What an odd football game in New Orleans, Louisiana, in what was considered a neutral site contest between Florida State and LSU. Truth be told, LSU looked terrible in today's game. Florida State looked much improved through 56 minutes. Then the most chaotic four minutes I have seen in a game in a while ensued, only further boosted by the incompetence of your friendly neighborhood Big 12 officiating crew.
Florida State has something to build upon
When Jimbo left for Texas A&M, he burned everything down on his way out. The culture in Tallahassee was shot, and it appeared like everyone played for the name on the back and did not care much for the name on the front. They were completely and totally undisciplined, and the results on the field showed that. Then, they turned around and made a hire that felt doomed from the start in Willie Taggart. He was not the man to change the direction of the culture, and things continued to trend down the toilet, and the issues only seemed to get worse and worse.
In comes, Mike Norvell, inheriting a trickier job than most understand. FSU is not a money-generating machine, and what he inherited from a roster and culture standpoint was horrifying, and to make things worse, Covid-19. In 2021, the Noles looked a little improved; a fluke play against an FCS team prevented a bowl berth, and that was tough, but things so far in 2022 are not perfect, but 2-0 is 2-0. Florida State dominated this football game for 56 minutes. They were the more athletic team, better-coached team, and played with better energy.
The Noles can build off this; Jordan Travis's performance was unlike what we had seen in the past. He looked calm and collected and made plenty of plays through the air and on the ground. He was strong under pressure, and while there was some efficiency and mistakes by the coaching staff, FSU was 11 of 17 on third down and made plenty of key plays.
On defense, the line looks good again, and transfer Jared Verse, an FCS All-American last year, looked strong. He was the worst nightmare for much of the game for LSU QB Jayden Daniels.
Wild finish and controversy
LSU scored with just under five minutes to play, making the score 24-17 for Florida State. The Noles got stopped and punted, but LSU would muff the punt for the second time in the evening, and FSU would recover inside the LSU red zone. Florida State would get inside the three-yard line when a pitch play was suddenly called. We all know where this is going, and to think this could happen blows my mind; the pitch was misplaced, the ball went onto the ground, and LSU recovered at their one-yard line with just over two minutes left on the game clock. LSU had not moved the ball well to that point, netting under 250 yards on the day. Jayden Daniels, who played pretty poorly from a passing perspective all evening, suddenly began to lead the Tigers down the field—eventually, getting into FSU territory.
Then enter the worst officials in the country, the Big 12 officials entered the chaotic fray. LSU got a first down on a pass play with no timeouts remaining. Daniels hit Mason Taylor for a 17-yard gain down to the FSU 2-yard line. His leg came down inbounds, clearly and by about three or four yards of space. This was an easy call to get in real-time; there was only one second remaining on the clock. What should have happened was that LSU would need to rush to the line of scrimmage and get the snap off before one second expired as the chains were reset, which is well unlikely. Instead, he was ruled out of bounds, and Florida State had to challenge. According to the rules, this would mean that the officials would need to signal ready to play for the clock to start. Meaning, that once the ball was set, the signal for play would start, and LSU would need to snap the ball within one second successfully. Instead, the Big 12 officials declared '"LSU will have time for one play." FSU subsequently called a timeout; Daniels hit Jaray Jenkins for the would-be tying score.
Ball Don't Lie
While it is hard to say Florida State "deserved" to win the game, based upon the mistakes and not putting LSU away when there were plenty of opportunities previously. Pitching the ball at the one-yard line is the main culprit. Florida State would take karma into their own hands, and block the game-tying extra point.
Florida State wins.