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FSU falls to Jacksonville State on last play of the game

FSU fell to Jacksonville State Saturday on a 59-yard touchdown as time expired
FSU fell to Jacksonville State Saturday on a 59-yard touchdown as time expired(247Noles)
Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 12:09 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida State fell to Jacksonville State, 20-17, Saturday night at Doak Campbell Stadium, as the Gamecocks scored on a 59-yard Hail Mary on the last play of the game. The Seminoles fall to 0-2 and lose their first-ever game against an FCS opponent. They were previously 26-0 before Saturday.

The Seminoles started off slowly with their first four drives resulting in a turnover on downs and three consecutive punts. Jacksonville State took a 7-0 lead with just over three minutes left in the first quarter by piecing together a 15-play, 79-yard scoring drive capped off by a two-yard rushing touchdown by Josh Samuel.

The momentum shifted midway through the second quarter when FSU defensive end Derrick McLendon forced a fumble deep into Seminoles’ territory. Sidney Williams, starting in place of the injured Brendan Gant, recovered the ball and returned it 27 yards to the FSU 47. FSU responded with a five-play, 53-yard touchdown drive, capped off by a 12-yard touchdown run by Jashaun Corbin to tie the game at 7.

Two drives later, Florida State went on a six-play, 45-yard touchdown drive to take a 14-7 lead going into halftime. The touchdown was set up by a 27-yard carry from Corbin to give the Seminoles first-and-goal. On third-and-goal, McKenzie Milton, who made his first career start at quarterback since Nov. 23, 2018, rolled right and found tight end Wyatt Rector for a two-yard touchdown. It was Rector’s second-career touchdown on as many touches in his career.

Ryan Fitzgerald connected on a 53-yard field goal late in the third quarter to give FSU a 17-7 lead. The make was a career-long for him and a nice bounce back after missing a potential go-ahead 37-yard kick in overtime last week.

Florida State had an opportunity to extend its lead early in the fourth quarter, as it put together a nice 14-play, 89-yard drive deep into JSU territory. However, on first-and-goal from the 9, a false start penalty moved the Seminoles back to the 14. The Seminoles had fourth-and-goal from the 3 after an 11-yard completion to Rector, but the drive resulted in a turnover on downs after Malik McClain couldn’t haul in a goal-line fade in the back of the end zone.

JSU responded with an 11-play, 97-yard touchdown drive to cut the lead to just three points. Jarvis Brownlee intercepted JSU quarterback Zerrick Cooper on a 3rd-and-18 pass, but the play was reviewed for targeting on Kalen DeLoach. Targeting was confirmed, which negated the interception and gave JSU a fresh set of downs. Two plays later, the Gamecocks scored on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Cooper to Ahmad Edwards. Cooper broke JSU’s all-time career-passing record in the first quarter, topping Eli Jenkins (7,652 from 2013-16).

The Seminoles had a chance to put the game away with their offense after the touchdown drive, but they punted the ball back to the Gamecocks after just five plays. JSU responded with a 10-play drive, capped off by the miraculous last-second touchdown to win the game.

Milton completed 18-of-31 passes for 133 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Corbin had 109 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, while Treshaun Ward added 45 yards on eight carries.

Jermaine Johnson paced the defense with 11 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

The Seminoles will head to Wake Forest next week to begin ACC play. DeLoach will miss the first half because of the targeting penalty.

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