WHAT A FINISH!
One second left in the game, LSU has one more play and for that second, LSU looked like it was going to add to its list of coming up on top of crazy finishes when Jayden Daniels connected with Jaray Jenkins for the last play of regulation. The Tigers were one point away from coming all the way back and sending the game to overtime.
Only one problem, Damian Ramos’ extra point attempt was blocked by Shyheim Brown. One second, celebration erupts from the LSU crowd, and the next, the jubilation comes to a scratching halt.
Here is how the craziness that was between LSU and Florida State went down.
Game Recap (Drive By Drive)
LSU won the opening coin toss and elected to receive already showing how aggressive the coaching staff wanted to be from the opening kickoff.
New LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels electrified the crowd with a 25 yard run plus a late hit by the Florida State defense. Then, Daniels took a shot to Kayshon Boutte, but the star wide receiver could not hang on for a potential touchdown. The Tigers set themselves up nice inside the red zone until a snap by center Garrett Dellinger went away from Jayden Daniels forced the Tigers into a third and 19 situation. After a stop by the Seminoles defense, it forced the Tigers to try a 36 yard field goal attempt. Damian Ramos, who won the kicking job over the fall, showed why he won the job converting on his first field goal attempt as a Tiger. The first offensive drive of the season for the Tigers gave them three points on the scoreboard for the early lead.
BJ Ojulari made his presence known by sacking Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis on the Tigers’ first defensive play of the season. On third down, Travis extended the drive connecting with tight end Camren McDonald. Travis would then connect with Johnny Wilson for a 21 yard gain. After a 23 yard run by Travis, the drive would stall. Kicker Ryan Fitzgerald’s 47 yard field goal attempt would fall short. Score remains 3-0 in LSU’s favor. On the drive, defensive lineman Maason Smith was helped off the field after he injured his knee in celebration.
The Tigers would go three and out after a Dennis Briggs Jr. and Kalen DeLoach, but an excellent 55 yard punt by Jay Bramblett switched the field position for the Tigers pinning the Seminoles on their own 16 yard line.
On the second drive for the Seminoles, Jordan Travis connected with three different receivers on three third down conversions to extend drives. The quarter would run out with the Tigers holding a 3-0 lead at the end of the first 15 minutes.
Starting the third quarter, the Seminoles go deep in their bag of tricks with a flea flicker as Jordan Travis connects with Ontaria Wilson for a 39 yard touchdown plus a pass interference call. The Seminoles take an early 7-3 lead after a 14 play, 85 yard drive. Four third downs were converted for the Seminoles on the touchdown drive.
The ensuing possession, Jayden Daniels is sacked for the second time tonight by linebacker Tatum Bethune. Daniels bounces back connecting on a slant route to Brian Thomas Jr. to pick up the first down. After an eight yard pickup by Daniels, he would then connect with Malik Nabers for a five yard pickup for the second first down of the drive. The Tigers would pick up a third down conversion thanks to Daniels’ legs. Daniels connects on another slant route to Jaray Jenkins for seven yards and puts the Tigers inside the red zone. The Seminoles would hold from there as Daniels and Boutte were not on the same page on third down. The Seminoles special teams makes up for the missed field goal earlier as Jared Verse blocks a Ramos field goal attempt. Despite Daniels picking up 66 yards on the drive with his legs and arm, the Tigers could not convert that into points.
Jordan Travis picked up the sixth third down conversion on a nine yard completion to Ontaria Wilson, but the Tigers would hold the Seminoles on offense to force the first punt of the night for the Seminoles, but the Tigers had another special teams error when Malik Nabers muffed the punt giving the Seminoles the ball at the Tigers’ 15 yard line.
The Tigers get a huge stop in the red zone when the Seminoles turned the ball over on downs with Sage Ryan making a play in coverage on fourth and two.
Jayden Daniels uses his legs outside the pocket again for a gain of 15 yards, but then immediately gets sacked by Verse. The Tigers would run out the half to make the halftime score 7-3 with the Seminoles getting the lead after the first 30 minutes of play.
