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FINAL: Seminoles 13 - Georgia Tech 16

Doak Campbell III says his grandfather brought football to FSU and his legacy should not come under attack.
Doak Campbell III says his grandfather brought football to FSU and his legacy should not come under attack.(WCTV)
Published: Sep. 12, 2020 at 2:45 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Well, we’ve finally made it: For the first time in 2020, and under head coach Mike Norvell, Florida State is set to take the football field and play a game.

The Seminoles open the abbreviated, re-worked, somehow-still-happening campaign against Georgia Tech in the two squad’s fourth meeting since 2012 and the first at Doak Campbell Stadium since 2009.

While there are certainly a lot of questions surrounding this year’s Seminole team, arguably the biggest is who is going to replace Cam Akers in the backfield? With the departure of him and Khalan Laborn, FSU enters 2020 missing 74% of last year’s rushing yards and 75% of last year’s rushing touchdowns.

Maybe we’ll get an answer tonight.

James Blackman regains the reins as starting quarterback (and hopefully it won’t be a revolving door this year) and I’m interested in how the FSU offense works with 1.) a (hopefully) stable QB situation and 2.) under Norvell.

I’m well aware, as I hope and am sure you are too, that every question we have for this season won’t get answered, but I do think we’ll know a lot once the clock hits zero at Doak today.

All of that is to say, welcome back to our live blogs! If you’re one of the lucky 20,000 or so who are at Doak or if you’re unable to attend this week due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I appreciate you joining me all the same. Don’t forget, for instant reaction/analysis/thoughts, you can follow myself on Twitter and for as-they-happen scoring updates, you can follow WCTV Sports.

Below will be a running log of the game, as in years past: We’ll have score updates, analysis, stray observations and thoughts. It will be fun.

So, for the first time this year, lets pretend like everything is normal and enjoy some football.

FINAL: GEORGIA TECH 16 - FLORIDA STATE 13

And just like that, the first game of the season is in the books, and the Seminoles have lost four straight season openers.

It was a game that had a lot of similar elements to it that we saw last year, but there were some positives. More on that in a bit.

For our full recap, click here. I’m trying something new with our gamers this year, so if you like it - or have any other comments regarding how we can improve our coverage - please don’t hesitate to tell me.

I’ll leave you tonight with some final thoughts:

  • Blackman looked good. Mostly. He finished with a 53.4% completion percentage, but several of those were balls that could have, should have, been caught.
  • This year will be running back by committee, it seems: Webb is the power, more traditional back while Corbin is your passing back. I look forward to seeing that tandem more this year.
  • I nominate the most disappointing performance today to Tamorrion Terry: Just 52 yards on five catches.
  • Special teams matters, folks. On one hand, Tech could have - should have - won by more, what with their two missed field goals and a missed extra point. But, don’t forget, the Noles missed a field goal as time expired. We could be in overtime right now.
  • FSU was definitely more disciplined than we have seen over the last couple of seasons: Just seven penalties for 50 yards.
  • Blackman had time in the pocket, which is something you can’t say has been the case as his tenure as starting QB. He didn’t always like what he saw in coverage down field, but he had time to make those decisions (at least at the beginning of the game - the Tech front wore down the Noles' front, plus injuries didn’t help).

The Norvell era is off to an 0-1 start. We’ll see how this team responds against Miami next week.

4th Quarter, 3:50, 16-13 Georgia Tech

The Noles move with ease into Tech territory, thanks in part to three straight solid runs from Jordan Travis as QB, but stall out past midfield and on fourth down, Blackman gets taken down and loses the football.

Time is running out for a Noles victory tonight.

4th Quarter, 8:56, 16-13 Georgia Tech

For the first time today, Georgia Tech has the lead.

The Yellow Jackets went three-and-out following the strip sack of Blackman, but Jude Kelley hits his first field goal of the day - a huge weight off his shoulders, no doubt - to put the visitors ahead for the first time.

4th Quarter, 10:46, 13-13

Blackman doesn’t see the pressure on the blindside, gets stripped by Curtis Ryans and David Curry returns it to the FSU 11.

The play just so happened to happen after the Noles' starting right tackle left the game: Tech brought pressure against the backup and succeeded.

4th Quarter, 13:17, 13-13

Folks, we are tied. And that’s, quite literally, the best-case scenario.

A beautiful ball from Sims to Malachi Carter from 15-yards out ties the game but the Noles defensive front comes up big in the kicking game again, blocking their third kick of the game.

END OF THIRD QUARTER: FLORIDA STATE 13 - GEORGIA TECH 7

A bit of a lackluster quarter as we enter the final frame of the day.

3rd Quarter, 1:17, 13-7 FSU

The Seminoles hold the ball for 5:03 and run 15 plays, but are only able to go 35 yards. Fortunately, it’s within range for Parker Grothaus, who hits a 53-yard field goal to extend the Noles lead, now at 13-7.

