The smoke had barely settled after midnight Monday night in Orlando, when the inevitable question arose from the press box, the internet and blogosphere: Where does Florida State’s 22 point comeback to defeat top 15 Ole Miss rank in it’s storied history?
If you went to bed (and even though it was a holiday, the game did not end until almost 12:15 a.m. Eastern Tuesday), FSU stormed back from a 28-6 deficit late in the 2nd quarter to score 33 unanswered points and eventually win 45-34.
Here’s the link to legendary “Voice of the Noles” Gene Deckerhoff calling all the big plays and TD’s in the 2nd half Monday night:
DANCE TO THE WAR CHANT!
— Gene Deckerhoff (@gened01) September 6, 2016
Now, let’s consider that the Noles rose to prominence under Bobby Bowden’s guidance in the 1980’s and had a massively successful run of 14 consecutive years where they finished in the AP top 5 in the 80’s and 90’s, collecting national titles in ’93 and ’99. So, they’ve won a lot of HUGE games, including post-season, in their history. Winning important games is now habit, if not a given.
But “Epic Comebacks?” Let’s examine:
First, we here at F.F.I., are always going to be partial to what you do with a championship on the line. So, the 2014 “BCS National Championship Game” win at the Rose Bowl over Auburn has to be at the top of a list.
Remember that the Noles trailed the SEC Champs 21-3 in the 2nd quarter and were clearly at a loss to stop Gus Malzahn’s unorthodox read-option offense. The Noles did find solutions on defense and not unlike Monday night in Orlando, they used a 2nd half combination of offensive drives, turnovers caused, a 100 yard kickoff return TD, and then, Heisman Winner Jameis Winston engineered the game winning 80 yard TD drive in the final minute. He capped it with the winning score on a two yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin for a third Seminole National Title.
Incredible comeback under the circumstances.
So if, that’s #1, then the second most memorable comeback has to be the legendary “Choke at Doak,” as Florida State rallied from 31-3 down in the fourth quarter to tie arch rival Florida in November of 1994. For those too young or simply don’t remember the particulars, here you go:
It’s a game and rally that even 22 years later, almost any Seminole football fan can recite what happened, where they were, and how they are still rubbing it in on Gator fans 3 decades later. When you do this to your rival, it’s just different. And for a couple of years, FSU sold copies of just the 4th quarter of the radio broadcast of “Mean Gene” and late Vic Prinzi calling all the TD’s and big plays.
Those, by the way, were on cassette tapes. If you are under the age of 20, ask someone what those are!
And then finally, last night.
After being torched by Chad Kelly and the Rebels pass game for 30 minutes, the Seminoles red shirt-freshman QB Deondre Francois, the fast, talented FSU D and a crafty Head Coach Jimbo Fisher and staff making adjustments on both sides of the ball, erased a 28-6 problem in just one quarter.
Amazing performance and Nole fans will talk about it for a long time to come.
You might have thoughts on where this ranks compared to other great FSU comebacks.
Tweet us at: @Real_FFI with others!
FSU visited by Dungy and Brooks in Bradenton
FSU has spent the week practicing at IMG in Bradenton. On Wednesday, head coach Willie Taggart invited former NFL head coach Tony Dungy and Seminole legend Derrick Brooks spend some time with the team and offer a few words of wisdom after practice.
Had a wonderful time visiting the @FSUFootball team today with @DBrooks55 We talked about developing a positive culture of excellence and unity. Derrick talked about how to be a well rounded student and teammate. Thanks Coach Taggart for giving us the opportunity. https://t.co/yrWsJUbMJK
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) August 14, 2019
Taggart wanted the guys to give his payers some insight on what it takes to be a part of a turn around team.
The former Super Bowl winning head coach told the team team that, if they want to see success on the field, they’re going to have to come together to do it.
— FSU Football (@FSUFootball) August 15, 2019
He ended with what it really means to be a champion, and having that championship mentality goes far beyond what you can do for your school on the field.