BJ Ojulari has his second sack of the ballgame, but that did not stop Jordan Travis from connecting with Johnny Wilson, who was bouncing off of tackles for the 24 yard pickup. For the second consecutive trip in the red zone, the Tigers would hold only allowing a field goal attempt by Ryan Fitzgerald. The Seminoles took six minutes off the clock on a 14 play, 68 yard drive to extend the Seminoles lead to 10-3.
Jordan Travis takes a huge shot from Ali Gaye, but throws a beautiful 27 yard touchdown pass to Wilson, who caught a one handed pass with Jarrick Bernard Converse interfering with Wilson on the touchdown grab. Ali Gaye was ejected for targeting on the hit. Florida State extends their lead to 14 at 17-3. This was the second time that Travis connected with Wilson for a score. The Seminoles score on an eight play, 57 yard drive.
Down 17-3, the Florida State defense had two penalties one for roughing the passer and the other for pass interference. Daniels would connect with Kyren Lacy for 14 yards, Malik Nabers for five yards, and Mason Taylor for eight yards on three straight completions. On third down and goal, Cain was stopped short of the goal line. On fourth and goal, it looked like Cain scored the touchdown, but the play was blown dead in order to review the previous play. The play stood forcing a fourth down and goal. The Tigers were able to muscle it in the end zone with Cain making the score 17-10. It was the best drive of the game by far as the Tigers scored on a 11 play 82 yard drive burning four minutes on the drive.
After LSU’s scoring drive, Jordan Travis continues his efficient night connecting with Pittman for 25 yards. Then, Travis made an incredible play throwing off one foot and connecting with Johnny Wilson for 15 yards. Deuce Spann took a reverse 17 yards all the way down to the LSU 13 yard line. Once again, the Seminoles were driving inside the ten yard line. The Seminoles would respond to the Tigers touchdown with a touchdown themselves this time coming from an one yard touchdown run from DJ Lundy. The Seminoles score for the second consecutive drive to extend their lead to 14 again at 24-10. The Seminoles had another methodical touchdown scoring drive marching 79 yards on 12 plays.
The Tigers would score for the second drive when Jayden Daniels threw a 23 yard touchdown pass to Jaray Jenkins. This is the first touchdown pass of Daniels’ LSU career. The Tigers had back to back nice drives marching 75 yards and taking five minutes off the clock. Florida State still leads at 24-17 with four minutes and seven seconds left to play in the game.
After giving up a touchdown on back to back drives, the Tigers defense forces a much needed three and out, but again, Malik Nabers muffs a punt for the second time and the Seminoles recover the fumble
After the Tigers force a three and out, Malik Nabers muffs a punt again, and the Seminoles recover the fumble inside the ten.
However, the Tigers get a huge break when Treshaun Ward fumbles and LSU defensive lineman Mekhi Wingo recovers. LSU gets the football from their own one yard line with a minute and 20 seconds left to play in the game.
Jayden Daniels completes two consecutive passes to Nabers, runs up the middle for 14 yards, completes a 13 yard pass to Boutte before being sacked and forcing the Tigers to burn their last and final timeout. Daniels makes an incredible run for 24 yards. Two plays later, Daniels throws the ball across to Mason Taylor and Taylor runs out of bounds with one second left in the play clock. Florida State would challenge to see if Taylor was out of bounds.
Incredibly, LSU scores a touchdown on the last play of the game when Jayden Daniels connects with Jaray Jenkins on a 2 yard TD with no time left on the clock. It was an incredible 11 play, 99 yard drive that crazy enough would not be remembered because of the ensuing play.
That ensuing play would break the hearts of Tiger fans everywhere as Damian Ramos’s extra point was blocked by Shyheim Brown.
