Well that was nice.
Florida State No. 16 (9-3, 5-3 ACC) closed a big jump of a third season under head coach Mike Norvell on Friday with a victory over the Florida Gators (6-6, 3-5 SEC) and improved by four wins from last season.
Deserving every inch of the win, the Seminoles battled a spirited Gators squad that found plenty of success on the offensive side of the ball to keep things close throughout the game.
To split the win, the Tomahawk Nation employees answer five questions below.
What was your favorite Jordan Travis play of the night?
Perry: They were all great, but the second play in the red zone (which wasn’t called a touchdown, it was a touchdown) was especially impressive because he only previously did so against the Florida defense. It’s a testament to Travis’ gaming prowess that he’s now expected to be able to string together a multitude of mind-blowing pocket-dodging plays at any given time.
LastNoleOfKrypton: Will anyone choose anything over that Red Zone Houdini moment? Magic for kids.
Evan Johnson: I refuse to choose one. He wasn’t perfect, but he was calm, composed, and composed, and forced that FSU offense into action.
Juan Montalvo III: My favorite was the time Jordan beat the Gators.
Tommy Mire: I don’t really have a favorite. Pretty much every time Travis came out into the open field, my jaw dropped.
Why was UF able to succeed against the FSU defense?
LastNoleOfKrypton: UF’s offensive line played a great game; they were able to take advantage of miscommunication in the secondary, which affected both coverings and running attacks.
Evan Johnson: UF has a pretty good offense but it feels like FSU was confused by all the moves UF used and they shouldn’t have been. They had just witnessed a similar violation. They knew what was coming. UF also has a good OL and they played a very good game. Fortunately, Billy Napier went completely dumb as he came out of the half and stopped trying to run the ball.
Perry: Poor communication in secondary kept leading to wide-open receivers, and then poor chase angles by FSU defenders in open space helped magnify those already big plays. With all the success Florida State has had on defense this year, the secondary has been a concern in several matchups and nearly cost FSU this game.
NoleThruandThru: FSU was hampered by its emotion in the first half, and in the second half there were multiple instances of pre-snap confusion that UF capitalized on. Lots of self-inflicted fouls on both sides of the ball, but also a big credit to the UF offensive line. They did as they pleased against the FSU defense line for most of the night.
Juan: Real physical play from UF disrupted FSU in the first half, it seemed. They were able to recover and regroup, and show their physicality. The goal line at the stands showed what FSU could do once they got established.
Tommy Mire: Their backs hit the gaps well and double teams up front made huge gaps to go through. Richardson’s size and running prowess were certainly evident when he saw a track.
What has the win told you about this team and program?
LastNoleOfKrypton: The climb gets more fun with every game; can’t wait to see who we face in the bowl game.
Evan Johnson: That they own the state for now. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but they also showed a lot of struggle. They didn’t collapse on themselves like they did earlier this season. Progress is not linear, but they are definitely moving forward.
Perry: This is how it’s supposed to look. FSU ended the year on a five-game win streak, appearing to be the better team in almost all of its matchups this season. The team was able to handle setbacks, pressures and expectations, and given the increasing signs of progress we’ve seen over the last few years, it should really get you excited to see what could potentially come in 2023.
NoleThruandThru: The team is still learning to deal with its emotions, which is an extremely difficult balance to strike in a rivalry game. Mike Norvell was prepared for this, constantly reminding the team to maintain a mental edge, and many players responded to him in the same way. The cameras caught Verse pointing to his head and taking responsibility after a penalty, which is an excellent example of coachability and leadership.
Juan: This team – and I think the program – has persistence. We knew that, but the first two Norvell teams, all of the Willie teams, and even Jimbo’s last few teams may have folded in that situation.
Tommy Mire: Those guys are playing for each other and the improvement is obvious, which was noticeable even in fall camp. It’s a strong foundation for Mike Norvell to build on and the seniors are exiting the program in the best way in a long time.
Which victory was more fun – Florida or Miami?
LastNoleOfKrypton: This one was more fun; Miami was the blowout that it was more satisfying.
Evan Johnson: How do you choose a favorite child? To me, a win over UF will always be more rewarding than a win over UM. I think part of it has to do with the SEC mess you always talk about. If FSU played in the SEC, they would be undefeated. I can say that because they are already undefeated in the SEC without even playing in that conference.
Perry: Nice for a neutral viewer? Tonight, because that was just fun football. FSU fans right? There was probably no sense of fun until Florida State took over the downs to kneel out the clock in the fourth. Beating Miami and adding it to an already miserable season just felt great.
NoleThruandThru: Miami was more fun, but tonight was more satisfying.
Juan: What NTT said.
Tommy Mire: Miami. This win left me unwatched some of the plays for fear of somehow screwing it up and the score/ending was a little too close for consolation. But hey, they started the season with a thrilling win against LSU and ended it on a similar note.
No doubt, just a free space to use creative non-explicit language to describe tonight’s refs
LastNoleOfKrypton: They deploy UF +9.5
Evan Johnson: Obviously conferences don’t care about serving in any sport. Often rules are difficult to enforce consistently and then you have what happened tonight. I have no words for the way the referees conducted this game.
Perry: Press boxes are normally very reluctant to issue statements when umpires call – but across the board, from all the different outlets and teams, every time this squad did something there was a common expression of exasperation. These idiots really judged an obvious touchdown that was clearly aimed, nullified the score but then didn’t call the late hit????
NoleThruandThru: Remember when they missed an obvious game slowdown? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
Anyway, enough about those idiots. How on earth could a recruit at Doak NOT have FSU as a serious contender tonight? Huge shoutout to the fans for creating an electric atmosphere for recruits from 2023, ’24, ’25 and yes, even ’26, to witness! The nation saw tonight that Doak can still rock with the best of them at night.
Juan: No explicit language? That’s b—[censored, arrested, identity wiped from the internet]
Tommy Mire: I actually heard that a fan who jumped over the railing while storming the pitch broke an ankle and it looked really bad (if you happen to be reading this in your hospital bed I hope you are well, seriously.) But I’m surprised the umpires didn’t stop the party to make sure their ankle was really broken and then give the ground a 10-yard penalty only to reverse it FIVE MINUTES LATER.
Aside from that, the fans storming the pitch was a first for me and we had a nice view from the press box. This win was truly the happiest I’ve seen FSU fans in a long time. A very good end to the regular season.