Florida State holds off North Carolina for Mike Norvell’s first signature win with Noles

Mike Norvell faced the heat from the Florida State faithful, but now he’s won them over with their dominant performance against an AP Top Five team.

In his first week on the job, Mike Norvell appeared to be just another hyped-up head coach that wouldn’t be able to bring the Florida State Seminoles back to its former glory. The once-mighty college football program lost to Georgia Tech of all teams in their regular-season opener. Seminoles fans were calling for Norvell’s following that game and the weeks that followed. While fans have the tendency to jump the gun, sometimes patience pays off. That’s exactly what happened on Saturday.

Florida State managed to pull off a massive 31-28 upset at the expense of the fifth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels, despite surrendering 558 total yards off offense, for Norvell’s first signature win in Tallahassee.

Norvell offers hope for Florida State

The Seminoles have never been the same ever since Jimbo Fisher drove away from the program in 2017 to take a massive contract offer from Texas A&M, after finishing the year with a 5-6 record. In response to the shocking news, Florida State opted to hire Willie Taggart, formerly of the Oregon Ducks, to replace Fisher. That decision proved to be an unmitigated disaster. Taggart lasted two years, as he was fired by the university following a 9-12 record.

Enter Norvell, who had four years of success with the Memphis Tigers. But his tenure in Florida got off to a shaky start. A week after the Georgia Tech loss, Norvell tested positive for COVID-19, which sidelined him for Florida State’s 52-10 blowout defeat to rival Miami. Norvell returned the following week and earned his first win with Florida State. The bad thing was, the team had to work hard to defeat Jacksonville State.

But Norvell made a crucial decision that really changed their luck around, and that’s starting Jordan Travis over James Blackman against Notre Dame. Even though they lost, the offense really began heating up with Travis at the helm. Travis managed to drop 204 yards and one touchdown through the air while taking 19 carries for 114 yards and one score against Notre Dame. Florida State’s offense again continued to shine with Travis, as he managed to complete 8-of-19 pass attempts for 191 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.

Revitalizing a program like Florida State was always going to be a process. It won’t always be pretty, but you’ll see some results along the way. Norvell saw a very desirable result, a win over a top-5 team.

Next: Best college football players of all time from every state

For more NCAA football news, analysis, opinion and unique coverage by FanSided, including Heisman Trophy and College Football Playoff rankings, be sure to bookmark these pages.