Final Score-Florida State 24 LSU 23
Offensive Cumulative Stats
|NET TOTAL YARDS||392||348|
|NET RUSHING YARDS||132||139|
|Average Per Rush||3.5||4.6|
|NET PASSING YARDS||260||209|
|Avg Per Completion||13.0||8.0|
|Drops (%)||0 (00%)||1 (03%)|
|TOTAL 1ST DOWNS||22||25|
|Rushing 1st Downs||8||8|
|Passing 1st Downs||14||14|
|Penalty 1st Downs||0||3|
Offense Efficiency Comparison:
|RED ZONE ATTEMPTS||2-4||3-4|
|Red Zone Points||10||16|
|RZ TDs Rush-Pass||1-0||1-1|
|RZ FG Made-Att||1-1||1-2|
|Pts Off Turns||0||6|
Special Teams Comparison:
|Tackles for Loss||6||4|
LSU Field Goals
|TOTAL||1-2||LONG OF 36|
LSU All Purpose Yards
|30||G.Penn III (LB)||6||5||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|3||G.Brooks Jr. (S)||3||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|6||M.Jones Jr. (LB)||2||2||1||1||0||0||0||0|
LSU Punt Returns
LSU Kick Returns
LSU Team Stats By Quarter
LSU Scoring Summary
|1||11:41||FG||D.Ramos 36 yd Field Goal||8/46/3:19||3-0|
|3||00:08||TD||RUSH||N.Cain 1 yd rush|
PATkick by D.Ramos (GOOD)
|4||04:07||TD||PASS||J.Jenkins 22 yd pass from J.Daniels|
PATkick by D.Ramos (GOOD)
|4||00:00||TD||PASS||J.Jenkins 2 yd pass from J.Daniels|
PATkick by D.Ramos (FAIL)
Florida St. Passing
Florida St. Receiving
Florida St. Rushing
Florida St. Punting
Florida St. Field Goals
|TOTAL||1-2||LONG OF 25|
Florida St. All Purpose Yards
Florida St. Defense
|3||K.Knowles II (DB)||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|9||D.McLendon II (DE)||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Florida St. Punt Returns
Florida St. Kick Returns
Florida St. Team Stats By Quarter
Florida St. Scoring Summary
|2||13:00||TD||PASS||O.Wilson 39 yd pass from J.Travis|
PATkick by R.Fitzgerald (GOOD)
|3||08:29||FG||R.Fitzgerald 25 yd Field Goal||14/68/6:26||3-10|
|3||04:17||TD||PASS||O.Wilson 27 yd pass from J.Travis|
PATkick by R.Fitzgerald (GOOD)
|4||09:04||TD||RUSH||D.Lundy 1 yd rush|
PATkick by R.Fitzgerald (GOOD)
Here are some incredible photos taken by our photographer Jason Saucier. Check out the entire gallery later this week on our website followed by more in depth coverage of tonight’s heartbreaking finish in the first game of the Brian Kelly era.
LSU FOOTBALL POSTGAME NOTES
LSU (0-1, 0-0 SEC) vs. Florida State (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
September 4, 2022 – Caesars Superdome (New Orleans, La.)
● The LSU captains were WR Jaray Jenkins, DE BJ Ojulari, DE Ali Gaye, and LB Mike Jones Jr.
● LSU won the toss and elected to receive the kickoff to start the game. Florida State kicked off and defended the North end zone.
● Offensive players making their first career starts in LSU uniforms tonight: QB Jayden Daniels, OT (true freshman) Will Campbell, OG Miles Frazier, RB Noah Cain
● Defensive players making their first career stats in LSU uniforms tonight: CB Mekhi Garner, CB Colby Richardson, NICK Greg Brooks Jr., NT Jaquelin Roy
● Following are the LSU true freshmen that played in tonight’s game: 33 Javen Nicholas (special teams); 40 Harold Perkins Jr. (special teams); 50 Emery Jones (special teams); 66 Will Campbell (started at LT); 86 Mason Taylor (offense, TE); 29 Jaelyn Davis-Robinson (special teams)
● Quarterback Jayden Daniels enjoyed an exceptional LSU debut, accounting for 323 yards of total offense (209 passing, 114 rushing). Daniels’ 114 yards rushing tied Lynn Amedee (vs. Tulane, 1961) for sixth place on the single-game LSU list for rushing yards by a quarterback.
● LSU redshirt freshman PK Damian Ramos nailed his first career collegiate field goal attempt, a 36-yarder that capped LSU’s first possession of the game.
● Florida State’s block of Damian Ramos’ FG attempt in the second quarter marked the first time an LSU FG try was blocked since Oct. 10, 2020, when Tyree Gillespie of Missouri blocked a fourth-quarter kick by Cade York in Columbia, Mo.
