We Shall Remember: A Final of the 2023 Season

We shall remember that when the clock struck zero in the 2022 Cheez-It Bowl, FSU fans saw their beloved program return to the ten-win echelon of college football. It was the first ten-win season since 2016 and the 25th time the Seminoles had won 10 games or more in their 70-year history. But that game was more than just the hilarious Cheez-It-filled trophy or the insane performance by Jordan Travis and the offense to win that game against Oklahoma. That game signaled to the fanbase that something special was brewing in Tallahassee. FSU was finally not only talking about being among the elite of college football, but it was also starting to show it. This one victory on that faithful night in Orlando, FL, would set the stage for one of the best seasons in FSU’s short but rich history.

We shall remember when faced with the opportunity to leave and head to the NFL to begin their pro careers, Jordan Travis, Trey Benson, Johnny Wilson, Fabien Lovett, and so many more decided that it was worthwhile to return to Florida State and compete for a chance to play for the gold national championship trophy. Those players were among a significant group that chose to return in large part to the culture that Mike Norvell and his staff have created, the expectations of returning FSU to its rightful place among the elites and “blue bloods” of college football, and with the incentive financially provided by FSU’s collective, The Battle’s End.

We shall remember the 2023 Transfer Portal offseason that brought many talented and experienced players like Fentrell Cypress, undiscovered Braden Fiske, Keiondre Jones, Jeremiah Byers, Casey Roddick, Kyle Morlock, Jaheim Bell, and the crown jewel of that portal class, Keon Coleman. FSU was already returning the core of its 10-3 (winners of six straight games to end the 2022 season) team. Adding in that 2023 portal class took this team from a potential run at an ACC Championship to potentially playing in the College Football Playoffs.

We shall remember the feeling Noles fans had as they watched the #8 ranked Seminoles dismantle #5 ranked LSU at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL, to open the 2023 college football season. This came on the heels of LSU’s Head Coach, Brian Kelly, telling a room full of supporters that his team would “beat the heck out of Florida State.” That butt-whooping would mark the second straight season that FSU would beat one of the SEC’s power teams at the beginning of the season. We’ll never forget the birthplace of Keon County as the star receiver introduced himself to the college football world, catching three touchdowns and making LSU defensive backs look like toddlers among men. FSU announced to the world that night that it was coming for the ultimate prize.

We shall remember the Red Bandana game, where Boston College honors Welles Crowther who died a Hero on 9/11, and is a game they are always up for. We won’t forget how more than half the team was saddled with the flu, and even though FSU held a 31-10 lead late in the 3rd qtr. – they needed a face mask penalty to win the game 31-29 and not allow that potential disaster to ruin the special season that was brewing.

We shall remember the seven-game losing streak to the former king of the ACC, Clemson, coming to an end. We won’t forget that FSU became only the third team since 2014 to beat Clemson at home. Since 2014, Clemson was 61-2 before the loss to FSU this season. FSU also broke Clemson’s 25-game ACC home win streak. We will never forget the season-defining play where Kalen DeLoach, coming in like a heat-seeking missile, sacked Cade Klubnik so hard that it jarred the ball loose, and after a few scoop drills, it was DeLoach who returned the fumble for 56 yards to tie the game up.

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We shall remember the darling of the ACC this season, the Duke Blue Devils, who opened the season beating #9 Clemson at home, coming to a sold-out Bobby Bowden Field at Doak S. Campbell Stadium to face Florida State. We won’t forget that Duke had never played in an environment the likes of what it saw that night. We won’t forget the guts of Riley Leonard playing on his injured ankle and leading Duke to a 20-17 half-time lead over the Noles. But we also will not forget how FSU went on a 21-0 run in the 4th qtr. to stump out any hopes of the Blue Devils pulling the massive upset on that night.

We shall remember FSU going to Snuggy Hill in Winston Salem and reminding the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest where their place in the pecking order of college football is, let alone, the ACC. The “fastest growing fanbase in America” saw their football team get taken to the woodshed in their home stadium. At one point in the first half, FSU took over the stadium and you could hear the warchant even without the band over the live TV broadcast. It’s safe to say that Wake Forest won’t have to worry about carrying the weight for the ACC as it continues to leech off of the success of FSU as it has done since the Seminoles joined the ACC in 1992.

We shall remember the incredible performances of Jordan Travis, Ja’khi Douglas, Trey Benson, and Fentrell Cypress II who held the fort down as FSU was missing several key starters, winning at Pitt 24-7. The win secured FSU’s birth in the ACC Championship game for the first time since 2014. We won’t forget Cypress chasing down the wide-open receiver, knocking the ball out, and recovering it in the endzone, preventing Pitt from scoring and making it a two-score game.

