Takeaway Tuesday: Win over Canes leaves FSU able to get to bowl

This past weekend in Tallahassee left you with all kind of feel good if you are an FSU fan. It found me at home listening to one of my favorite FSU victory songs, Seminole Wind, at full volume. The win also gave us a lot of positives to look back on and even more to look forward to as we enter the 11th week of the college football season with the Seminoles still fighting for a chance to play in the postseason. Here are my takeaways from Saturday’s win over the Hurricanes and what the future may hold for the 2021 version of FSU football as it enters the last two weeks of its season.

1. I doubt there is little debate over whether FSU’s win over Miami was the biggest victory in the little less than two seasons Mike Norvell has been at the helm of the Seminoles’ program. The fan base has been waiting on a signature win from Norvell and they got it. The two wins over UNC have been nice but a victory over an archrival is priceless. In my opinion it’s the biggest on-the-field win the program has had in the last four seasons. There is a rip tide as it pertains to college football in the state of Florida and FSU looks to be the only program swimming across that current 10 weeks into the season.

2. It also might have been Norvell’s biggest win off the field as it pertains to recruiting. It was always going to be big for recruiting because it is an in-state game and FSU and Miami go head-to-head for prospects on a regular basis. But it was even more important this year because FSU had a number of prospects on official visits including Travis Hunter, Marvin Jones Jr., Camden Brown, Kaytron Allen, Jovantae Barnes, DeCarlos Nicholson and Kamari Wilson, to name a few. That doesn’t count the dozen of players who attended the game on unofficial visits.

3. Maybe there is some recency bias in this statement but I can’t remember the energy being as electric as it was in Doak Campbell Stadium from start to finish all season. I know the Notre Dame game had a great atmosphere but this seemed different. And that may be because I put more importance on beating Miami because of the era of football I grew up in. Or maybe it was because the games in between didn’t draw so well, but I knew for a fact in a somewhat-sound-proof press box, without looking, that I was at a major college football game. Hadn’t seemed that way since the Irish came to town.

4. Hats off to FSU quarterback Jordan Travis. His return both sparked FSU’s offense and gave it some much needed balance, which allowed it success both running and throwing the ball.  All Travis did was throw for 274 yards, which is the most yards any FSU quarterback has thrown for this season. He also completed 69 percent of his passes, which was the second-best completion percentage he has had this season and a season-best in a game in which FSU passed the ball more than 15 times. Travis had seven completions of 15 yards or more in the game. He also had 62 yards rushing on the day.

5. As it has all season long, FSU’s success in the passing game was a by product of its success running the ball. FSU ran for 115 yards in the first half, where it took a 20-7 lead at intermission. That success on the ground and having to account for Travis as part of it was one of the big reasons the Seminoles threw for 144 yards in the first half.

6. FSU is still surrendering too many big plays in the passing game but they are getting better. Their coverage is tighter than it was earlier in the year and several players, like Omarion Cooper, have started to shine with more experience. Miami completed just 53 percent of its 47 passes despite throwing for four touchdowns. FSU tied its season-low completion percentage allowed against an ACC opponent this season (North Carolina also completed 53 percent of their passes) in an FSU upset win on the road earlier this year. FSU’s defense also rendered the Miami offense one-dimensional. The Hurricanes could simply not run the ball against the Seminoles, who held Miami to 43 yards rushing. The Seminoles’ defense has shown improvement in all phases throughout the season and is proving — against equally matched opponents — you can’t be one-dimensional against the FSU defense. The defense forced three turnovers in the first quarter and sacked Van Dyke three times on the night. All three sacks were made by star defensive end Jermaine Johnson.

7. My preseason prediction for FSU was 6-6 and they have a very good chance of getting there with games at Boston College and at Florida. The Seminoles are playing at least as good as the Eagles heading into this weekend’s game and better than Dan Mullen and the dysfunctional Gators are right now. How sweet it would be for FSU to reach bowl-eligibility in the Swamp. At the rate the Gators are going and at the rate college head coaches are losing their jobs this season, who knows if Dancin’ Dan will even be in charge when the Seminoles arrive in town.

8. After Florida’s close call against the mighty Samford Bulldogs, who the Gators beat 70-52, yes, 70-52, FBS teams might want to think twice about bringing in guaranteed wins against FCS teams from the state of Alabama.

9. FSU’s task in beating the Eagles got a lot tougher with the unexpected return of quarterback Phil Jurkovec, a legitimate NFL prospect who was thought lost for the season after breaking his hand in week two of the season. All he did last week was pass for more than 300 yards and he also picked up 71 yards on the ground.

10. This week in the ACC I will take Wake Forest over Clemson, Notre Dame over Georgia Tech, Pitt over UVA, NC State over Syracuse and Miami over Virginia Tech. And a week after jumping off the Wake bandwagon I am back on board. Wake is my week 10 pick to represent the Atlantic in the ACCCG and a win against the Tigers guarantees it. I have always been on the Pickett Line when it comes to the Coastal. A win over UVA guarantees a spot for the Panthers in Charlotte.