Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell tosses his hat to a fan after the Seminoles' victory. The Florida State Seminoles defeated the Miami Hurricanes 31-28 Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.

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Florida State, Florida play for bowl eligibility

On the surface, it would seem to be a down year for the Florida-Florida State rivalry.

Only the winner of the game between the longtime in-state foes Saturday in Gainesville, Fla., seemingly will clinch the right to go to a bowl game.

However, with the host Gators (5-6) at a crossroads after firing coach Dan Mullen on Sunday and the Seminoles (5-6) building for the future under second-year coach Mike Norvell, the outcome could have long-standing repercussions on both programs.

“I know what this game means,” Norvell said, “and, if you don’t get up for this one, then go somewhere else, go do something else, because it is not for you.”

The rivals did not meet last season because the Southeastern Conference had its teams play a conference-only schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first time the teams had not met since the series began in 1958.

This will be the third time in the past four meetings that one of the teams will be coached by an interim coach. Running backs coach and special teams coordinator Greg Knox will serve as interim coach for Florida on Saturday.

The Gators had designs on potentially competing for the SEC championship following a 3-1 start that included a narrow 31-29 loss at home to then-No. 1 Alabama. Things went south fast from that point. Florida lost five of its next seven games, resulting in Mullen’s dismissal after four seasons.

Mullen went 34-15 during his time at Florida, but the Gators have lost nine of their past 11 games against Power 5 opponents.

“The challenge has been we haven’t been able to sustain it,” Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said. “You’ve got to put really good structure and culture in place in order to sustain a high level over a long period of time, and that’s going forward what we’ve got to focus on.”

Florida State has been going the other way this season. The Seminoles endured their first 0-4 start since 1974 before turning things around and winning five of the past seven, including a dramatic 31-28 comeback win over Miami two weeks ago.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Ontaria Wilson (80) dives to the goalie for a touchdown before Boston College Eagles defensive back Mike Palmer (18) can get there during the first half at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State hangs on to defeat Boston College

Jordan Travis passed for 251 yards and a career-high-tying three touchdowns to help Florida State keep its bowl hopes alive with a 26-23 win over Boston College on Saturday at Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Travis finished 20-of-34 passing while also rushing for 26 yards on 13 carries. Jashuan Corbin ran for a team-high 62 yards on 13 carries for the Seminoles (5-6, 4-4 ACC), who won for the fifth time in seven games.

Florida State was coming off a 31-28 win against rival Miami last Saturday. A win over rival Florida next Saturday at Gainesville would clinch bowl eligibility for Florida State for the first time since 2019.

Phil Jurkovec completed 10-of-24 passes for 148 yards, a touchdown and an interception while rushing for 59 yards and a score for Boston College (6-5, 2-5). Jurkovec was coming off a five-TD performance (two passing, three rushing) in last week’s 41-30 win at Georgia Tech.

Pat Garwo III had a team-leading 71 yards rushing and one touchdown on 24 carries for the Eagles, who had won back-to-back games following Jurkovec’s surprise midseason return from a hand injury.

Travis’ 15-yard TD pass to Malik McClain early in the third quarter put the Seminoles on top 26-3. Garwo’s 3-yard touchdown run with 8:10 left in the third quarter pulled BC within 26-10.

Jurkovec’s 3-yard scoring rush in the opening minutes of the fourth brought the Eagles within 10. A 36-yard strike from Jurkovec to wideout Zay Flowers further trimmed the Eagles’ deficit to 26-23 at the 10:21 mark.

BC drove to the Seminoles’ 37-yard-line before Akeem Dent intercepted Jurkovec on a fourth-and-9 pass with 1:37 left to seal the win.

Florida State led 19-3 at halftime after Travis threw TDs in the first and second quarters.

Late in the half, Florida State recorded a safety on a pass play to BC’s Travis Levy.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Boston College Eagles quarterback Phil Jurkovec (5) throws a pass against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

QB Phil Jurkovec leads resurgent BC vs. bowl-hungry Florida State

Florida State will aim to keep its bowl-game hopes alive when the Seminoles visit the resurgent Boston College Eagles in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup on Saturday in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

The Seminoles (4-6, 3-4 ACC) have won four of their last six games after opening the season with four losses. Florida State would need to win its final two games to become bowl eligible for the first time under second-year coach Mike Norvell.

