Kelly: On lessons, dreams and FSU’s 2-0 start

Florida State players participate in FSU's traditional "ankle walk" at the end of pregame...
Florida State players participate in FSU's traditional "ankle walk" at the end of pregame warmups in New Orleans(Ryan Kelly | WCTV)
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 12:21 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The sighs of relief.

Or as Shyheim Brown blocked a potential game tying PAT against the LSU Tigers... The screams of relief.

Florida State weathered the storm and arguably the craziest final two minutes of any game in this newborn college football season to emerge victorious.  The stage wasn’t too big, the lights not too bright and the crowd (the ones in purple and gold anyway) not too loud.

Yes the Seminoles are 2-0 for the first time in six seasons. The good feelings and the good times rolling after a classic in the Big Easy of New Orleans, and yet all this amongst a game that mistakes and miscues made a nail biter, something the ‘Noles know all too well.

“I just thought about everything we’ve been through as a football team, It’s really special.” said quarterback Jordan Travis as FSU snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. “The game shouldn’t have been that close from the jump but a win is a win.”

“We made a lot of mistakes. The game shouldn’t have been that close,” remarked defensive end Jared Verse. “From my point of view we made a lot of mistakes, they made a lot of big plays late in the game.”

Yet there’s victory in the mistakes.  Something perfectly juxtaposed against a Sunday night showdown against Brian Kelly one year ago, except this time against Notre Dame.

Florida State fought its heart out and punched above its weight class but after 60 minutes and some change, the mistakes and the weakness were just too much to overcome.  The Irish simply better.

But on Sunday in the superdome the other side of the coin was true.  FSU put itself in positions to fail and didn’t. 

The ‘Noles were simply better. 

It doesn’t give the issues a pass but it does give a solace because learning from wins is a whole lot more fun than learning from soul crushing defeat.

“I would have liked to have finished that game a lot cleaner than what we did,” said a happy yet not content Mike Norvell. “But as I’ve said before sometimes you need to go through what you need to prove you can get through and even in that moment it came down to one play and our guys rose to the occasion.”

Make no mistake, Sunday night is not necessarily a referendum on the season to come in Tallahassee.  After all, one year ago the Garnet and Gold followed up a valiant underdog effort with one of the darkest hours in the program’s illustrious history, an upset loss to Jacksonville State at Doak Campbell Stadium.

But on Monday night as Clemson struggled with Georgia Tech until late, Louisville licked its wounds from a Syracuse blowout and NC State found itself lucky to be 1-0, there’s a great chance at least once you let your mind wander not to what’s probable but to what’s possible.  Not “what now?” but “what’s next?”  Mike Norvell’s program finally gets to ask not “how low it can go?” but “how high can it climb?”

The Seminoles have played two weeks of football and for the first time in a longtime under Jimbo Fisher, under Willie Taggart or under Norvell, the season is ahead of them and not over before it started. 

Football is fun again off Stadium Drive and right now, that’s the biggest win this program could have.