- Florida State won outright over North Carolina as a +13.5 home underdog.
- The Seminoles cashed as a +375 moneyline underdog.
- It was Florida State’s first win as an unranked team against a top 5 opponent since 2007.
Mike Norvell’s first season at Florida State didn’t get off to a good start. The Seminoles opened the year losing ugly 16-13 at home against hapless Georgia Tech as a -13 point chlk. They then traveled to arch rival Miami and got throttled 52-10. They followed that up with their first win of the year against FCS Jacksonville State and last week lost 42-26 at Notre Dame though they managed to get the pointspread cover as a +20.5 road underdog. Along the way, Norvell missed the Miami game after he tested positive for coronavirus. Making matters worse, the team looked downright listless in the process.
That all changed on Saturday as the Seminoles showed some fight and tenacity as they beat #5 North Carolina 31-28. They got the outright win as a +13.5 home underdog and a +375 underdog on the moneyline. The final score stayed ‘Under’ the total which closed at 64.5, 65 or 65.5 depending on where you played it. The Seminoles improve to 2-3 SU/ATS while North Carolina falls to 3-1 SU/2-2 ATS.
Norvell was at a loss trying to put the victory into perspective:
“There’s really no words for it. It’s so special because since Dec. 8, the first time I walked into that meeting room 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 objective with every opportunity you get is to try to go out and be the best 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 worry about what other people thought of them. They didn’t think about any of the limitations that would be put out in front of them. They just went out and played their game. Tonight was about these guys. It was their moment, and they definitely deserve the victory for how they prepared, and how they responded to all that they’re asked to do.”
It was in no way an easy victory though for awhile it looked like it was heading in that direction. Florida State shot out to a 31-7 lead only to have North Carolina scrap back into the game. The Tar Heels trailed 31-21 at the start of the fourth quarter and at that point the coach gave this speech to his team:
“‘Guys this is where you rely on what you do. I can’t tell you what this fourth quarter is going to look like, but you go out there and you play the next play. You give everything you have. You maximize your effort in this opportunity.’ They did that. We found a way to be one play better tonight. It’s going to be monumental for us to continue to grow and build off this example.”
Florida State’s defense had struggled all year but came up big on the final drive. North Carolina had a shot to tie or win the game but the FSU defense held them off and eventually got the ball back on downs. Norvell knows that the team has a lot of work to do and that they made things much more difficult on themselves than it needed to be by not scoring in the second half.
“We’re not perfect. We’re a work in progress, but when you get a chance to see growth, when you see improvement, when you see investment — it’s not for everybody. We’ve had some guys that chose other things, the guys that are here continuing to work, they’re continuing to try to be the best version of themselves in all aspects of their lives. That’s what tonight’s about.”
“We’re still going to push because I know we’re capable of so much more.”
Next up for North Carolina is a home game against in-state rivals North Carolina State. NC State will enter the game at 4-1 after a Saturday win over Duke. Florida State will hit the road to take on Louisville who dropped to 1-4 after a 12-7 loss to Notre Dame in an ugly game that was expected to be a high scoring affair. The final score didn’t come close to the posted total of 62.