● RB Noah Cain, a transfer from Penn State, scored his first career LSU touchdown with a 1-yard burst near the end of the 3rd quarter.
● Senior WR Jaray Jenkins’ fourth-quarter, 22-yard TD catch marked his ninth career touchdown reception at LSU, and his two-yard TD grab on the final offensive play of the game was his 10th career scoring catch.
● The fumble recovery by defensive tackle Mekhi Wingo, a transfer from Missouri, on the Tigers’ goal line late in the fourth quarter was his first as an LSU player and the first turnover of the season for the Tigers’ defense.
● LSU’s 99-yard drive at the end of the fourth quarter tied the school record for longest scoring march – it marked the seventh 99-yard drive for LSU since 1944, and the first since the Tigers accomplished the feat against Utah State in Tiger Stadium in 2019.
● Tonight marked the first meeting between LSU and Florida State since 1991 when the then-No.1 Seminoles posted a 27-16 win in Tiger Stadium. LSU is 2-8 all-time against the Seminoles with the victories coming in the 1968 Peach Bowl (31-27) and 1982 (55-21) in Tiger Stadium.
● Brian Kelly’s overall coaching record stands at 284-98-2, which ranks his first among all active FBS head coaches in wins.
● LSU featured a new starting quarterback for the third straight year, as Jayden Daniels started tonight’s game vs. Florida State. Myles Brennan started the 2020 season-opener against Mississippi State, while Max Johnson opened at the position last year against UCLA. Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow was the last LSU QB to start back-to -back season-openers for the Tigers (2018-19).
● LSU opened the season with a new head coach (Brian Kelly) and new starting quarterback (Jayden Daniels) for the second time since 1958, with both games coming versus Florida State. The only other time the Tigers opened a season with both a new head coach and new starting quarterback was in 1980 when sophomore Alan Risher started the season opener for first-year head coach Jerry Stovall. LSU lost to No. 13 Florida State, 16-0.
● LSU is now 92-32-5 all-time in season openers. The Tigers have won 22 of their past 27 season openers. The only five losses during that stretch have come at Virginia Tech in 2002, against Wisconsin at Lambeau Field in 2016, in Tiger Stadium against Mississippi State in 2021, at UCLA in 2022 and tonight vs. Florida State.
● LSU coach Brian Kelly now has a record of 13-6 in season openers as an NCAA Division I head coach at Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Notre Dame and LSU.
● Since 2010, LSU has played eight of 13 season openers at a neutral site, and the Tigers own a 6-2 record in those games.
● LSU traveled to the Superdome for the first time since the 2020 CFP National Championship Game, where the Tigers defeated Clemson, 42-25. LSU is 14-6 all-time in games played in the Superdome, which includes a 4-3 record in bowl games. Since 1987, LSU is 11-2 in the Superdome. Senior safety Jay Ward was the only LSU player on the current roster that also played in the Superdome for the National Championship in January 2020.
● Dating back to the 2001 season when LSU captured its first outright SEC title since 1986, the Tigers have done quite well against non-conference opponents, going 84-12 against non-SEC foes during that span. Of the 84 wins, 21 have come against Top 25 teams.
LSU Post-Game Press Conference
Head Coach Brian Kelly
September 4, 2022
COACH KELLY: I’ll begin by congratulating Florida State. They outplayed us in the first half. Certainly, mistake ‑‑ mistake after mistake for us and particularly in the first half. And, you know, obviously more mistakes in the second half.
We started to overcome some of those and played with, I would consider, more of a sense of urgency the last 12 minutes. But our margin for error was so small that we couldn’t make any more mistakes.
I was proud of our resolve. We battled. But we just have to learn how to play the game the right way, and that is for four quarters. We didn’t play with the kind of sense of urgency that I want for four quarters, and that was evident in our play. We didn’t tackle very well. We couldn’t get off the field on third down. We didn’t execute very well offensively.
We had two turnovers in our punt‑return game, which we thought would be an asset for us. And then we had a blocked field goal and a blocked extra point. Anytime you have those kinds of situations, you’re setting yourself up for a long night. And despite all of those things, I stand here in front of you with an opportunity to bring the game into an overtime situation.
