Breaking down five biggest plays in FSU's upset victory
{{ timeAgo('2020-10-18 13:11:41 -0500') }} football Edit

The 5 plays that paved way for FSU Football's upset of No. 5 Tar Heels

The Florida State Seminoles were almost a two-touchdown underdog on Saturday night vs. No. 5 North Carolina.

They hadn't beaten a Top 5 opponent in six years. In fact, they were 0-9 against such teams since beating Notre Dame in 2014, with an average margin of defeat of 21.7 points.

They were also missing their best offensive player in Tamorrion Terry.

And yet somehow, some way the Seminoles knocked off the No. 5 Tar Heels on Saturday night for the first FBS win of the Mike Norvell Era.

Here's a look back at five of the biggest plays of the game.

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FSU coach Mike Norvell celebrates with defensive back Jarvins Brownlee after Saturday's win.
FSU coach Mike Norvell celebrates with defensive back Jarvins Brownlee after Saturday's win. (Don Juan Moore/Character Lines)

No. 1 — The first punt block

Norvell has preached since arriving how important special teams were going to be in his program. It was going to the backbone of the entire team. On Saturday night, after the Seminoles forced a punt on the first North Carolina possession, he indeed got a special play from that unit. And it set the tone for the entire game.

Florida State freshman receiver Ja'Khi Douglas broke through to block the Tar Heels' punt, DeCalon Brooks picked it up and returned it 23 yards to the UNC 23. Exactly one play later, Jordan Travis was in the end zone. And Florida State had a quick 7-0 lead.

If the Tar Heels were expecting an easy time of it in Tallahassee — and who could have blamed them with the way the Seminoles had played Top 5 teams in recent years — they were slapped into reality after that two-play sequence.

"We knew we were going to be aggressive on our punt pressure unit," Norvell said. "I thought Coach J.P. (John Papuchis) put together a great plan and our kids believed in it. We knew that there was going to be an opportunity to change the game within that unit, and we did."

Later on in the first half, Marvin Wilson partially blocked another punt — his third blocked kick of the season and the fifth for the Seminoles overall.

No. 2 The scramble-drill pass to Helton

Jordan Travis had already hit on a couple of big plays during the previous drive: A terrifically designed pass over the middle to walk-on tight end Preston Daniel to get the Seminoles off the goal line and then a great throw to Ontaria Wilson for a 58-yard gain.


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