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Takeaway Tuesday: Short road to win, taking the next step, QB roulette

One thing is for sure: FSU football hasn’t lacked for excitement this season. The Seminoles have lost three of their four games by eight points or less and beat Syracuse on a last-play field goal. You can say FSU’s season has been disappointing so far but you can’t say it hasn’t been interesting. And it certainly does give us a lot to think about looking back and moving forward and this week was no exception. Here are some of the things I think, I think about FSU football after the Syracuse game and as the team prepares for North Carolina. I have included a math quiz this week and some of my points may be more ramblings than thoughts but, one thing is for sure, some will be validated and some will be debunked and I can’t wait until Saturday to find out which points go into each of those two categories. It’s always fun to be right but I don’t mind being proven wrong either.

  1. While it may not have been the prettiest of victories for FSU against Syracuse I take exception to those that have termed it as an “ugly” win. There is no such thing when you come into a game 0-4 and have two of the ACC’s supposed best teams next up in conference play with both games on the road.
  2. There are always a ton of keys to any close game and I am sure that was the case in this game. However, I am a simple guy who is not very good with numbers, but even I could do the math in this game. Syracuse had three possessions that started inside FSU territory and totaled 10 points on those drives. FSU on the other hand had two possessions that started either at midfield or inside Syracuse territory and the Seminoles scored 13 points on those two drives. That’s a difference of three points if I am doing my math correctly and I would like to think that I am. Final score: FSU 33, Syracuse 30. (Thankfully, I didn’t have to carry any numbers.)
  3. Now that we know what the most important situations were in the game we can nail down the game’s most important play. The is no doubt that it was FSU stopping the Orange on a fourth-and-1 from the 1-yard line in the third quarter after Syracuse took over on the Seminoles’ 34-yard line. If you want to know just how important it was, Syracuse scored 17 points on its next three drives. FSU’s stop may not bring back memories of the famous-goal line stand Seminole fans remember from 1993 against Kansas, but the stop on Saturday against the Orange was just as important to the 2021 team as it was to the team in the Meadowlands way back when.
  4. FSU has taken at least one step in the right direction under Mike Norvell. There are some tough games ahead, and there may be some more losses like the Wake Forest game in the future, but this team has shown it will compete for four quarters no matter what the scoreboard reads. That should always be the standard but we haven’t always seen it over the previous three seasons in Tallahassee. It looks like Norvell has gotten his team to believe if they just keep fighting something good will happen.
  5. We said all offseason and during fall camp that Jordan Travis was the most dynamic playmaker FSU has with the ball in his hands. That was proven once again on the game-winning drive when the Seminoles’ part-time starter at quarterback ran for a total of 58 yards on two carries on the 63-yard game-winning drive. He is a spectacular ball-carrier and hell of a lot of fun to watch compete.
  6. That being said the FSU offense is way too one-dimensional on offense with Travis as the starter and that could catch up with the Seminoles against the better defenses in the conference like Clemson, N.C. State and Boston College that are still left to play. And, we have said this before, Travis plays with a reckless abandon that you have to admire but his body has a hard time absorbing the pounding he has to take when he is the primary ball carrier, which is what happens the vast majority of the time he starts or play the majority of the game.
  7. Of course, I am not sure the revolving door at quarterback will ever stop for FSU this season and that probably has more to do with availability than dependability or consistency. And I am starting to believe that if both Milton and Travis are healthy playing them both in the same game may give FSU the best chance to win moving forward. I am just not sure I would play musical series. Opponents know both players have limitations in different areas of their respective games but it sure would give defenses more to prepare for.
  8. I was totally prepared for Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader to have a career game against FSU. I just wasn’t expecting it to come on the ground. He looked like the second-coming of Tim Tebow as he galloped for 137 yards on 16 carries. There is good news here. One of the few QBs to struggle against FSU over the last two and half seasons is the signal-caller they will face this week, UNC’s Sam Howell.
  9. Speaking of UNC, head coach Mack Brown has never been too afraid to give back to his alma mater. He is winless against FSU in his head coaching career. It also makes me wonder if UPS stole its old marketing campaign for the Seminoles alum: What Can (Mack) Brown Do For FSU? FSU beat the Tar Heels last season in Tallahassee, and I don’t think UNC is as good as it was a season ago and I think FSU is a better team than it was in 2020. It is college football and this season especially it seems we should expect the unexpected.
  10. If you think you are having a bad week just remember you could be living in Urban Meyer’s house.
  11. This week in the ACC I like: Virginia Tech over Notre Dame, Wake Forest over Syracuse, Georgia Tech over Duke and Louisville over Virginia.