With the bye week now in the rear-view mirror, Florida State looks ahead to the second half of its season.
The Seminoles (3-3, 1-3 in ACC) play four currently-ranked teams in their final six games and need to win three of them to keep their streak of 36 straight bowl appearances alive.
Before that, though, it’s time for one final look back at the first half of FSU’s season.
What were the strengths of FSU’s 3-3 start? Who were the best offensive and defensive players? Most improved? Most surprising?
Let’s give out some midseason awards.
Top Offensive Player
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Tamorrion Terry
While much of the offense has struggled to live up the hype it had entering the season, Terry has been as advertised.
His lethal combination of size and speed has made him a big-play threat every time he’s on the field.
So far this season, Terry has touchdown catches of 78, 55 and 27 yards.
His 21.92 yards per catch is seventh-best among FBS receivers and he has five receiving touchdowns while the rest of the roster has six combined.
He’s scored touchdowns in four games while no other FSU player has scored in more than two.
Terry has been a touchdown machine this season and has a chance and the skillset to etch his name in the FSU record books if he’s able to continue his development.
Top Defensive Player
Junior defensive end Brian Burns
A number of members of the FSU defense have risen to the occasion this year, but one stands out above the others.
Burns has been nearly unblockable coming off the edge this season.
Through six games, he is tied for seventh among all FBS players with seven sacks. All but two of the six players above him have played in one or two more games than he has.
All seven of those sacks have come against FSU’s four Power-Five opponents so far this season, the most against Power-Five teams in the nation before this weekend’s games.
Adding 2.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups, two quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles, Burns has done a little bit of everything as the anchor of the FSU defense so far this season.
Sophomore defensive tackle Marvin Wilson
It felt like it was only a matter of time before Wilson developed into the dominant defensive tackle he was projected to be as a former five-star recruit.
As it turns out, that happened this season.
Taking advantage of more playing time with the departure of Derrick Nnadi and a brief injury to Demarcus Christmas, Wilson has been a force on the interior.
He missed most of spring practice and some of fall camp after suffering a knee injury, but transformed his body and has grown with each passing week as his playing time has increased.
In six games, Wilson has made 20 tackles, second-most among FSU defensive linemen behind only Burns. He’s also had 3.5 sacks, four tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a forced fumble.
Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Cory Durden
When he signed alongside Wilson and his cousin Ja’Len Parks in 2017, Durden was looked at as a project.
After redshirting last season, he showed early this season that he was ready for action and has been a surprisingly competent contributor on the defensive line for the Seminoles.
He’s been used sparingly with two seniors and Wilson ahead of him on the depth chart, but he’s emerged as the likely starter alongside Wilson next season with his impact in limited use.
Through six games, Durden has two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss, along with a quarterback hurry and a pass breakup.
With one sack each coming against Virginia Tech and Louisville, he hasn’t just been doing it against overmatched competition.
58-yard touchdown pass from Deondre Francois to Nyqwan Murray vs. Louisville
If FSU gets bowl eligible by season’s end, this is the moment to look back at that made it possible.
The Seminoles trailed for nearly the entire game against UL and were afforded one final chance to win after an ill-advised pass attempt was intercepted by A.J. Westbrook.
On third down and six with 1:25 left, Francois found Murray on a short slant pattern. He stayed up through two tackle attempts and did the rest himself, outrunning the UL defense — with a huge blocking assist from Terry — for a 58-yard touchdown that gave FSU the improbable win.
It was a big play from a veteran wide receiver in a big moment. If that’s Murray’s lasting legacy at FSU, it’s not a bad one.
Monkey off his back
Junior wide receiver Keith Gavin
It took 24 games and over 500 career receiving yards, but Gavin finally found the end zone.
That’s not to take away from his ability. He’s noticeably improved as a receiving target this season and already has more receiving yards (291) than he had in 2017 (289).
Still, he just couldn’t seem to get that elusive first touchdown.
A 17-yard touchdown catch to open the scoring against Miami changed that.
He caught what seemed to be his second career touchdown later in the game on a wide receiver pass from D.J Matthews but it was called back on the now infamous illegal forward pass penalty.
Still, that one touchdown and the second that looked to be as well could be just what Gavin needed.
With one now finally in the books, will the dam break for Gavin? If so, it could take the FSU offense to the next level.
Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Brady Scott
Scott wasn’t recruited to play offensive tackle.
He was always looked to as a future center for the Seminoles.
Thrust into an unlikely spot on the outside of the offensive line this season, Scott has risen to the occasion.
He’s hardly been perfect — the same can be said for the entire offensive line — but Scott has outperformed two players who were recruited to play tackle in Abdul Bello and Jauan Williams.
That success has led to more playing time for the former three-star recruit who is already making his mark at FSU.