Last Saturday, the Seminoles earned an emotional 31-28 victory against rival Miami to snap a two-game skid.

The Hurricanes led 28-20 with 11:04 to play before the Seminoles scored 11 unanswered points, taking the lead for good on quarterback Jordan Travis’ 1-yard TD run with 26 seconds remaining.

Travis finished 18-of-26 passing for 274 yards while rushing for 62 yards and a pair of scores. Ja’Khi Douglas reeled in four passes for 90 yards, and Jashaun Corbin rushed for a team-high 68 yards and one touchdown.

“I liked what I saw from the guys, but they understand what’s ahead,” Norvell said. “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.”

The Seminoles will face a Boston College team that has looked like a completely different group since the return of starting quarterback Phil Jurkovec.

The Eagles (6-4, 2-4) have won two straight since Jurkovec’s surprise return from a hand injury in a Nov. 5 win over Virginia Tech that snapped their four-game skid.

Jurkovec was 13-of-20 for 310 yards and two passing touchdowns while rushing for 71 yards and three more scores in BC’s 41-30 shootout victory at Georgia Tech last Saturday. Pat Garwo III rushed for 104 yards while Zay Flowers had two catches for 87 yards and a pair of TDs.

The win clinched bowl eligibility for the Eagles for a second straight season under second-year coach Jeff Hafley. Now the team has a realistic shot at an eight- or nine-win season for the first time since 2009 (8-5) or 2008 (9-5).

“It’s a great opportunity; it’s a good (Florida State) team,” Hafley said. “Our guys are feeling good, too. It was loud, a lot of energy (at practice). Defense was (practicing) outside, feeling good in the cold weather. Probably a little bit colder here than it is down there.”

Florida State leads the all-time series 13-5. The teams last met in 2019 when the Seminoles earned a 38-31 win in Chestnut Hill.

–Field Level Media

Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell talks to Florida State Seminoles quarterback Chubba Purdy (12) after coming off the field. The Florida State Seminoles defeated the Massachusetts Minutemen 59-3 at Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021.

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Florida State QB Chubba Purdy entering transfer portal

Florida State backup quarterback Chubba Purdy announced his plans to transfer on Wednesday.

“I want to thank the Seminole fans and Florida State community for all their support during my time at Florida state,” he posted on Twitter. “After careful consideration and a discussion with my family I will be moving on towards new beginnings. With all that said I will be entering the transfer portal. Thank you and God Bless.”

The 6-foot-2 redshirt freshman from Gilbert, Ariz., played in only one game this season, completing all five pass attempts for 98 yards and two touchdowns in relief during an Oct. 23 win against Massachusetts.

He was third on the Seminoles’ depth chart this season behind Jordan Travis and McKenzie Milton.

A four-star recruit in the 2020 class, Purdy originally committed to Louisville before flipping to Florida State. He played in three games (one start) as a true freshman last season, completing 27 of 53 passes for 219 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA;  North Carolina State Wolfpack quarterback Devin Leary (13) looks to pass during the first half against the Louisville Cardinals at Carter-Finley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

NC State, Florida State fight for late-season footing

NC State looks to continue pushing for a division title in the Atlantic Coast Conference on Saturday when it visits the Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee.

The Wolfpack (6-2, 3-1 ACC) are in second place in the Atlantic Division behind undefeated No. 10 Wake Forest (8-0, 5-0).

“November is an important month. It’s the first time in my time in the league that it’s been wide open for who is going to represent each side of the division,” NC State coach Dave Doeren, who is in his ninth season, told reporters. “It’s exciting right now in our conference.”

Florida State (3-5, 2-3) is coming off a 30-20 loss to visiting Clemson (5-3, 4-2) that ended the Seminoles’ three-game winning streak.

NC State won for the fifth time in its past six games after rallying for a 28-13 win over visiting Louisville (4-4, 2-3 ACC) last week. The Wolfpack trailed 10-7 entering the final quarter before quarterback Devin Leary tossed three touchdowns in the period to finish 25-for-36 for 317 yards and four scores.

On a night when the Wolfpack struggled to run the ball with Zonovan Knight being held to 23 yards on 11 carries, 11 receivers caught passes, led by Emeka Emezie’s five receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown. Trent Pennix added three catches for 55 yards and a score.

