After Florida State finally picked up a win in last week’s at-the-buzzer victory over Syracuse, the Seminoles now must take the next step: turn one win into another.
“It’s something that we have to be able to build upon,” Norvell told reporters Monday.
And that’s something FSU hasn’t done much of lately. The ‘Noles have only won back-to-back Power Five games once in the past five seasons (Louisville and North Carolina State in 2019).
Instead, FSU has wasted chances to build in-season momentum by following impressive performances with duds. As the ‘Noles try to use last week’s triumph as a springboard to upset North Carolina on Saturday, here’s a look at their recent lackluster responses after big games:
2021 vs. Notre Dame
Why it could have been a turning point: FSU rallied from 18 down at the start of the fourth quarter to force overtime against a big-name opponent that was ranked in the top 10. The ‘Noles lost but appeared to show progress by hanging with a talented competitor and finishing strong for a change.
What happened next: FSU failed to finish strong the next game. The Seminoles squandered a 10-point lead in the final five minutes and surrendered an indefensible 59-yard touchdown pass on the final play to fall at home to Jacksonville State in the worst loss of their modern era.
2020 vs. North Carolina
Why it could have been a turning point: FSU went up by 24 and held on for a 31-28 triumph over the No. 5 Tar Heels — the program’s first top-five win in six years. It should have been a proof-of-concept victory for Norvell to be able to show his players, recruits and the FSU community that his plan works.
What happened next: The Seminoles looked nothing like a team that beat a dark-horse playoff contender the week before. They fell behind 21-7 in the first 13 minutes of an eventual 32-point loss to a mediocre Louisville team. FSU followed that defeat with two more double-digit losses, to Pitt and North Carolina State.
2019 vs. Syracuse
Why it could have been a turning point: With Willie Taggart’s job in jeopardy, his Seminoles showed signs of life and creativity (a heavy dose of Cam Akers as a wildcat quarterback) in a 35-17 win over Syracuse. The Orange weren’t good, but a win over Syracuse could have been a turnaround point in Taggart’s tenure, the way it was at USF.
What happened next: Miami blew out FSU 27-10 the next week in Tallahassee. Taggart’s team couldn’t sustain any momentum and looked too much like the one that was blown out by Virginia Tech in his 2018 debut. FSU fired him the next day.
2018 vs. Louisville
Why it could have been a turning point: The Seminoles trailed by 10 going into the fourth quarter but came up with a 28-24 road win thanks to a Deondre Francois touchdown pass with 1:13 left. It looked like the kind of performance that, as Warchant wrote, could save a season. Maybe it could have even led to long-term turnaround.
What happened next: The season was not saved, and FSU is still waiting for a long-term turnaround. The second-half heroics disappeared the next week as the Seminoles blew a 20-point lead in a 28-27 loss at Miami.
2018 vs. Boston College
Why it could have been a turning point: FSU used a 74-yard touchdown pass with 1:49 left to upset the No. 22 Eagles. Beating a ranked opponent on the road in the final minutes should be a building block for the future. “Hopefully it’s the defining moment that we all knew could happen,” Taggart told reporters afterward.
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