Florida State Coach Mike Norvell

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Three weeks ago Florida State coach Mike Norvell was home alone, watching his team embarrassingly lose to rival Miami in another disheartening loss for a program looking for a way to turn a corner.Maybe that’s what happened on Saturday against North Carolina. Playing with intensity, passion and energy lacking in recent years, the Seminoles upset the North Carolina No.5 31-28 on Saturday night, retaining the win they desperately needed to build the kind of confidence and boost every first year coach wants as they build their program.

Florida State entered the game as a double-digit home underdog, in large part because of its poor performance to open the season. But Norvell saw improvements in a loss to Notre Dame last week, which gave him hope there was more to come against the Tar Heels.

Indeed, the state of Florida won its first victory as an unranked team against one of the top 5 opponents of the AP since 2007 against the No. 2 from Boston College. All of this would have been hard to imagine at the end of September, when Norvell missed the Miami game with a positive coronavirus test and the Seminoles took place in front of a national television audience.

When asked to describe the victory on Saturday, Norvell said: “There really are no words for it. It’s so special because since December 8th, the first time I walked into this meeting room with my team and this group, every moment we tried to grow and improve, believe in what was to come I say to our guys that the ultimate goal of every opportunity is to try to come out and be the best of you.

“To see their celebrations, to see the joy, to know, against all odds, not many people gave us a chance tonight, but they didn’t care what others thought of them. They thought nothing of the limits that would be placed on them. They just got out there and played their game. Tonight was about these guys. It was their moment, and they truly deserve the victory for how they prepared and how they responded to it all they are being asked to do. ”

Florida State took a 31-7 lead, but the Tar Heels struggled to come back. When the fourth quarter began, the Tar Heels had closed the gap and trailed 31-21. Norvell said he brought his entire team together with a smile on his face and told them, “Guys, this is where you rely on what you do. I can’t tell you what this fourth quarter will be like, but over there and you play the next game. You give it your all. You are maximizing your efforts in this opportunity. This is what they did. We found a way to play better tonight. It will be monumental for us to continue to grow and to be inspired by this example. ”

North Carolina had one last shot to win or tie the game on their last record. When Sam Howell’s fourth pass went incomplete, a big party ensued.

“It was the greatest feeling I have ever had in my life to watch the defense grow like this,” said quarterback Jordan Travis.

Adding offensive lineman Devontay Love-Taylor: “The celebration, especially after what we’ve been through this season, the tough loss in Miami, the tough loss here for Georgia Tech, all the work we did, we had it. desire. paid tonight. But we must continue to work to ensure that this continues to bear fruit. ”

Norvell sees a lot to clean up, including an inability to score in the second half and too many unruly penalties that nearly cost them the game. This will come during study and practice of the film next week and in the weeks to come.

“We’re not perfect,” Norvell said. “We’re a work in progress, but when you have the chance to see growth, when you see improvement, when you see investments – it’s not for everyone. We’ve had guys who have chosen other things, guys who are here continuing to work, they keep trying to be the best version of themselves in every aspect of their life.

“We’re always going to push because I know we can do so much more. “



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