3rd Quarter, 6:13, 10-7 FSU

There goes the shut out and, just like that, Tech is within striking distance (although it’s kind of always felt like they’ve been in it). The Jackets go 80 yards on 14 plays and Jordan Mason caps the drive off with a 19-yard touchdown rush.

Mason isn’t finding a ton of success with the ball, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry (11 rushes for 42 yards) and had three rushes on that drive.

Sims wasn’t perfect on the scoring drive but was effective, completing three of his five pass attempts for 32 yards.

HALFTIME: FLORIDA STATE 10 - GEORGIA TECH 0

Not a lot to speak about in the final five or so minutes of the half as the Noles missed a 46-yard field goal as time expired.

Two quarters are in the books and it’s a 10-point halftime lead.

2nd Quarter, 4:35, 10-0 FSU

No, you weren’t watching replay: Georgia Tech missed another field goal attempt, this one from 38-yards, and Blackman’s first interception of the year doesn’t come back to haunt.

Marvin Wilson logs his second blocked FG of the afternoon.

2nd Quarter, 6:35, 10-0 FSU

Back-to-back less-than-ideal drives for the Noles, only this one is the most less ideal (that makes sense, right?) after Blackman forces a throw and it gets picked off by Quez Jackson.

That’s the second time today we’ve seen Blackman have time in the pocket ot make a throw but decide he didn’t like any of his options; the first time we saw it, he turned it to a positive play with his legs. This time, it was an interception.

2nd Quarter, 9:33, 10-0 FSU

Can’t blame that one on a penalty.

Tech was, once again, moving the ball well and logged a couple of big plays, most notably a Sims pass to Mason for 18 yards, and got as close as the redzone before Sims underthrew a ball to the far side and darn-near right into the hands of Asante Samuel for his second pick of the game.

Noles will start with great field position after another nice return by Samuel, who took it to the FSU 47.

2nd Quarter, 12:08, 10-0 FSU

Stop me if you’ve heard this today: A penalty derailed a good Tech drive and they come away with no points.

Although this one is a little harder to stomach for the visitors: Tech was set up at the FSU five yardline, after a 45-yard pitch and catch from Sims to Marquez Ezzard, but a 15-yard hands-to-the-face penalty stalls out the drive and Marvin Wilson blocks a 22-yard field goal attempt to preserve the shutout early in the second quarter.

END OF THE FIRST QUARTER: FLORIDA STATE 10 - GEORGIA TECH 0

A game that was scheduled to kick off at 3:30 p.m ends the first quarter at 5:59 p.m.

2020, am I right?

1st Quarter, 6:36, 10-0 FSU

FSU appeared to be on their way to the endzone again, but a review on what appeared to be first-down catch from Warren Thompson turns into an incompletion on third down, and FSU settles for a 36-yard field goal.

It was a scoring drive carried by the legs of Blackman, who scampered for runs of seven and 16 yards, and the legs of Jashaun Corbin, who caught screens of five and 17 yards, both for first downs.

1st Quarter, 6:48, 7-0 FSU

It was another fast start to the drive for Tech, who had passing plays of seven and 23-yards, respectively, was quickly de-railed following a false start (I’m having terrible flashbacks).

Noles ball at their own 20.

1st Quarter, 8:05, 7-0 FSU - We Back

Play has resumed!

In case you’ve forgotten where we are - FSU just scored a touchdown, on a three-yard touchdown pass from James Blackman to Keyshawn Helton.

Noles are set to kick the ball off Georgia Tech for the Jackets' second possession of the day.

1st Quarter, 8:05, 7-0 FSU - Weather Delay Update

Sounds like 5:35 p.m. is the target return to play time.

1st Quarter, 8:05, 7-0 FSU

The Noles have turned Samuels interception into points, as a seven-play, 52-yard drive is capped with a three-yard touchdown play from Blackman to Keyshawn Helton.

Blackman was a perfect 3-3 on the drive for 34 yards. La’Damian Webb saw three carries for 15 yards, and Camren McDonald was the workhorse, getting two catches for 31 yards on the drive.

The game, however, has re-entered a lightning delay.

1st Quarter, 10:12, 0-0

It was a promising start to begin the game for the Yellow Jackets: Jeff Simms completed his first three passes for 28 yards and appeared to find Jordan Mason for a pick up of 22 yards, which would have set up GT inside of the redzone, but a penalty negated the play and, following a GT timeout, Asante Samuel picked Sims off just before the FSU 10 and returned it to midfield.

Coin Toss

Noles win the coin toss and GT will receive the football.

It’s almost game time, my friends.

Pregame

Well, as if we weren’t already anticipating kickoff enough, sounds like we’ll have to wait just a tad longer as rain in Tallahassee has forced a brief weather delay.

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