Leary has thrown for 2,161 yards with 21 touchdowns and just two interceptions this season for the Wolfpack, who have gone four straight games without a turnover.

Linebacker Drake Thomas and safety Tanner Ingle came up big against Louisville for the Wolfpack. Thomas had 15 tackles, including 2.5 behind the line of scrimmage, and two sacks and broke up a pass, while Ingle recorded 10 tackles, including one for a loss, to go along with a pass breakup.

The Wolfpack were playing their first full game without linebacker Isaiah Moore, who suffered a season-ending knee injury a week earlier during a loss against Miami. Moore led the team with five tackles for loss and was second on the team with 43 tackles.

Florida State’s push to be bowl eligible, after opening the season 0-4, took a major hit against Clemson.

After taking a 20-17 lead when defensive end Jermaine Johnson returned a fumble six yards for a touchdown with 7:39 remaining, the Tigers scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes to pull out the win. Will Shipley’s 21-yard run with 2:53 left gave Clemson a 24-20 lead before Barrett Carter scooped up a fumble on the final play and returned it three yards for the touchdown that provided the final margin.

The Seminoles will look to Jordan Travis (812 yards, 11 TDs, 5 INTs) to jumpstart an offense that was held to just 241 yards against the Tigers. Jashaun Corbin has rushed for a team-high 714 yards and five touchdowns this season, but no receiver has more than 220 receiving yards for the Seminoles this season.

“It was a challenging first month but we got up, we responded and we pushed forward,” FSU coach Mike Norvell told reporters. “We had about four weeks where there was some positive momentum, a lot of things we’re growing and building upon. Saturday, we got knocked down again and the only sin is if you stay down on that ground. But we’re going to jump up, we’re going to move forward and we’re going to attack every day with all we can to improve, to get better and to be the team we’re capable of being.”

–Field Level Media

Clemson wide receiver Joseph Ngata (10) catches the ball during their game against Florida State at Memorial Stadium Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.

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Will Shipley keeps Clemson’s home winning streak alive vs. Florida State

Will Shipley rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-clinching, 21-yard score with 2:53 remaining, as Clemson rallied for a 30-20 victory Saturday against Florida State.

The victory was Clemson’s 32nd consecutive win at Memorial Stadium, extending the school record as well as the nation’s longest active home winning streak.

Clemson (5-3, 3-2 ACC) continued its recent dominance against Florida State (3-5, 2-3), defeating the Seminoles for a sixth consecutive time and improving to 11-1 in its last 12 games against Florida State at Memorial Stadium.

But the Tigers’ latest victory in the series didn’t come easily. The Seminoles, who entered the game having won three straight after an 0-4 start, took a 20-17 lead on a six-yard fumble return by Jermaine Johnson with 7:39 remaining.

But after trading three-and-outs, Clemson took over on its own 42-yard line with 3:48 remaining and drove 58 yards in 55 seconds for the go-ahead touchdown. Shipley capped the drive with a tackle-breaking 21-yard run for a 24-20 lead.

Clemson linebacker Barrett Carter added a three-yard fumble return on the game’s final play for the final margin.

Shipley, a freshman running back who missed two games with a broken tibia before returning to action in last week’s loss at Pitt, recorded the first 100-yard game of his career, carrying 25 times for his 128-yard total. He also had two kickoff returns for 42 yards and four receptions for 24 yards for 194 all-purpose yards.

Fellow freshman Phil Mafah added 69 yards on nine carries for Clemson, which totaled 188 yards on the ground. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei completed 19-of-31 passes for 189 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Davis Allen. Uiagalelei was intercepted once.

Clemson’s defense held Florida State to 244 total yards, including 68 rushing. Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis completed 14-of-22 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns, including a highlight-reel, 75-yard score to Lawrance Toefili, who spun over a would-be tackler’s body without touching the ground to complete the play.

Toefili’s touchdown gave the Seminoles a 13-10 lead with 8:14 left in the second quarter.

After spotting Clemson a 3-0 lead on a 47-yard field goal by B.T. Potter in the first quarter, Florida State scored on a one-yard pass from Travis to Jashaun Corbin.

Clemson led at the half 17-13 thanks to Allen’s touchdown catch.

