass on Saturday. The 59 points the Seminoles scored are the most they have scored in the Mike Norvell era. The last time they scored this many was against Texas State in 2015.
“We went out there and played a clean football game,” Norvell said. “It’s been a while since we’ve been able to show up and show people that we are capable of this, even when it’s expected of us. Even in the first month of the season, we saw the fight and belief in what we were trying to push to. Now we have been able to put together a couple of games. We still have a long journey to go in terms of where we want to be, but all we can control is today. I like the way we are growing as a football team.”
With 262 rushing yards and four touchdowns each by different rushers before halftime, the ’Noles cruised to a 38-3 lead. This was the sixth game this season where Florida State had over 200 rushing yards in a game. The Seminoles finished with 365 rushing yards and five running backs rushed for a touchdown.
“Our backfield is explosive,” Jashaun Corbin said. “No matter who is in there, there is no drop off. Everybody is capable. Seeing the younger guys and how hard they work during the week, seeing them get the chance to get on the field with smiles on their faces was a good feeling.”
“That’s the dream team back there!” Jarvis Brownlee Jr. chuckled beside him.
The defensive back corps was also involved in the scoring with Brownlee Jr. returning an interception 70 yards for a pick-six. Jammie Robinson also picked off a ball in the end zone — the second straight game that an FSU player has done so.
“When we came into the season, we knew games were going to come down to us,” Brownlee Jr. explained. “It was tough in the beginning, giving up big plays. We told ourselves we need to keep working. We spent extra time after practice working on steps and split recognitions and following the ball in the air. It has taken a lot. You can see the results. We have been holding it down for the last three games.”
The Seminoles’ defense and special teams combined for three turnovers and four sacks on the afternoon, holding the Minutemen to only 241 yards of total offense. The only real blunder came on the very first play of the game when Travis Jay fumbled on the kickoff return.
Florida State was also able to get playing time for its younger players on both offense and defense — something it hasn’t been able to do in the past few years due to playing down to lesser competition.
Redshirt freshman Chubba Purdy came in for the first time since his offseason surgery and threw two touchdowns on 98 yards passing. Jordan Young’s only catch of the day was a 5-yard touchdown reception from Purdy. Tate Rodemaker also saw a drive of action.
“It was nice to see Chubba come in and throw a couple of touchdown passes,” Norvell said. “He is getting better and it was good to see him translate that into a gameday situation. I’m proud of all of our players and it was good to see them get into the game.”
The win against UMass makes it three in a row for the Seminoles after starting the season 0-4. It’s the first time in ACC history that a team has started the season 0-4 and won their next three games.
Florida State will travel to Death Valley next weekend with a chance to get back to .500 with a win over Clemson, which looks susceptible at 4-3 and is coming off a loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon.