Florida State coach Mike Norvell apologized for his group’s gorgeous 20-17 loss to Jacksonville State on a landing cross with no time remaining late Saturday evening. The loss was the primary in program historical past to an FCS opponent.
Norvell, in his second yr as Florida State coach, took full duty for the defeat, which he described as “completely unacceptable.” Going into Saturday, Florida State was 26-0 in opposition to groups that have been FCS members on the time of the sport for the reason that FBS/FCS break up in 1978.
The final time Florida State misplaced to a non-major opponent was in 1961 in opposition to Southern Miss. On the time, Southern Miss was within the faculty division (the precursor to Division II/III).
“I apologize to our fan base, to our college, to all Seminoles for the efficiency we had,” Norvell stated. “I take possession of it, however we go in and work, appropriate the issues that should be corrected to play to the extent we’re able to enjoying. This group has expertise, they’ve coronary heart, they honestly do imagine in what we will accomplish, however we now have to go execute. It may well’t simply be one thing we discuss within the second. I have been part of difficult occasions earlier than. Tonight is a difficult time for our college and our soccer group. We’ll get it corrected.”
With six seconds remaining, Florida State led 17-14, however Jacksonville State was in desperation mode, understanding it wanted a rating. Quarterback Zerrick Cooper threw a cross to Damond Philyaw-Johnson, who bought behind the protection and eluded two tacklers to stroll into the tip zone for a 59-yard rating as time expired — surprising Florida State coaches, gamers and followers.
Norvell stated his group didn’t line up in a forestall protection and tried to get stress on the quarterback as a result of Jacksonville State had one timeout remaining. Defensive finish Jermaine Johnson II stated the Seminoles “did not execute how we have been presupposed to” on the ultimate play.
Jacksonville State ended up planting its flag at midfield in a triumphant celebration.
“It is embarrassing,” Florida State quarterback McKenzie Milton stated. “We have to personal that. That is who we’re. We misplaced to Jacksonville State. We’re 0-2, so all we will do is look ahead.”
Florida State made the identical errors which have plagued the group over its latest four-year downturn: too many penalties, too many dropped passes, too many missed assignments, too many missed tackles. The Seminoles had 11 penalties for 114 yards, lots of them stalling drives or making it exhausting for the offense to realize any rhythm.
“If we hold placing ourselves in positions like that, we’ll in all probability lose each sport,” Milton stated.
Florida State has completed with shedding data in three straight seasons — together with a 3-6 end in 12 months 1 underneath Norvell. However he and his gamers spoke optimistically about this season, believing this group would present enchancment. After taking Notre Dame all the way down to the wire in an extra time loss Sunday evening, it appeared simple to imagine that progress had been made. Florida State confirmed a grit and resiliency that had been lacking for fairly a while.
However their efficiency in opposition to Jacksonville State confirmed the bottom moments for the Seminoles are nonetheless not behind them. If something, shedding to an FCS college for the primary time at school historical past exhibits Florida State nonetheless has an extended method to go earlier than it really fixes all the problems inside this system.
“Our focus must be on us,” Norvell stated. “We have to go on the market and ensure that we’re doing the issues which can be essential to signify this program in the way in which it deserves to be represented. That must be our sole focus. Guys are extraordinarily upset. They’re all annoyed, as we’re as a workers.”
The issue is that coaches and gamers have despatched the identical message for years now about correcting errors and ensuring the group is extra disciplined on sport days. However when the identical issues proceed and span teaching staffs, how do they in the end get corrected?
“We’re nonetheless all purchased in,” Johnson stated. “Subsequent week, we now have to flush it. It’s a must to have an awesome response. That is what we have been constructing upon. If not, then we’re simply faux. All we will do is lead by instance, everyone on the group. Put their greatest foot ahead and assault it the proper means. We’ve to try this, and we are going to try this.”