The Tigers amassed 10 tackles for loss, including six sacks.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive back Akeem Dent Sr. (27) listens to defensive coordinator Adam Fuller (left) as he talks with the defensive unit during the second half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Truist Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina tries to stay unbeaten at home vs. Florida State

North Carolina puts its perfect home record on the line Saturday when Florida State comes to Chapel Hill, N.C., for an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup.

The Tar Heels (3-2, 2-2 in ACC) are led by quarterback Sam Howell and are 3-0 at home this season.

Howell has thrown for 300 or more yards in four straight games, the longest streak of his career. He has a touchdown pass in all 30 games as a Tar Heel, the longest active streak in the country, and in last weekend’s win over Duke moved past T.J. Yates for third place in North Carolina history in career total offense.

The school record in total offense is within reach for Howell, as he trails Marquise Williams by just over 1,000 yards. Howell needs 34 yards to pass Darian Durant for second in all-time passing yards at the school, and 656 to set the record.

Saturday will be the first game between the two conference rivals in Chapel Hill since 2009. The three most recent meetings were played in Tallahassee, Fla. in 2010, 2016 and 2020. The last four games in the series have seen each team win twice, and all four games have been decided by three points or less.

“Still haven’t put our best game together,” Tar Heels head coach Mack Brown said. “We’re still waiting to do that. This weekend would be great to do so.”

The Tar Heels plan to pay tribute to the late former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden with a mural at their home stadium.

Florida State (1-4, 1-1 in ACC) got its first win of the season last week, 33-30 over Syracuse. But even though it leads the overall series between the two teams with a 16-3-1 record, Florida State is a double-digit underdog in this game.

Florida State also has a pair of three-point losses this season.

“To think that we’ve had three games that have come down to the last play, four games that have been down to the last drive,” head coach Mike Norvell said.”The margins are very small. The detail, the effort that goes into that, the execution of what’s necessary to be able to achieve success, we want to play our best game.”

Jordan Travis broke Florida State’s program record for career rushing yards by a quarterback during his career-high 113-yard performance against Syracuse. Travis, who set FSU’s single-season quarterback rushing record last season, has 932 rushing yards in 16 career games to surpass 1993 Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward’s previous record of 889 yards.

–Field Level Media

Florida State Seminoles tight end Camren McDonald (87) gets pushed out of bounds as he runs down the field. The Florida State Seminoles lead the Syracuse Orange 16-13 at the half Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.

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Florida State hangs on for first win, drops Syracuse

Ryan Fitzgerald made a 34-yard field goal with one second left as Florida State beat visiting Syracuse 33-30 Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee, Fla. to end a season-opening four-game losing streak.

The Seminoles (1-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) avoided their first 0-5 start since going 1-10 in 1974 on a day when they blew a pair of 10-point leads.

Fitzgerald gave Florida State its first win when his attempt hooked just inside the right goal post and it capped a productive day by quarterback Jordan Travis, who was unavailable for last week’s loss to Louisville due to a knee injury.

Travis completed 22 of 32 passes for 131 yards and threw for two touchdowns. He also gained a career-high 113 yards on the ground and set up Fitzgerald’s game-winner with runs of 33 and 25 yards.

Travis threw 14-yard TDs to Camren McDonald and Keyshawn Helton in the second quarter as Florida State took a 16-13 lead. He also directed scoring drives that resulted in three-yard TD runs by Andrew Parchment and Jashaun Corbin as Florida State pulled off the win after holding leads of 23-13 and 30-20.

Syracuse (3-2, 0-1) dropped to 0-7 all-time at Florida State and also was unable to get its third straight win.

Quarterback Garrett Shrader was 13 of 23 for 150 yards and a TD. He also rushed for 137 yards and scored three rushing TDs, including a 55-yard score in the second quarter.

Sean Tucker, who entered second in the nation in rushing yards, posted his third straight 100-yard performance by finishing with 102 yards on 24 attempts.

The Orange rallied from its second 10-point deficit when Anthony Queeley barely stayed in bounds with 10:41 left for a 26-yard TD and Andre Szmyt made a 24-yard field goal with 5:17 left.

Syracuse was forced to punt with about a minute remaining and Travis got a pair of first downs to set up the dramatic finish.