So what we did well is we battled. I’m proud of the way we battled. What, obviously, we need to do better is play with a sense of urgency for four quarters, which we did not.
What we learned is we’ve got to coach better. We’ve got to have our kids coached in a manner where they’re ready. And I’m accountable for that. And we have to have them tackling better, executing better in all phases. So with that, I’ll open up to questions.
Q. (Off mic.)
COACH KELLY: Yeah, there’s no doubt. I mean, it’s an opener and you saw a better rhythm. We had some dropped passes, and we didn’t protect as well. That’s a good team. Florida State played well. That’s why I congratulated them at the very beginning. They ‑‑ for four quarters, they played better football, quite frankly.
But yeah, we got into a better rhythm certainly in the second half, Jayden [Daniels] did. And he’s a threat. But we don’t want to rely on him having to go back there. And when he does sit in the pocket, we saw his ability to find open receivers, show the patience and in particular on the last touchdown, he stayed in the pocket, showed great patience and found Jaray Jenkins in the back of the end zone.
Q. (Question about special teams.)
COACH KELLY: I’ve been doing this a long time. You put a guy back there, a guy like Malik Nabers, you watch him, you evaluate him through four weeks of practice, and you feel comfortable with his elite skill set and his mindset that he’s going to be able to do a great job, and that wasn’t the case. That was a mistake that we made.
He wants to do it, and we’ll have to reevaluate that situation. He’s a great kid. We didn’t lose the game because he dropped those two punts. We miraculously were able to overcome those. You usually wouldn’t. But that’s ‑‑ you know, that’s on us. We made that evaluation. We watched him catch punts, and we felt like he was in a position that he could do that for us.
As it relates to the field goal, it came from the same left side. We made an adjustment after the field goal and made a switch in personnel, and that didn’t work either. That’s on ‑‑ that’s us. We have to do a better job coaching.
Q. Talk about mistakes.
COACH KELLY: No. We ‑‑ we felt like we could get off the field on third down. We thought we would tackle better. But you don’t go through camp tackling at the level that you’re trying to tackle the quarterback here at Florida State. It’s very difficult.
And we had a hard time getting him on the ground, quite frankly. And we have some pretty good players that couldn’t get him on the ground. But we didn’t tackle very well. We didn’t communicate as effectively as we needed to on the back‑end of our defense. And again, that’s coaching and that’s execution. And we’re all in this together. Players and coaches alike. We have to go back tomorrow and go back to work and get better at those things.
But no, we didn’t go through camp and go, Wow, this is ‑‑ we are who we are. We have all these holes. We didn’t expect a lot of the mistakes we saw out there today. But as coaches, we have to be critical of ourselves and look at our evaluation and say that we’re part of this as well and we’ve got to do a better job coaching.
Q. (Question about Maason Smith.)
COACH KELLY: No, it’s ‑‑ that’s a knee that he’ll get an MRI first thing in the morning.
Q. (Off mic.)
COACH KELLY: For a slight moment but felt like in that situation, it was the prudent and percentage‑wise that we were going to be able to execute it.
Q. (Question about the offensive line.)
COACH KELLY: Well, I mean, I think their front is very good. They brought a lot of pressure. Their defensive ends were a challenge, you know, for a true freshman and our right tackle. They battled. Like I said, I mean, we were in a position to play much better I think as they settled in. It’s a first‑game situation. I’ll have to look at the film and give you a better evaluation.
Q. (Off mic.)
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I mean, lack of communication is one way to put it. I would just say as this game is moving fast, it’s making sure that you’re not tipping off coverages and making sure you’re leveraging the football the right way as well as communicating. And yeah, these guys haven’t played a ton of football and they’re going to get better.
Look, I’m not here to say we take any solace in a loss. That’s not why I’m here at LSU, to learn about great lessons in losses. But the reality of it is, we’ve got some ‑‑ some learning to do. We’ve got to coach better, and we’ve got to play better.
Q. (Question about Maason Smith.)
COACH KELLY: I had just said that he’ll have an MRI in the morning.
