Spear Review: FSU dominates LSU; turns focus to week 2.

This article is the first in a new weekly series titled “Spear Review” where I’ll combine my top takeaways from the previous week with what I’ll be looking for the following week in one all-encompassing article, so let’s get to it!

The Seminoles made a huge statement on Sunday night when they beat the reigning SEC West champion, and Top 5 ranked, LSU Tigers 45-24. Florida State got off to a slow start but turned things around in the second half and outscored LSU 31-7 with the Tigers’ only points coming in garbage time after FSU pulled their starters.

It was a massive win to start off a season that already had high expectations for this team and only threw fuel on the fire but deservedly so! The Noles will now turn to Southern Miss in their first true home game at Doak. Let’s look at my top 2 takeaways from week 1 and what I’m looking for in week 2.

Size and Style

The thing that immediately jumped out to me in this game is the size and physical development FSU has now. This team is big, and not just in size. They are solid and in great shape too. Late in the fourth quarter, LSU’s defense was gassed and we didn’t see FSU show any signs of being tired even though they didn’t get very deep into the depth chart until late in the game. This really speaks to the job the strength and conditioning staff has done and the work the players have put in.

Florida State looked like they belonged on the field with an SEC team. This also showed up in their style of play. This Florida State team plays fast, physical, and aggressive like what we expect at a place like FSU. We saw on multiple occasions Sunday night where FSU players just plain out bullied LSU and it was fun to watch!

A glimpse of excellence

Florida State certainly did not play its best brand of football in the first half, but it wasn’t all bad. Once the defense settled in we saw them have multiple big-time stops. As excited as we were to see the offense, I was equally impressed by a defense that was able to carry them through the early struggles. Not to mention the offense still put up over 200 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.

However, the Florida State team we saw in the second half showed us a glimpse of a championship-level team. This game was a tale of two halves and if FSU can play like they did in the second half there aren’t many teams out there that they can’t hang with. While the jury is still out on just how good that LSU team actually is, they are far from a bad team like people want you to believe.

FSU beating the reigning SEC West champion 31-0 in the second half (garbage time points aside) was as impressive a performance as you can ask for. FSU put up 31 points and almost 300 yards (293) in one half while only allowing 92 yards and 0 points before pulling the starters.

LSU is one of the best, if not the best, team on the schedule and FSU just beat them by three touchdowns, and will continue to get better as it was only week one.

I know it was just one game, but playoff aspirations just did a cannonball onto the table for FSU. It may sound like an exaggeration after one game, but I cannot overstate how impressive that second half was.

FSU has now scored at least 35 points in 7 consecutive games and it’s very likely that number will reach 9 in the next two weeks. If they can continue to score at that rate and have a defense that comes up big like they did on Sunday night the sky is the limit for this team. Special Teams was also on point Sunday night which was nice to see.

Mike Norvell, who has always been an intense guy, has a new edge to him this year. He looks like he’s out to prove a point and knows he has the team to do it.

In the post-game speech, he told the players that he was “kind of pissed” that it wasn’t worse. He has said before that winning is important, but at a place like FSU it matters what it looks like and I don’t see him letting off the gas against anyone this year.

Combine a laser-focused coaching staff with the weapons on this roster and a humble, nose to the grindstone attitude from this team and that’s championship-level stuff.

What I'm looking for in week 2

As we turn our focus to week two, there are a few things I’ll be looking for even against an opponent in Southern Miss that is heavily outmatched against Florida State.

Play a clean game

The first, and most important thing, I’ll be watching for is simply a clean game by FSU. They should be dominant on the stat sheet in this one, but it would be nice to see the starters come out and look crisp. No team is perfect, but I’d like to see them eliminate the unnecessary penalties, uncharacteristic moments by big-time players, and critical dropped passes.

Teams typically make their biggest improvement between game 1 and game 2, and that’s why you schedule a team like Southern Miss coming off a tough opener. Was it just game one jitters? This is a great opportunity to get the mistakes cleaned up before starting conference play next week.

Set The Tone

We just talked about the work ethic and focus this team has. This will be a good test with FSU playing on a short week, against an inferior opponent, and after being told how good they were all week. I don’t expect them to come out flat at night in Doak, but it will be nice to see them come out hungry and put Southern Miss away quickly.

FSU hammered the worst teams on the schedule last year. A sign of a good program is winning like you’re supposed to even when the spotlight isn’t on you.

In my opinion, that had a lot to do with what happened to Clemson against Duke. They came out flat and thought their talent would be enough to beat a team like Duke. Any time you let an opponent hang around you open yourself up to risk and I’d like to see FSU bring the energy again this week, set the tone, and put the hammer down early and often.

Dive into the depth chart

We didn’t see FSU get very deep into the depth chart against LSU until late in the game and not at all on offense. I think a lot of that had to do with Norvell trying to prove a point against LSU.

However, we didn’t see Kentron Poitier, Caziah Holmes, and Destyn Hill disappeared early in the game. There is a long list of players we are excited about that didn’t see much playing time, if any, in week one. I would imagine FSU gets much deeper into the depth chart this week, so we should see some other players get a chance to show what they can do.

Wrapping up

Florida State is coming off one of its biggest wins for this program in years which moved them into the top 5 in the polls. We saw a performance that was as impressive as any team has had so far this season and now it’s time to back it up even if it’s against Southern Miss.

I can’t wait to be back in Doak which should be rocking at night and with a student section that is already sold out. FSU is currently a 31-point favorite over the Golden Eagles and, unlike previous years where FSU found itself in games it wasn’t supposed to, I expect them to cover the spread in this one. Thanks for reading and Go Noles!

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