After worthy celebration of Miami win, Florida State turns its attention to Boston College
For the Florida State football team, the 24-hour rule was definitely in effect over the weekend.
The Seminoles (4-6, 3-4 in ACC) beat rival Miami for the first time since 2016 Saturday in front of a raucous crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Even though many players and coaches on the team haven't been around for the majority of that losing streak to the Hurricanes, it was still far and away the most important win of Mike Norvell's FSU tenure.
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The 24-hour rule — which gives everyone around the program one day to enjoy the win before refocusing ahead — had worn off in time for the Seminoles to return to practice Sunday night to prepare for Saturday's noon game at Boston College (6-4, 2-4).
But the catharsis of the victory began in the immediate aftermath of the win.
This scene on the field included many memorable moments, but possibly none more so than one caught on the broadcast where longtime FSU assistant coach Odell Haggins was excitedly grabbing and shaking Norvell.
"We’re all excited, but man, he shook me in ways I didn’t know I could be shook," Norvell quipped Monday.
Another moment was the entire offense coming back out of the locker room for a picture together in the end zone under a scoreboard displaying the final score of FSU 31, Miami 28.
Asked about the team celebration at his Monday press conference, offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham got emotional as he responded. Before finishing his press conference, he took quite a few seconds to collect himself after answering.
"They're a special group of guys who stuck together. It's pretty cool..." Dillingham said, attempting to stifle tears.
"We've got special kids."
The celebration definitely seemed to be the culmination of a season's worth of legitimately intense effort on a weekly basis that had largely not translated to wins. Entering Saturday, FSU had won just one of seven games that was a one-score game in the fourth quarter.
The Seminoles finally made that two close-game wins Saturday, made even sweeter by the fact that this one came against a rival they had lost four straight games to.
"That is what makes this place. Because, you know, it’s the game, but what it means. It means so much to our program, our fan base, but to those players. We had a lot of former players that were at the game, a lot of former players that got the opportunity to be around our guys, and you see in their eyes. Coming in after we finish, that was special," Norvell said.
"Grateful for the examples, Odell, Ron (Dugans), even coach (Randy) Shannon from a different perspective, he was pretty jacked up after the game also. It was a fun experience to have, but it’s one that is so much more than just the game because of all that goes into it.
"I don’t talk about any other games, there’s two that I mention whenever we report for a camp. And everything you do for 365 days of the year puts you in position to have a chance to be successful. Your identity, who you are as a program, the heart, the character, the team, those things all have to show up. When you have a moment, especially have a game like that, it means a lot."
Norvell and his team have talked at length this season about responding after losses and not letting the letdown effect carry over into the following week of practice or game ahead.
Responding to wins has been a less frequent occasion and none of them were wins of Saturday's magnitude, but the FSU head coach was quite encouraged by his team's return to practice Sunday night.
While the Miami win was important and kept FSU's chances at six wins and a bowl alive, it won't mean as much if the Seminoles don't carry that momentum forward into Saturday's game at BC.
"It was a very physical game. It was a full four-quarter game. Our guys poured everything into it, but what I liked is I feel like we came back with a purpose yesterday," Norvell said.
"You want to enjoy that. Give yourself time to celebrate the victory, but you also have to take the lessons from the game. That was something I did appreciate, really good eyes in our meetings, went out to the field and continued to work fundamentals. Had some guys who were sore, able to work that out a little bit, then had a good developmental part of the practice late.
"I liked what I saw from the guys, but they understand what’s ahead. You win a rivalry game, and that’s big, but to be able to take the step afterwards is something that’s critical for us. We know the opportunity that’s in front of us, we need to go seize that."
Two Seminoles earn conference honors
Two more FSU players earned ACC weekly honors Monday.
FSU defensive end Jermaine Johnson earned his fourth ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week honor while freshman cornerback Omarion Cooper earned his first conference honors as the ACC Defensive Back of the Week and co-Rookie of the Week.
Johnson had three sacks, five tackles for loss and a forced fumble in the Seminoles’ win over Miami. No player in FSU-Miami history has had more than five tackles for loss in a game in the series. His five tackles for loss were one shy of the program record and the most by an FSU defender against an FBS opponent since 2002.
Johnson, who transferred from Georgia this offseason, continues to make a push for All-American consideration. He’s up to 11 sacks and 16 tackles for loss this season – both the most by an FSU player since DeMarcus Walker had 16 and 21.5 in 2016 – and his 61 tackles lead all Power Five defensive linemen.
Cooper, who made his first career start against Miami, had an interception and four pass breakups in the win over the Hurricanes. He’s the first FBS true freshman to record those numbers in a game since 2013 and is now atop the depth chart as a co-starter at the cornerback spot opposite Jarvis Brownlee Jr.
Florida State at Boston College
When: Saturday, noon
Where: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
TV/Radio: ACC Network/94.9 FM
Reach Curt Weiler at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @CurtMWeiler.
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