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Florida State Seminoles

How one play led to first losing season in decades

FSU football lost six of their games this season by more than 19 points, but it was the one point loss that came down to just a single play.

In all my time of playing and watching football, I have been the first person to make the point that one play does not make and break a game. If a combination of anything else taking place goes differently, that one play will not matter – whether we’re talking about pee wee, high school, FSU football or even the pro game.

I really did used to think that way for the longest time – until October 6th of this past football season inside a packed stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida as the Seminoles were barely holding on to a one possession lead over the hated rival Miami Hurricanes looking to extend their South Florida win streak to 14 years.

Now, an argument can be made that before this moment – FSU football leading 27-21 with just over 14 minutes left to go in the game – the Seminoles had two other plays (a sack and fumble of Deondre Francois and an interception on the next drive) that resulted in Miami touchdowns to allow it to get that close.

However, it was a play in the final frame that destroyed my one play theory. With the Noles having the ball on second and seven from the 45 yard line, Francois threw a lateral pass to D.J. Matthews – who found Keith Gavin for a wide open touchdown that put the Seminoles up two scores and more than likely crushed any Canes momentum.

Only it wasn’t a touchdown as the pass was ruled to be a forward throw despite replay images that over and over again showed the ACC officiating crew got the call wrong (imagine our surprise).

Instead of FSU football getting another win on the road over Miami as well as their first win since 2016 over a ranked team to move to 4-2 on the season heading into the bye week, the Seminoles fell to 3-3 and experienced the letdown of a game this season slipping through their paws.

Don’t think one play makes a difference? Imagine if, after a victory over Wake Forest following the bye week, the Seminoles go into the Clemson game with a 5-2 record and the confidence of a four game win streak heading into the toughest part of the season knowing they need just one win to become bowl eligible.

I’m not saying for a second that we would have beaten the Tigers or even Notre Dame since those teams were a cut above everyone else this season – but the momentum of a win likely means possibly two wins in those final five games to finish the season with six or seven victories and heading to a bowl game with at least one rivalry win under their belt.

Next: Willie Taggart should not be on hot seat after losing season

For all we know, the Hurricanes still may have found a way to score two touchdowns and win the game anyway – but the fact we never got to see what would have happened because of yet another bad call from ACC refs does indeed show what one play means.

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