acksonville State’s last-second heave dooms FSU in first-ever loss to FCS foe.
Tallahassee, Florida – After the game, Mike Norvell stated that they didn’t have their squad ready to play that day. In FSU’s 20-17 defeat against Jacksonville State, that lack of preparation was apparent from the outset.
On offense, the Seminoles racked up penalty after penalty, had a slew of drops, and couldn’t seem to establish a rhythm. FSU’s defense was strong for most of the night, but sloppy play and busted coverages cost them the game.
Six days after almost defeating a top-10 team, the Seminoles were defeated by an FCS opponent for the first time. FSU has a 0-2 record this season.
Milton gets a start, drops doom offense on the opening drive
McKenzie Milton got his first start as a Seminole and his first start as a collegiate quarterback in almost three years today after igniting the ‘Noles late in the fourth quarter against Notre Dame.
Jashaun Corbin scored on a nine-yard run to open the drive, and Milton connected with Camren McDonald for a first down Corbin’s ninth-yard run pushed the Seminoles over midfield.
Milton tossed a dime down the field to Malik McClain while pouting to his right, but the freshman couldn’t catch it. A fourth-and-four near midfield resulted from a fumble.
Milton found a wide-open Keyshawn Helton sprinting down the field, but Helton fumbled the ball away.
The Seminoles punted on their next three possessions, including back-to-back three-and-outs.
JSU opens scoring with a 15-play, 79-yard TD drive.
The Seminoles’ defense compensated for the offense’s errors on the opening two possessions. In their first two drives, Jacksonville State only gained three total yards. Just before the conclusion of the first quarter, the Gamecocks found their stride. On third down, quarterback Zerrick Cooper scrambled for 11 yards to escape a three-and-out. Josh Samuel raced for 14 yards for another first down after being sacked. Cooper retained the ball on third-and-two and ran for his second third-down convert. Renardo Green’s throw breakup forced another third down, but Cooper connected with PJ Wells for a 23-yard gain to move JSU closer to the red zone. Samuel broke into the end zone on a two-yard run on the 15th play of the drive. The Florida State defense remained on the field for almost seven minutes as Jacksonville State converted three third downs on the drive, more than FSU had in the first half.
McClendon forces fumble to spark FSU
The Seminoles’ offense replied to JSU’s 15-play drive by going three-and-out for the second consecutive game. The Gamecocks were back in FSU territory four plays after regaining possession. Things seemed to be snowballing for the Seminoles until Derrick McClendon ignited the team. On 2nd-and-10 from the FSU 17, McClendon smacked Pat Jackson in the face, forcing a fumble. Sidney Williams grabbed the ball off the ground and seemed to be on his way to the end zone, but he was brought down around midfield on a shoe-string tackle.
On the opening play of the drive, Milton connected with Jordan Wilson for a short gain, but a face-mask penalty moved FSU into JSU territory. FSU got a first down on back-to-back Treshaun Ward runs. To put the Seminoles in the red zone, Andrew Parchment pulled in a 12-yard catch along the sideline. In the following play, Corbin put the Seminoles on the board. Dillan Gibbons and Darius Washington worked together to create a huge hole on the left side of the line, resulting in a 12-yard running touchdown.
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Helton sets up short field, Milton converts to give ‘Noles halftime lead
Following the score, FSU’s defense forced back-to-back three-and-outs. With 1:38 remaining in the half, Keyshawn Helton returned a punt 32 yards to put the Seminoles on the JSU side of the field. The short field was used to Milton’s advantage. On third and one, Corbin broke through the center of the line for a 27-yard gain, setting up 1st-and-goal. Milton moved to his right on a play-action throw and hit Wyatt Rector for a touchdown to give them their first lead of the game after two short runs. It was Rector’s second touchdown at FSU and his second touch.
FSU extends the lead by three in the sloppy third quarter
The third quarter was a slop fest that went back and forth. FSU limited Jacksonville State to only forty yards and 2.7 yards per play in the first quarter. However, due to errors, the offense was almost useless because of mistakes. The Seminoles had 100 yards of offense and 5.6 yards per play, but they were only able to score three points. McKenzie Milton was intercepted in the third quarter, and FSU was penalized for forty yards. Ryan Fitzgerald’s 53-yard field goal was the lone score of the period.
4Q mistakes keep Gamecocks in the game, JSU takes advantage with last-second heave
To open the fourth quarter, the Seminoles put together one of their finest drives of the day, but they couldn’t reach the end zone or even the scoreboard.
The Seminoles got the ball at the Jacksonville State 20-yard line after a targeting and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The Seminoles got first-and-goal after one play.
On third-and-goal, the Seminoles got to the one-yard line, but Lawrance Toafili was tackled for a two-yard loss. Milton threw a fifty-fifty ball to McClain on fourth down, but he couldn’t get hold of it until his foot slid out of bounds.
The Gamecocks pushed the ball into FSU territory on the next drive, but a Jarvis Brownlee interception seemed to give the Seminoles possession of the ball back.
After a review, the interception was reversed because Kalen Deloach was penalized for targeting the passer. A misunderstanding in the defensive backfield led to a 23-yard touchdown throw from Cooper to Ahmad Edwards two plays later. It was the last play in an 11-play, 97-yard drive.
With 1:32 left in the game, Jacksonville State stopped a Corbin run out of the wild cat on 3rd and one, forcing a Florida State punt.
The Gamecocks were able to get to their own 41-yard line after converting two third downs.
With six seconds left in the game, three consecutive incompletions put 4th and 10 on the board.
With just one play remaining to win the game, Jacksonville State went with two-deep, man-under coverage instead of preventing defense.
“Ran a two deep, guy under,” Norvell added.
They wanted to make sure they generated pressure on the quarterback while also providing over-the-top coverage. The quarterback had one more timeout to avoid giving up anything underneath or in the intermediate,
so they didn’t go to instant prevent.”
Cooper found Damond Philyaw-Johnson in stride, breaking away from Brownlee
and Sidney Williams to score the game-winning, 59-yard touchdown with the time ticking down to zero.
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