Q. (Off mic.)
COACH KELLY: You know, I think it’s like anything else, you know, here’s a great player trying to make plays, maybe trying to do a little too much. Trying to catch the ball before he had it. And I wouldn’t ‑‑ I wouldn’t read too much into it. I think he learned tonight that he’s just got to let the game come to him.
There’s going to be some nights where he doesn’t get all the balls. There’s so much ‑‑ you know, that young man has so many ‑‑ so much on his shoulders. We just got to get to him and tell him to let the game come to him. He’s going to get his catches and not to press as much.
Q. (Off mic.)
COACH KELLY: Oh, yeah. We knew he was part of ‑‑ their offensive structure runs through him.
Q. (Question about Jayden Daniels.)
Q. Oh, my quarterback? Well, as I said earlier, we didn’t ‑‑ we didn’t want him ‑‑ those weren’t ‑‑ those were scrambles that he was smart. There was a lot of man coverage. So we’re telling our quarterback, we’ve got a lot of bare front. We’ve got a lot of pressure fronts, and that was a game plan that we hadn’t seen from them. And if he didn’t feel like there was somebody open, that’s the dimension that he brings and that’s running the football. So that’s the one thing you’re going to give up, if you’ve got guys turning their back and running, and we took advantage of that.
Q. (Off mic.)
COACH KELLY: Yeah, certainly. And again, I’m not here to ‑‑ we’re not happy with the outcome. We have to play better. We’ve got to coach better.
But I’m proud of the way our guys competed, and there ‑‑ there’s going to be good days for this football team. But they’ve got to recognize and our coaches have to recognize we’ve got to put them in good positions, and we’ve got to play with a sense of urgency.
We saw, when we played with a sense of urgency, we came up with big stops and we answered every score. And I think the tempo of the offense improved. Players looked comfortable out there. We ran the ball in tough areas when we needed to. That’s good football, and we didn’t have enough of that.
Q. The defense seemed to struggle making stops on third down. What was the reason for that?
COACH KELLY: If I could give you one particular reason that we could have settled into, we would have made even more adjustments. It was a variety of things. Most of it had to do with their quarterback improvising.
We had them dead to right on two or three occasions. We didn’t get him on the ground, quite frankly. And when you don’t get that kid on the ground, he makes some really good impromptu plays. And sometimes we weren’t downing coverage close enough on body. But by and large, not getting off the field was a major factor in tonight’s game, no doubt.
Florida State Post-Game Press Conference
Head Coach Mike Norvell
September 4, 2022
COACH NORVELL: What a finish. We talked to our team all week that this game could come down to one play, to one opportunity. And, you know, as you watch throughout the course of the game, I thought our guys put on display an incredible heart. You know, the passion which they played with, just the effort, the physicality, I thought we dominated the game for the majority of it. Obviously, there at the end, you know, we had some things that happened that we just can’t have. But the one thing that happened on the last play is what we absolutely need.
It’s determination. It’s heart. It’s a willingness that, even after a disappointing moment, our guys responded. Anybody that’s around our program, they know they hear that word all the time, “respond.” How do you respond when the challenges arise? And effort showed up, guy made a play there at the very end and gave us an opportunity to win that game.
We needed that game. It’s big for our program. It’s big for those kids that are in that locker room. It’s big for everybody because we did have a great stage to put on display the identity of what I believe this team is made up of. And it’s young men with character that love to work, that believe in each other, that believe in the process.
I would have liked to have probably finished that game a lot cleaner than what we did. But as I’ve said before, sometimes you need to go through what you need to, to prove you can get there.
And even in that moment, it came down to one play, and our guys rose to the occasion for that last play. So very proud of them. It will be a lot to grow from, from this game. A quality opponent, a lot of draft picks out there on that field. And our guys, they rose to the occasion there at the end to be able to finish it. Proud of our football team.
Q. On the second‑to‑the‑last play, when [Mason] Taylor’s first knee hits the ground, what explanation were you given by the officials why LSU should have been able to run an additional play?