We shall remember when ScUM, the University of “We’re back,” the Miami SuckCanes from Moral Gables came to town talking all that ish only to mess around and find out that FSU still owns them, beating “The U” for the 3rd straight time and 10 out of the last 14 since 2010. We won’t forget that the win marked the 10th win of the season, the 26th time in FSU’s 70-year history that it fielded a ten-win team. In comparison, Miami, who has been playing for 87 years, has only fielded 15 teams that have won ten or more games. To pile on, Miami’s last ten-win season came in 2017, and before that, 2003. Miami did not win ten games until 1983, whereas FSU’s first ten-win season came in 1977. We won’t forget all the Miami fans walking out of Doak that night with their long drive back to Dump Beach, FL, clinging to those five national championships won before the iPhone was invented. FSU would secure its 10th undefeated ACC schedule in its 32 years of affiliation with the conference.

We shall remember the 1:48 mark in the 1st qtr. of the North Alabama game for a long time. It would serve as the mile marker in what would become one of the most challenging last six weeks of a college football season in FSU’s history. We won’t forget that in a paycheck game, down 13-0 to a 3-7 team, Jordan Travis took off for a 16-yard run, which ended with a linebacker landing on his ankle and snapping it in a direction it was never supposed to be. We’ll never forget how you could hear a pin drop in Doak that night as 70,000+ of the sold-out crowd watched in absolute horror the star of the team, fan favorite, and heartbeat of Nole Nation go down with a gruesome injury. We also won’t forget the team’s rally to finish the game in dominating fashion, cementing an undefeated season at Doak.

We shall remember FSU walking into The Dump (also known as the Swamp) with its backup quarterback and walking out with a second straight win over the University of Florida. With the victory, FSU has won 9 of the last 13 matchups and 5 of the 7 in the Swamp. The win also secured the sixth undefeated regular season in FSU’s history. UF has never had an undefeated regular season. We won’t forget the 24-3 run FSU went on to shut the rowdy reptiles up in their stadium. We shall remember putting the proverbial “nail in the coffin” on UF’s season by not allowing them to win a sixth game and allowing them to participate in the Bowl season by watching on their couches.

We shall remember an undefeated, unconquerable, undeterred, and undermanned team going to Charlotte, NC, with a 3rd string QB (a true freshman at that) and winning the 2023 ACC Championship in one of the most dominating defensive performances Noles Fans had seen in a long time. We won’t forget Jared Verse literally blocking an offensive lineman into Louisville’s QB, forcing a sack over and over again. We won’t forget Braden Fiske blowing up a solid offensive line with reckless abandon. We won’t soon forget an injured Tatum Bethune on back-to-back plays preventing a touchdown and the game getting out of reach with a PBU (pass breakup) and a critical interception in the endzone. We will remember the elation of reclaiming our rightful place atop the ACC while the world watched.

We shall remember not 24 hours after claiming an ACC championship, watching on TV as 12 people locked in a conference room in Texas, swayed by the four-letter network begging on its knees not to leave out one of its precious SEC teams told the world that winning 13 games, an ACC championship and not losing a game didn’t matter. We will never forget how Kirk Herbstreit, Rece Davis, and most of the ESPN college football talking heads propagated a narrative for weeks that FSU (before Jordan’s injury) did not deserve a playoff spot should it go undefeated. We’ll never forget Ole Boo (CFP Chairman from NC State) telling the world that one player, wait… strength of schedule, wait… game control, wait… player injury was the reason(s) for the committee leaving FSU out of the College Football Invitational. We won’t forget that same committee, in order to put a one-loss SEC team in, put a one-loss Texas team over an undefeated, power-five conference champion. We won’t forget ESPN showing FSU’s reaction and watching everything this team had worked for be treated as worthless by those 12 people in a conference room in Texas.

We shall remember nothing else. No matter how this season ended (and it ended in a dud), no matter what the world says about this team, no matter what that four-letter, corrupt sports network has to say about this team, no matter what Another Crappy Call conference and it’s leeches have to say about FSU, this team shall be remembered for how it made us feel. How it brought absolute joy to the lives of the millions and millions of FSU fans around the world. We will never forget one of the most likable teams in FSU’s history and their unconquered spirit and will-to-win mentality. We won’t forget how our fearless leader, Coach Mike Norvell, and his staff galvanized this team, fanbase, and university and returned FSU to the elite of college football.  

We shall remember the 2023 Florida State Seminoles, 13-0, 9-0 ACC Champions.

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