Despite a sluggish beginning, Florida State showcased their resilience and talent by demolishing Southern Miss with a resounding 66-13 victory on Saturday. The game might not have reflected it on the box score, but the Seminoles' faced a challenging start.
Keon Coleman, a transfer from Michigan State, who previously stole the spotlight in the remarkable season-opening win over LSU, took full responsibility for the team's slow start after the game. Addressing the press, Coleman admitted, “We started off kind of slow. I’m going to speak for my receiver room, we started off pretty slow,”
“We left some plays out there on the field to be made. But games like that happen. You’ve just got to keep your head up and just keep chopping away at the game and next time the play comes around try to make it.”
Fortunately, the tides eventually turned in favor of Florida State. They rallied and managed to throw four touchdown passes throughout the contest, each received by a different player.
Coleman emerged as the standout performer in the victory, leading in all three categories with three catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. He expressed that a particular moment acted as a turning point for the entire unit, leading them to triumph. The receivers collectively accumulated an impressive total of 248 yards, with 11 different players contributing to the win.
Surprisingly, Coleman attributed the team's success to another group entirely. He acknowledged, “Eventually we caught fire and just kept on going. But thanks to the run game, the run game started clicking then everybody started going,” Coleman said. “Got a kickoff return, sparked everything up and then we started rolling from there.”
As a result of their commanding victory, Florida State soared to the No. 3 spot in this week's AP Top 25 poll. This achievement marks their highest ranking since the beginning of the 2017 season when they held the same position. It's important to note that the 2017 season commenced with a slow start, as Florida State suffered two consecutive losses and endured defeats in six of their first nine games, ultimately finishing the season outside the rankings.
Prior to this recent ascent, the Seminoles last ranked higher than No. 2 during the 2016 season, where they initially started at No. 4 and gradually climbed to No. 2 before suffering a heavy loss to Louisville, with a score of 63-20.
Florida State's longing to reclaim the coveted No. 1 position in the AP Top 25 dates back to the 2014 season. During that memorable year, they began the season as the top-ranked team and held the No. 1 spot for the first seven weeks, briefly reclaiming it for another two weeks in mid-November.