COACH NORVELL: Well, they made a first down; so the clock would stop. But whenever it was stopped, it had to go to review. Obviously, that extends the period of time. So the play would start with a snap. So they were going to get that snap off. You know, it’s just one of those things. There’s human error that shows up in all. And I thought the officials did a phenomenal job throughout the course of the game in the communication, the way they operated.
That was one. It’s a tough bang‑bang call. And it’s just all part of it.
Q. The range of emotions to go from the fumble to you want to tie and then the block. What was that like on the sideline for you guys?
COACH NORVELL: Oh, man, it’s never good to have a disappointing play or a disappointing moment; but, ultimately, it’s where you let your mind go.
And even after the fumble, you know, just go play the next play. Go play the next play. Ultimately, they did a good job of executing. They ran a good two‑minute drive. They were able to finish in the end zone. Go play the next play.
And special teams, unbelievable today. Two blocked kicks. I thought they ‑‑ obviously, two takeaways that were created in our punt coverage unit. I told the guys throughout the course of the week, you never know when that moment is going to show up. You better be in position to capitalize on it. And I think that’s what that game just illustrated in all facets.
Q. Is that something you work on a lot?
COACH NORVELL: It’s a little bit of both. I mean, yes, we have a scheme every week of where we believe that there might be a weakness or an opportunity. But that heart, desire, want‑to, that’s young men playing the way that they need to play here at Florida State. And I’m just grateful for those guys to rise up in that time.
Q. You said you needed a win. Can you imagine a point in the future when you look back at this night and say this was the start of something?
COACH NORVELL: I think that every experience you have is the start of something. I have a lot of confidence in this team. We’re still in our growing process. We have an unbelievable foundation that’s been set. There were games last year that helped really push us moving forward. I thought ‑‑ when you’re sitting at the beginning of a season with a really bad record, the response that you show, and that’s the start of something. That’s where, even in those moments a year later that shows up. I mean, our guys, they don’t doubt. They continue to play. And that’s going to help them here at Florida State.
It’s going to help this team as we continue to grow. It’s going to help our program in the future. It’s going to help them for the rest of their lives. And that’s what brings joy. I’m having so much fun coaching this team because they embrace that. They embrace the work. They embrace the challenges.
So to say it’s a starting point, no, we’ve been on a journey. There’s been some real challenges on that journey, but you see guys that rise up to those challenges.
Q. Jordan [Travis], what do you say about his performance?
COACH NORVELL: That was one of the best defensive lines in the country. They’ve got some really good players all over the field. And I thought that Jordan’s decision‑making, the way that he located the ball, the command of the offense. There’s some challenging moments there. He took a couple shots that probably don’t feel real good. But you take the throat to Pokey [Wilson] there, that touchdown, that was incredible, a great catch, all those things. But somebody coming right down at you, that shows the heart, the belief, the willingness to step in.
Bad things might happen after it, but he’s a phenomenal young man. I’m so proud of the steps we’ve seen from him. He’s a great leader for this team.
Q. Question about Pokey [Wilson] and competition.
COACH NORVELL: Those guys, they’re growing. You look at the receiving corps today, they came up with so many big plays. We had some missed opportunities, but so many big plays. Third downs. Watching them work on the perimeter, Deuce [Spann] on the short reverse. Those things, those plays, are so impactful throughout the course of the game. And we have competition at receiver. We have guys that have great play‑making ability.
And when they push themselves throughout each day of practice, when they push themselves through the offseason, they don’t run and hide from the competition; they rise up. I think that’s what you’re seeing in the case with a lot of our guys. We don’t know who’s going to be there in the moment, but you have to be prepared for it.
It was great seeing Pokey [Wilson] play the way that he did and really had some impactful plays here tonight.
Q. (Off mic.)
COACH NORVELL: Yeah, absolutely. He’s a redshirt freshman, a guy that has an incredible future in front of him. He’s really doing a good job and playing more in the defensive backfield. He’s just scratching the surface of where he’s going to go. But in that time with that opportunity he was able to go out there and make the game‑winning play. And that should really help him as he continues to grow.
But he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and I’m excited watching his career continue to develop.
