Three Up, Three Down: Georgia Tech

Florida State kicked off its 2020 season Saturday night with a 16-13 loss to Georgia Tech. In this week’s 3 Up and 3 Down, we look at the take-a-ways from the season-opening loss to the Yellow Jackets.

Each week NoleGameday will review Florida State’s game, taking a look at the positives and negatives from the game. 

Saturday’s 16-13 loss to Georgia Tech was an all-out ugly showing by the Seminoles. There were still a few highlights, but there’s a lot to be desired after week 1.


1. Special Teams

After years of utter ineptitude on special teams, it looks like FSU may have turned a corner. It’s widely known the focus that Mike Norvell and his staff give special teams, and it showed. While Parker Grothaus missed a long field goal before the half, the special teams are what kept FSU in the game. 2 blocked field goals, an extra point, and solid field position from Travis Jay in the return game (25 yd per KR, 15 yd per PR) were the highlights of the game. While it’s hard to see through the result of the game, the attention to detail is a positive and will carry over to the other parts of the team under Norvell as it’s a sign of good coaching. 

2. Asante Samuel Jr 

Samuel’s two interceptions were huge for the Noles, and, looking back, kept Georgia Tech from making the final score worse than it could have been. Samuel’s first interception came on a promising initial drive by the Yellow Jackets, while his second came in the red zone. 

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3. Jordan Travis Packages 

Travis is what he is which we saw on his single pass attempt – he’s an excellent athlete and is hard to stop as a runner. Coach Dillingham and Coach Norvell brought Travis in to ignite a stagnant offense. His 55 rushing yards led the team and showed a possible wrinkle we’ll see at some point each week. 


1. The Defensive Line

Throughout the summer and into fall we heard from the national media, and those that cover the program, how good FSU’s front four was going to be. Throughout camp, we heard how much they were “wrecking shop”. With Marvin Wilson, Robert Cooper and Cory Durden back, FSU had 3 of the PFF top 10 linemen in the nation. The concern was a pass rush that looked to be in okay shape with the emergence of Joshua Kaindoh in camp. A CHEAP block may have cost Kaindoh his season – and the pass rush from that point was near non-existent. The entire defense was a negative Saturday after giving up 438 yards of offense, and allowing true freshman quarterback Jeff Sims to account for 341 all-purpose yards. But what was thought to be a major strength now looks to be just another question mark. You have to hold Coach Fuller accountable also, as many of his zone calls allowed Sims to comfortably sit back and hit short routes or scramble for first downs.

2. James Blackman

Simply put outside of the initial scripted series, James was bad. 23 for 43 for 198 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception, along with 2 fumbles, will not get it done. His 4.6 yards per completion is a prime example of how ineffective he was. Yes, there were offensive line issues, and there were two significant drops (2 by Warren Thompson and a touchdown by Tamarrion Terry). As the game went on Blackman’s bad habits came back – holding the ball too long, lack of accuracy, hesitating on throwing, happy feet. When the pressure is on and a play needs to be made Blackman cannot get it done. FSU needs to make a decision on what to do here as the offense continues its hot starts and lack of sustainability and execution.

3. 0-1

FSU is once again 0-1 to start the season, and once again loses to a team that is inferior talent-wise. FSU has now lost four season openers in a row for the first time since 1973-1976, pre Bobby Bowden. Perception is reality and right now FSU has a long, long way to go.

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