For the first time in 2015, Florida State is 3-0. With a backup quarterback, FSU still muscled their way to a big road win at Louisville on Friday 35-31. After losing Jordan Travis to a foot injury, Tate Rodemaker tossed a couple of scores, Arizona State transfer Johnny WIlson- all six-foot-seven inches of him, caught seven passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns and running back Treshaun Ward averaged 12.6 yards a carry. Mike Norvell's team found a way to win on the road and keep the vibe going. After lots of coaching cliches, Norvell's message is now showing up on the field and FSU seems to be playing with an edge and attitude.
With goals of playing a 13th game before the season, the Seminoles now look at a conference slate coming up with a different view.The thought of winning two or three against Louisville, Boston College, Wake Forest, NC State and Clemson was a fair projection. But now FSU gets a 1-2 Boston College team at home and a Wake Forest team next week at home just after the Deacons play a challenging game against Clemson.
FSU may still end up with seven wins and that would disappoint many who have jumped back on the bandwagon. But they may also be an eight or nine win team and the program needs a season that makes its fans believe the struggling days are behind them.
The Seminoles are a more talented team then they were when Norvell arrived, as they should be. They are still a work in progress but if Jordan Travis is not out for a period of time, he has proven to be effective and FSU has a talented backfield and Johnny Wilson might be breaking out to become a star. But one thing that stands out in FSU's wins against LSU and Louisville is that their offensive line is significantly better than it was the last two seasons.
Confidence can win you a game or two in college football. FSU seems to have that confidence it lacked in recent years and it just may be the difference in being a six, seven or maybe a nine or 10 win team...
A blocked 19-yard field goal changed UCF's game at FAU. The Knights, trying to bounce back after a rare home loss against Louisville last week, found themselves on the road against a fired up FAU team and crowd. The Owls marched down the field in six plays going 87 yards in two minutes to grab a 7-0 lead. FAU led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter before UCF scored the game's final 33 points. But leading 23-14 in the third quarter, UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee was intercepted by FAU's Dwight Toombs at midfield and he returned it 49 yards. UCF tight end Alec Holler ran down Toombs at the one to make a tackle. That tackle turned out to be huge. FAU had 1st-and-goal at the one yard line. A direct snap to Owl running back Larry McCammon on first down was high and he was tackled by UCF's Tremon Morris-Brash. On second down from the four McCammon ran up the middle and was tackled by Tremon Morris-Brash. On third-and-goal from the four FAU quarterback N'Kosi Perry threw an incomplete pass on a slant. FAU coach Willie Taggart opted for points knowing a field goal would make it 23-17 and a one score game and get his home crowd back in the game. He sent out his kicker, Morgan Suarez, for a 19-yard field attempt. It was blocked by...Tremon Morris-Brash. The block was a game over moment. UCF went seven plays for 86 yards and a RJ Harvey(Edgewater) score made it 30-14 and UCF went on to win 40-14. The Knights defense allowed no yards in the third quarter and 18 total yards in the second half. The Owls ran for 192 yards in the first half and finished the game with 188, minus-4 in the second half.
UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee totaled 460 yards of offense. He ran for 121 yards and two scores and passed for 339 and a score. Plumlee needed a confidence building bounce back game after his struggles against Louisville. By design, Gus Malzahn picked up the tempo in this game and Plumlee seemed more comfortable. He takes his shares of hits but his run ability is a weapon UCF needs.
The Knights get a struggling Georgia Tech team this weekend at home. The Yellow Jackets lost to Ole Miss 42-0 Saturday. They have lost eight consecutive games against FBS opponents and have been outscored in the last four of those games against FBS teams by a combined score of 183-10...
In Gainesville, Anthony Richardson's Heisman run was put away in a closet for a while. The Gator quarterback struggled again, this time against South Florida, who almost pulled off an upset but fell 31-28. The Bulls did more than hang around. At times, they looked like the better team. South Florida led 28-24 into the fourth quarter before Trevor Etienne scored on a three-yard run to give Florida the lead 31-28. But Bulls quarterback Gerry Bohanon(Baylor transfer) marched his team down to the Florida 19 with just under a minute to play. South Florida wasn't playing for a tie, they were looking to win the game. Facing a 2nd-and-6, a bad snap sailed well behind Bohanon and by the time South Florida recovered the ball it sat at the 33. On fourth down, South Florida attempted a game tying 49-yard field goal. The knuckleball kick was right and Billy Napier's team survived. Florida sits at 2-1 and could easily be 0-3. Anthony Richardson made some spectacular plays in the opener against Utah and buzz soared about his game and others started asking where he ranked among all-time Gator greats. Richardson was 10-18 for 112 yards and two more interceptions. In his last two games, Richardson is 24-for-53 for 255 yards with no touchdown passes and four interceptions. He has rushed for a total of 28 yards in the last two weeks.
Now the Gators hit the road for the first time and face Josh Heupel's Tennessee Volunteers team, ranked 11th. It's a big test because it's another game to see where Florida stacks up. If we all agree that the Gators are not in the SEC's elite group of Georgia and Alabama, are they in the second tier of teams that appears to include Kentucky, Arkansas and possibly Tennessee. A win in Knoxville and a 3-1 feeling would be pretty good. A 2-2 mark after a loss and possibly another lackluster Richardson effort will have many ask what's going with the guy who was just being compared to Tebow and Wuerffel a few weeks ago...
Mario Cristobal's era won't be defined by the Canes' loss to Texas A&M on Saturday but it is a reminder to everyone who claims a team is back before that team consistently proves they are back. Miami failed to score a touchdown against an Aggie team coming off a loss to Appalachian State and playing with a depleted secondary because of numerous injuries. The Canes' defense played well enough to win allowing less than 300 yards but Miami could not score on offense. Tyler Van Dyke's night to shine turned into a 21-for-41 game for 217 yards and no touchdowns. Miami ran 22 more plays than Texas A&M and the flat effort highlights Miami's shortcomings from being back.
Miami's schedule still has the makings of a nine or 10 win season and come late November, Mario Cristobal's team may be close to being back. But for now the "U" is still a work in progress...
Nuggets: If you're an assistant Nebraska AD sitting in a radio studio during commercial breaks ripping Scott Frost on a live mic for those watching the online video feed you showed your true colors. People are lining up to blast Frost and tell stories about him. It's a textbook strategy for situations like this. Look, Frost's firing can be justified on his record but some folks at Nebraska seem to still think the next guy will come in and listen to all of you tell him how it used to be done and how he needs it done. No idea who Nebraska will hire except it won't be Urban Meyer(what an absolute joke that report was of the school talking with him). But there will be many people who will call Scott Frost and ask him what they would be stepping into and right now the school is acting like an SEC program looking for a coach and the boosters playing GM...Speaking of SEC jobs, after getting rolled by Penn State, Auburn's Bryan Harsin is back on the hot seat and despite surviving that odd off-season, I don't see how he makes it back for next year. After opening with wins against Mercer and San Jose State, the Tigers lost to Penn State 41-12. Auburn's schedule has five home games to start the year. After this week's Missouri game, LSU comes to town. Auburn may beat Missouri and get to 3-1. If they lose to LSU and fall to 3-2 the ugly may just be getting started. Auburn faces Georgia and Ole Miss on the road and still has Arkansas, Mississippi State and Alabama on the schedule. A 5-7 campaign will not keep Harsin around. But then again, that's Auburn...Props to the guy wearing the Don Strock Dolphins jersey at Publix Sunday.
Final note: Did you know there are no onions in a Funyun, just onion powder. If you don't know what a Funyun is, we can't be friends.