“Being a champion isn’t just being the best you can be on the field. Thats part of it. But it’s being the best teammate you can be, its being the best student you can be, person you can be and impact everyone. We didn’t bring you to Florida State just to win a national champion ship…Be the best person you can be for this university, for your family for your teammates, and you’ll leave a legacy here at Florida State.
You guys wanted to come to Florida State because of what these guys did. There are kids now who are going to want to come to Florida State because of what guys do. And that’s the power, that’s the fun, that’s what you’re going to really remember.”
Brooks then joined him for an extended Q&A session and told the group of guys, including his son, sophomore DeCalon Brooks, about what goes into a championship culture.
“It doesn’t take talent to have a championship culture, right? It takes effort. It takes awesome. No excuses, no explanations.” And mirroring the sentiment of Dungy he added, “that championship culture has to extend itself off the field…and we have the ingredients to be a championship-culture program.”
Coach Dungy has had a relationship with the Seminoles for a while, as Bobby Bowden was one of his role models when he began his career in coaching. And, in his time in Tampa with the Bucs, he coached two FSU greats in Brooks and Warrick Dunn.
Dungy and Brooks were foundational pieces of turning the Buccaneer program around and instilling a championship culture in Tampa Bay.
There’s no doubt that Tallahassee is ready for the return of a championship culture.
FSU Starting QB plot thickens
Many FSU fans are heading into the football season cautiously optimistic that this year, at the very least, will be an improvement from the last. Others are still questioning if Willie Taggart’s second year will look any different from the first, and that’s largely due to the fact that the Noles are just under three weeks away from kickoff with no certain QB1.
With former FSU starter Deodre Francois long gone, the battle is mainly between former backup QB James Blackman and former Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook. From what we can tell so far, it seems as if FSU’s offensive staff has spent much of the offseason preparing Blackman for the job, but for the most part, it still seems up in the air.
On Monday, Taggart was asked by the media if there would any benefit to deciding who is going to be the starting quarterback sooner rather than later.
His answer was vauge, but encouraging.
“It all depends on the circumstances. I think you always like to have a guy that’s your guy but we’re going to keep it competitive. Both guys are doing a great job and it’s been fun to watch. They both go in and execute the offense and I’ve been impressed because not only do they execute the offense with the ones but they get in with the twos and do that same thing. That’s impressive to me. They both are having a really good camp and we’ll keep it going.”
“We’ll keep it going” is not exactly what Florida State fans want to hear as they eagerly await for an offensive leader they can begin rallying behind.
For now, all we have to go on is what’s been happening in practice.
Brendan Sonnone of Noles247 reported on the state of the competition from practice on Monday. Here’s what he had to say about each of the guys vying for the job.
Sonnone started with Blackman, saying that he’s continuing to stand out.
“Spent 10-15 minutes watching the quarterbacks throw on Sunday and James Blackman remained the most consistent of the bunch in that viewing time. Blackman, who appears to be having fun but also quickly getting in and out of reps, was on target on every throw he made on the day. He regularly put it across the facemasks of his receiver or on their hands. Easily catchable balls.”
James Blackman to Tre’ McKitty pic.twitter.com/rqKTB2q0j0
— Noles247.com (@Noles247) August 11, 2019
As for Hornibrook, Sonnone said:
“He also knows where he is going with the ball and when to get rid of it. His main issue is that he sometimes leaves them a bit high.”
Alex Hornibrook to Jordan Young pic.twitter.com/bk3CNqdlRF
— Noles247.com (@Noles247) August 11, 2019
But, now officially in the mix is Louisville transfer, Jordan Travis. On Monday morning, it was announced that he has been officially been granted eligibility for the 2019 season.
According to Noles247, “He had one of the nicer balls of the viewing session when he connected on a vertical route with wide receiver Adarius Dent. Travis has looked to be moving around with a bit of a limp in recent days.”
Jordan Travis to Adarius Dent pic.twitter.com/UKofjCi5Nb
— Noles247.com (@Noles247) August 11, 2019
The addition of Travis into the competition is likely going to make it harder for Taggart and OC Kendal Briles to select their starting guy, but on the positive side, it’s better to have too many options than not enough.
We just hope that the right decision can be made before the season kicks off, rather than during.