Saturday night, FSU head coach Willie Taggart came into his postgame news conference with almost a stunned demeanor. Even though his team somehow found a way to survive 45 – 44 in overtime against Louisiana-Monroe, Taggart, the media and Noles fans everywhere knew they had just witnessed a Houdini-like escape. An escape enabled, because the opposing head coach didn’t go for the win in overtime.
First, for the second straight Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium FSU raced out to a huge halftime lead, only to squander it and clearly wear down in the fourth quarter allowing their opponent to catch them.
Last week it was Boise State led by true freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier which rallied from a 31 – 13 deficit to claim the upset win over Florida State.
Saturday night it was the ULM Warhawks out of a Sun Belt Conference, who did the same. On the first Saturday in September, it was a 17-point fourth-quarter by the visitors that forced overtime and the dramatic “second-guessers delight” final chapter of the game .
First, a tip of the cap has to go to Seminoles sophomore running back, Cam Akers, who ran incredibly hard for 193 yards and two scores and also caught the go-ahead short pass and run touchdown that put FSU up 38 – 35 with under six minutes to play in the game.
However, ULM remained composed behind veteran dual-threat quarterback Caleb Evans. He had already led three second-half touchdown drives and he got them into game-tying field goal range. When Jacob Meeks booted through a 24 yarder with 1:30 left, we were headed to OT.
And when ULM won the toss, they rightfully put Florida State on offense first to see what the Noles would or wouldn’t do? Predictably, Akers put them back on top with his third and final touchdown of the game and Ricky Aguayo booted in the extra point for a 45 – 38 lead.
And, that’s where the fourth year ULM coach, Matt Viator (above), decided to play it safe. With Florida State’s defense clearly spent, again, just like last week against Boise State, the Warhawks easily got in the end zone themselves in just three plays capped by Evans fourth total touchdown of the evening, a 5-yard run.
But, even though they were a 23 Point underdog who had trailed 24 – 7 at the half, Viator chose to play it safe and attempt to retie the game.
That’s when, left-footed Meeks pull-hooked the PAT wide right, and the plug was pulled on a valiant attempted upset.
Look, there’s no guarantee that the Warhawks would have scored the two pointer for the win.
But, seriously, with how easily beaten FSU’s defense has been after halftime the last two weeks, would anyone have questioned going for victory? That’s especially if you let Evans use his wheels to get on the perimeter, again, just like he had done successfully repeatedly, including the TD?
In the end, Viator and ULM are only left with a “gut punch” of a missed short kick that cost them any shot at victory. And wondering, if they wouldn’t have been celebrating a stunning comeback instead of a deflating shanked extra point had they just been confident enough to try it.
FSU and LSU announced two game neutral site series Tuesday
In an effort to continue to beef up their out-of-conference schedules, FSU announced on Tuesday that they will play newly-crowned National Champion, LSU in two neutral site games coming soon in 2022 and 2023.
The Seminoles made the announcement through social media and their website that they will be playing the “Bayou Bengals” first in New Orleans and then, in Orlando:
Noles vs. Tigers set for '22/'23!!!https://t.co/nfLwLGhXE3
— FSU Football (@FSUFootball) February 11, 2020
Both teams will be given the benefit of essentially a “home-away-from-home neutral-site game” on Labor Day weekend. LSU considers New Orleans to be their second home and just won the College Football Playoff National Championship game over Clemson there on January 12.
The first game with the Noles will be on Saturday night September 4th, 2022.
FSU will, then play “hosts” in Orlando against the Tigers the following year on Saturday night September 3rd. The Noles recently played a season-opening game with Ole Miss, whom they defeated, at Camping World Stadium in 2016.
New Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell had this to say in the school statement about adding the games coming soon,
“I’m excited about this series,” head coach Mike Norvell said. “Florida State has a rich tradition in Louisiana, the home of many former Seminoles including Warrick Dunn and Travis Minor, and all three of our national championship teams had at least one player from Louisiana. It continues to be an important area for us now. We added two players from Louisiana in our first signing class, and it will be great for them and other future Noles to be able to play back in their home state.
This series matches two of the iconic brands in college football, and I know our fans will have a great time in New Orleans and Orlando. I want to thank our administration for all their hard work on this and for continuing to pursue first-class experiences for our student-athletes.”
These will be the 10th and 11th times that Florida State and LSU will meet. The Noles hold a 7 – 2 advantage, including winning four straight games in the series. It is the first time the two schools will have played since 1991.
Further, Florida State is 9 – 2 in their last 11 games opening a season on a neutral field. The Seminoles were to have played Boise State in Jacksonville last Labor Day weekend, but the threat of Hurricane Dorian moved the game to Tallahasse.
That’s where the Broncos upset the Seminoles and sent coach Willie Taggart into a second year spiral that resulted in his firing in November.
The Noles are also 8 – 2 all-time in games at the Superdome with the most prominent one coming in the BCS Championship Game win over Virginia Tech in the 2000 Sugar Bowl.
Deion tells Dan Patrick he’d consider coaching Hurricanes
NFL Hall of Famer and former Seminoles All-American defensive back Deion Sanders is making the rounds for broadcast outlets at Super Bowl 54 in Miami,. And it’s not just his NFL Network duties that made some news on Tuesday. Rather, it’s an interview, where he expressed more desire for coaching college football and maybe, even in the city where he currently is working this week.
Sanders appeared on The Dan Patrick television – radio show Tuesday in advance of the 49ers and the Chiefs meeting for pro football’s title at Hard Rock stadium Sunday night.
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) January 28, 2020
And, while most of the interview centered around the NFL and the Super Bowl match-up, Patrick naturally turned to Deion’s desire to apparently be a head coach in college football and maybe, as soon as next year.
This subject came up after Sanders was apparently under consideration to possibly be the new head coach at FSU, when they fired Willie Taggart in early November. The school and AD David Coburn did confirm that they had a serious formal discussion with “Prime Time” about building a staff, etc.
That’s when Patrick turn the questioning to Sanders’ son and what might test his loyalty to FSU and possibly, coaching at a hated-rival like the University of Miami.
“What if ‘The U’ called?” Patrick asked.
“You know what is so funny, cuz I saw that when I was watching you on television (earlier in the day when Patrick said he would ask Sanders about Miami). My son is a phenomenal quarterback. My youngest son. He has a plethora of offers. We’re going to visit ‘The U’ on Saturday,” Sanders said.
“But would you coach the U?,” Patrick quickly asked again.
“You know what. You never know,” Sanders replied leaving the door open, like most do.
“Are you a ‘package deal’ with your son,” asked Patrick?
“I’ve never been a package deal with any-body,” Sanders shot back, which drew laughter from the studio audience at Patrick’s Super Bowl show site.
Now, the Hurricanes have obviously floundered for much of the 2010s, including 2019 with first-year coach Manny Diaz struggling mightily down the stretch of his first season. Miami lost it’s final two games to finish 6 – 6, and then, were shutout humiliatingly by Louisiana Tech 14 – 0 in the Independence Bowl.
Miami has swapped offensive coordinators after Diaz fired Dan Enos after just his first season. The Canes have hired former Auburn and SMU play-caller Rhett Lashlee to replace him. And, they secured Houston dual threat transfer QB D’Eriq King for this season.
Sanders was a two-time All-American at Florida State (1987, ’88), and won the Jim Thorpe Award during his final season playing for the Seminoles in 1988. He was selected in the first round of the 1989 draft by the Atlanta Falcons and played in the NFL through the 2005 season.
His elite level of play earned him inductions into both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Sanders has been analyst for the NFL Network for the past 10 years and clearly has the desire to try something else.