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Mike Norvell, Florida State coach

Three weeks ago, Florida State manager Mike Norvell was sitting alone at home watching his team embarrassingly lose to rival Miami in another depressing defeat for a schedule looking for a way around the corner. .

Maybe that’s what happened against North Carolina on Saturday. Playing with an intensity, passion and energy missing in recent years, the Seminoles rocked North Carolina’s # 5 31-28 Saturday night, maintaining a win they desperately needed to build the kind of confidence and momentum that every freshman coach wishes as he builds his schedule.

Florida State came into play as a double-digit home underdog, largely due to its poor performance to open the season. But Norvell saw improvements in a loss to Notre Dame last week, and that gave him hope that there would be more to the Tar Heels.

In fact, Florida State recorded its first win as an unranked team against a top 5 AP opponent since 2007 against Boston College No. 2. All of this would have been hard to imagine in late September, when Norvell missed the Miami game due to a positive coronavirus test and the Seminoles fell apart in front of a national television audience.

Asked to describe Saturday’s victory, Norvell said, “There really aren’t any words for that. It’s so special because since December 8, the first time I walked into that boardroom with my team and this group, every moment we tried to grow and improve, believing in what was coming I tell our guys, the ultimate goal with every opportunity you have is to try to go out and be the best of you.

“To see their celebrations, to see the joy, to know, stacked against all odds, not many people gave us a chance tonight, but they didn’t care what others thought of them. They didn’t think of any of them. the limits that would be placed in front of them. They went out and played their game. Tonight it was about these guys. It was their time and they definitely deserve the win because of how they prepared and how they responded to it all. do. “

Florida State took the lead 31-7, but the Tar Heels fought to return. By the time the fourth quarter began, the Tar Heels had closed the gap and were 31-21 behind. Norvell said he got his whole 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 go out there and play next. Played. Give everything you have. Maximize your commitment to this opportunity. “They did. We found a way to be a better show tonight. It will be monumental for us to continue to grow and build this example. “

North Carolina had one last shot to win or draw the game on their last drive. When North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell’s fourth down-pass went incomplete, a massive celebration ensued.

“It was the greatest feeling I’ve ever felt in my life to see the defense get this big,” said Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis.

Adding offensive lineman Devontay Love-Taylor: “The celebration, especially after what we’ve been through this season, the hard defeat in Miami, the hard defeat here for Georgia Tech, all the work we’ve done, we felt this way. tonight paid off. But we must keep working so that it can continue to bear fruit. “

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

“We’re not perfect,” Norvell said. “We are a work in progress, but when you get a chance to see growth, when you see improvement, when you see investments, it’s not for everyone. We’ve had some guys who chose other things, the guys who are here keep working , they keep trying to be the best version of themselves in all aspects of their life, that’s what it’s about tonight.

“We will continue to push because I know we are capable of doing much more.”

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