Florida State suffered a brutal loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday night when the Yellow Jackets blocked a possible game-winning field goal by Roberto Aguayo and returned it for a touchdown. Yes, this ranks up there with the special teams gaffe by Michigan a couple weeks ago and the infamous Kick Six in 2013. Yes, this is a terrible loss and will almost certainly keep Florida State out of the playoff. Yes, this team does not look to be at the same level as Clemson, whom they face in two weeks.
But all is not lost, ‘Noles fans.
At the beginning of the year, we all expected this Florida State team to lose 2-3 ball games. We knew they were young, inexperienced and breaking in a quarterback that committed 22 turnovers at Notre Dame last season. We knew that the offensive line would feature four new starters and the receiver rotation would be the youngest ever under Jimbo Fisher. The defense also lost four starter to the NFL and would feature some players getting their first meaningful snaps.
However, Florida State won their first six games and suddenly, fans had a different view on the season. They thought that this team could have a shot at the playoffs. Dalvin Cook was playing at a Heisman level despite his nagging hamstring injury. Everett Golson, billed as a turnover machine, was playing turnover-free through the first half of the season. Things were looking up.
Then Georgia Tech appeared. Georgia Tech, with their option offense that has given Florida State fits in the past. Despite their 2-5 record, they were a lot better than their record indicated. And that showed on the field, Florida State struggled to stop the option offense for the most part and Georgia Tech did a very good job at stopping Dalvin Cook and limiting the ‘Noles through the air.
The way that Florida State lost will sting. This will be replayed over and over again on ESPN. It will probably make the top ten plays of the season.
But remember back to the preseason, ‘Noles fans.
We knew this team would have a loss or two on their schedule. We knew their offensive line would make mistakes. We knew this receiver rotation was young and inexperienced. Dalvin Cook was clearly not 100% in this game and I wonder how much rest they give him going forward.
Florida State still has a shot at the ACC title game. Clemson looms in two weeks, but the ‘Noles have a knack for getting up for that game, despite it being in Death Valley. NC State is a dangerous opponent, but have issues of their own. A return to the ACC championship is not out of the question.
So relax, Florida State fans. All is not lost.