Orlando Sentinel

’Noles face uphill climb after disastrous start

- By Matt Murschel

It’s back to the drawing board for Florida State this week as the Seminoles look to rebound from another disappoint­ing loss, this time at Wake Forest.

Turnovers, penalties and sloppy play continued to plague FSU, which fell to 0-3 for the first time since 1976.

“Like I told these guys, 100% of it falls on my shoulders,” coach Mike Norvell said after the loss. “I’ve got to have these guys better prepared to play. I’ve got to have them better prepared to go out there and execute.”

FSU opened on a positive note after defensive back Sidney Williams intercepte­d Sam Hartman’s pass on the fourth play, giving the Seminoles possession at midfield. But tailback Jashaun Corbin fumbled on their second offensive play and Wake Forest converted the miscue into its first touchdown.

It was a trend that would continue to haunt Florida State throughout as the team had six turnovers. The last time an FSU team gave up six turnovers was against Arizona State in the 2019 Sun Bowl.

The 10 total turnovers by the Seminoles are the most by any

Football Bowl Subdivisio­n team.

Quarterbac­k McKenzie Milton struggled in his second start, throwing two intercepti­ons and losing two fumbles, including on the Wake Forest 1-yard line to thwart an FSU scoring opportunit­y in the fourth quarter.

After being penalized 11 times for 114 yards against Jacksonvil­le State a week earlier, FSU was flagged seven times for 65 yards. Several of those penalties occurred at inopportun­e times, including a roughingth­e-kicker penalty on 4thand-7 midway through the first quarter that gave Wake Forest an automatic first down and led to its second score.

There also was an unnecessar­y-roughness penalty on 3rd-and-14 in the second quarter that extended a drive that helped Wake extend its lead to 21-7.

“[I’m] hurting for these guys in the locker room,” Norvell said. “I believe in these guys. I believe in what they can do and I believe in what they can accomplish at the moment.

“We’ve got to continue to focus on ourselves and get to continue to get better at everything that we’re doing.”

FSU returns home to host Louisville on Saturday. The Cardinals (2-1) are coming off a thrilling 42-35 home win over UCF on Friday.

The Seminoles, meanwhile, are looking to avoid an 0-4 start for the first time since 1974.

“I’m gonna work my tail off for them and I’m going to work it off for this program for everything we’re striving to achieve,” Norvell said of mounting criticism. “It’s disappoint­ing when you lose. It’s sickening.

“We are a young team. We’ve got to have a better sense of continuity and consistenc­y in our actions there on game day, but I believe in what we’re doing.”

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