Q. (Off mic.)
COACH NORVELL: Once I saw it get blocked, I was just watching the crossbar, making sure that it didn’t ‑‑ but no. I mean, it speaks to what this program is about. I mean, you just never ‑‑ you are unconquered. That’s it. Ultimately, at the very end, it’s just ‑‑ anybody could just take a step on that last play and all right, here we go, we’re going to overtime.
But they still had one. They still had one. And for our guys to believe it, I mean, you watch them throughout the course of the night. They kept pounding their hearts. We talked about that all week. And that’s what’s going to win games. That’s what just won that game. It was heart; it was determination. It was the willingness to give a little bit more in the time of need.
Ultimately, we’re going to go back and watch that film, and there’s going to be a lot of things that will probably irritate me. But I’m excited about going back to work and getting those better. But you also saw some really good characteristics out of this team with the physicality, the toughness, the mindset of how they played.
Offensively, defensively, like I said, that D‑line, for our O‑line to go out there and be able to ‑‑ it was a grind to establish the run game. it was a grind to be able to do that. But I thought they did a really nice job. And guys just competed throughout.
Q. The play‑caller, just a simple pick, that instance (off mic)?
COACH NORVELL: You go back and you look at something we ran earlier on a short yardage situation. The execution, could I have had a better play? Absolutely. If it scored, that would have been a really good play. I felt good about the moment. It’s the first time in the last couple of years that that’s happened to us. But it happened right there. So that’s something I have to go back and look at and make sure that, hey, in those moments, we’re going to be aggressive. But we’ve just got to make sure we don’t put the ball in jeopardy there. And, ultimately, I call the plays; so it was on me.
Q. (Off mic.)
COACH NORVELL: I told him the other week he’s built for this. He’s not built for it just because of the athletic ability. He’s built for it because ‑‑ you guys watched him practice. You watch the mindset; you watch the approach. He has to go and prove it every day. He’s not always had the easiest journey, but he gets an opportunity to go out there. And I thought he played at an exceptional level. Even with that, there were still some missed opportunities. And for us to win a game like that, to come down to the last play, that’s what we needed. Now we’ve got to go get better.
We’ve got a conference play starting up here in a little over a week, and we’re going to enjoy this one. I promise you. But we’ve got to come and we’ve got to take those steps because we’ve seen flashes. We’ve seen flashes of what we’re capable of. I like what I see from this team, but we’ve got to be more consistent and we’ve got to make sure we’re continuing to execute better from start to finish.
Q. (Off mic.)
COACH NORVELL: As many as they bring, because I’m excited about that. I need to just take a moment and think of all of our Seminole family. All of our fans that were here, that was incredible. I told the guys, you go into a place that, a game, you go on the road and you go into a hostile environment. That was an unbelievable environment. I mean, it was incredible feeling the energy, the passion. The greatest fan base in college athletics. To hear them, to feel them, from when we landed yesterday and got to the hotel, I mean, got chills for the welcome that they had. They took over New Orleans. And obviously it was a great night for everybody and you better watch out.
Q. I’m sure you guys were confident during the week, but did you feel as the game went on, you got more confidence?
COACH NORVELL: They have the experience. They know they’ve prepared. And I said throughout the week, I had a lot of confidence in what this could look like, what it could be. But you still have to go do it. And when you go out there and you have the experiences and you say, you see the benefits of the work and the labor and all the things that you go, that’s where the confidence grows.
It’s not because we hoped this would happen. It’s because they worked for it to happen. And ultimately, there’s still a lot of things we’re going to have to clean up. And we have to continue to go to work for this team to take the steps necessary of where we need to go. But obviously tonight was a great moment.
Q. Going into the bye week, is that going to help things out a little bit going into this week having it off?
COACH NORVELL: I’m excited about having a few days to let guys heal up and really to reflect and to see these first two weeks after a really tough and challenging camp. We need to now take those steps. Because we’ve had great opportunities. We’ve been on the road. We’ve been at home. We’ve got to see some great examples of our guys and what they can do.
Now we’ve got to utilize every one of those days. Now, a couple of them we’re going to take off and let these guys’ bodies heal up, but for us, it’s about that constant growth and what we’re trying to do. I know our guys will do that as we get back to work next week. Thank you, everybody.