FSU football: Jacksonville State stuns Noles on final play of game

by 24USATVSept. 12, 2021, 6:01 a.m. 24
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TALLAHASSEE, FL - AUGUST 11: Head coach Mike Norvell of the Florida State Seminoles speaks during a collegiate athletics roundtable about fall sports at the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility on the campus of Florida State University on August 11, 2020 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

The goodwill FSU football had from their performance against Notre Dame was lost Saturday night in a loss against Jacksonville State. The Noles came out flat and without focus and found themselves in a dogfight, losing 7-0 early the second quarter.

McKenzie Milton got the start for the ‘Noles offense, and the FSU wide receivers did him no favors early in the game. Keyshawn Helton dropped a wide-open pass that would have been a touchdown, and that was foreshadowing for the rest of the night.

Mike Norvell tried to use a two-quarterback system with Jordan Travis on the field at the same time as Milton, but that was an experiment they could have left on the shelf. Jordan Travis in the game seemed to throw everything off, and the Noles couldn’t get into a rhythm.

It wasn’t until Derrick McClendon forced a fumble with Jacksonville State threatening in the red zone that the Noles got some momentum. FSU turned that turnover into a touchdown on a 12-yard run by Jashaun Corbin.

The Noles took a 14-7 lead right before halftime on McKenzie Milton’s first touchdown pass as a Nole to Andrew Parchment. FSU’s defense held Jacksonville State to 3.97 yards per play, and the Noles averaged 4.4 yards per play in the first half.

The second half was a combination of poor execution and penalties. The offense couldn’t get much going, and they had a couple of poor officiating calls to shut down their momentum a couple of times.

Ryan Fitzgerald got a shot at redemption as he made a career-long 53-yard field goal to give the Noles a 17-7 lead with 4:20 remaining in the third quarter. That field goal proved important as Jacksonville State scored a touchdown to cut the lead to 17-14 with 5:04 remaining in the game.

FSU had a chance to put the game away but turned the ball over on downs after having third and goal from the one-yard line.

The Noles had a chance to put the game away once more but punted to Jacksonville State with 1:32 remaining. Jacksonville State started their drive on the 17-yard line and marched to the FSU 41-yard line. Jacksonville State launched a Hail Mary caught on the 19-yard line and missed a couple of tackles while Jacksonville State waltzed into the end zone for the 20-17 win.

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