Florida State never trailed after Helton’s TD with 36 seconds before halftime but Syracuse was within 23-20 on Shrader’s 1-yard TD run with nine seconds left in the third.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange running back Sean Tucker (34) runs with the ball in front of Albany Great Danes defensive back Tyler Carswell (2) on his way to the end zone for a touchdown during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Tucker, Syracuse aim to rush past winless Florida State

Only 18 yards separate Syracuse running back Sean Tucker from being the most prolific rusher in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Next up for Tucker and the rest of the Orange is a visit to Tallahassee, Fla. Tucker and Syracuse hope of another big day on Saturday against winless Florida State, which is off to its worst start since 1974.

The Orange (3-1, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) are seeking their third straight win after posting victories over Albany and Liberty.

Tucker enters this week with 536 rushing yards, which is second in the FBS behind Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III. Tucker is averaging 6.5 yards per carry, numbers that are prolific enough for former Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III to include Tucker in the Top 5 of his Heisman Watch.

In Friday’s 24-21 win over Liberty, Tucker rushed for 169 yards on 32 attempts against an opponent who entered 10th nationally in rushing yards per game allowed. Syracuse survived blowing a 14-point lead when Andre Szmyt kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired.

“There’s one thing when you’re on this football team and Sean Tucker is running the ball the way he is, our No. 1 job is to find ways to make sure he gets the ball,” Orange coach Dino Babers said. “I think it’s pretty evident that we’ve got coaches and players and everybody working to try to find ways to make sure he doesn’t just disappear in a football game.”

Florida State (0-4, 0-2) have committed 11 turnovers and dropped three games by eight points or less.

On Saturday, Florida State gave up the game’s first 17 points, trailed by 24 late in the first half and took a 31-23 home loss to Louisville. Quarterback McKenzie Milton completed 24 of 39 passes for 248 yards while Jashaun Corbin had a 75-yard touchdown run and Treshaun Ward contributed a 20-yard scoring run.

“Came out and played really hard in the second half,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said. “Defensively did a great job being able to get off the field. Just missed opportunities. We had our chances. Didn’t finish drives. We got to finish.”

The Seminoles have allowed at least 30 points in three of their first four games and enter as the ACC’s second-worst scoring defense at 31.8 points per game. Florida State is allowing 132.3 rushing yards per game, which is eighth in the ACC, but its 3.1 yards allowed per carry are tied for third best in the ACC behind Clemson and Syracuse.

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2021; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell during the game against the Louisville Cardinals at Doak S. Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State’s Mike Norvell rants about 0-4 start

Florida State coach Mike Norvell went off on a three-plus-minute rant Monday as he defended a Seminoles team that is winless through four games.

A 31-23 loss to Louisville on Saturday assured the Seminoles of their worst start since the 1974 squad opened the season with eight consecutive defeats.

“We’re continuing every day to go out there and improve,” Norvell said at his weekly press conference Monday. “Put our guys in position to go out there and be successful. We’re continuing to go out there every day and go through the process, and it’s not what anybody hoped for, it’s not where anybody wanted to be. But there are a lot of areas in our program where we’re seeing growth.”

When asked about his message to recruits, the second-year coach also spoke about what he’s seen from his current squad.

“I’m pissed off that we’re 0-4, and we can bring up how many years it’s been,” Norvell said. “I can’t control that. I can control this team at this moment and right now with the opportunity. So we’re going to work our butts off to go get better, and we’re going to do it the right way. And we’re going to have a standard how we operate, the same standard of everything that we do.

“I’m going to hold myself to it because I’ve got to be the example. Does that mean I’m not gonna make a mistake? I’ll probably make a mistake. Might make one today, might make one tomorrow, but I will respond to that. That’s the team I want, because I’ve seen it work.”

Florida State trailed 31-7 in the first half against visiting Louisville before making it close.

“If I was a fan, I’d be pissed off, 31-7,” Norvell said. “Some of them stayed. Some of them didn’t. The ones that did got to see a team that came back and responded, and played their butts off until the end. Were we successful? No, it was a failure. We did not win that game. …

“Yes, we are 0-4, but we have today. Then, Lord willing, wake up tomorrow, we’ll have tomorrow. And what we do with that, man I’ve got a lot of confidence in.”

The Seminoles are 3-10 under Norvell, who was 38-15 in four seasons at Memphis before being tapped to replace the fired Willie Taggart in December 2019.

Florida State faces Syracuse on Saturday in Tallahassee.

–Field Level Media