The loss dropped Florida State to 4-5, and it has to win two games against Boston College, Alabama State and Florida just to get to bowl eligibility. That’s one season removed from failing to qualify for a bowl for the first time since 1981.
After the loss, there are sure to be more questions about whether being bowl-eligible will be enough for coach Willie Taggart to make it to Year 3. Taggart is 9-12 since arriving last season at a program that expects to win championships.
“At the end of the day, it all comes down to winning,” Taggart said. “We’ve got to find a way to win. We know what we’ve got going on inside. Our guys are fighting. I don’t think you’re going to please anyone until you win ball games. That’s my job. We’ve got to find a way to get this program back to where it belongs. We’ll work our tails off to do that. We’ve got three ball games left, and I don’t think there’s any quit on anybody in there. Everybody’s going to be committed to those three ball games.”
Florida State has now dropped three straight to rival Miami, but this was the least competitive among those games. The Seminoles looked out of sorts from the start, and issues they thought they’d fixed with pre-snap penalties and along the offensive line came back in a major way.
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Florida State finished with 10 penalties, 203 total yards of offense — its fewest at home since 2006 — and allowed nine sacks.
“It’s unacceptable,” Taggart said. “Getting not enough guys on the line of scrimmage, those things hadn’t happened to us for a while. It was pre-snap penalties, jumping offsides, things we address every day in practice. You can’t do it. That put us in a hole in the first half, and we found ourselves in a lot of long-yardage situations. We didn’t play with a lot of poise and confidence especially early, and it cost us.”
Meanwhile, the Florida State defensive line failed to put much pressure on Miami quarterback Jarren Williams, who threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns. Now the Seminoles are back to searching for answers in a season that is going to come down to what happens in these final three games.
“It’s a step back whenever you lose. I wouldn’t say it’s a significant step back,” Taggart said. “The way you go forward, you go out and win ball games. We get a ball game next week up at BC and we got to go win. That’s how we continue to move forward, go out and find a way to win. We got to, as coaches, make sure we got guys in the right position to make plays, and our players got to go out and execute the plays when we call them.”
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