12/02 23:53 CST No. 4 Florida State beats No. 15 Louisville 16-6 for ACC title,
but could miss playoff at 13-0
No. 4 Florida State beats No. 15 Louisville 16-6 for ACC title, but could miss
playoff at 13-0
By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) --- Florida State made things as difficult as possible on
the College Football Playoff selection committee, using a dominant defensive
performance to beat No. 15 Louisville 16-6 on Saturday night for the
fourth-ranked Seminoles' first Atlantic Coast Conference championship since
The Seminoles moved to 13-0, but even that doesn't guarantee a spot in the
four-team playoff after Alabama knocked off No. 1 Georgia for the Southeastern
Conference championship and Texas, which beat Alabama this season, won the Big
No Power Five team has ever gone unbeaten, won its conference title and failed
to make the playoff.
Seminoles fans held up signs reading "Win and we're in!" But Florida State's
offensive performance and unsettled quarterback situation created some doubt
about whether it's one of the four best teams in the country.
Coach Mike Norvell said there's no question that his team, which started
freshman third-stringer Brock Glenn at quarterback, deserves a chance to play
for a national title.
"We just beat a top 15 team with a true freshman quarterback," Norvell said. "I
don't care what people think. We win. We win. And if we get the opportunity to
go play in the national semifinal it's going to be a challenge, but I believe
in this team, I believe in what they can do and I believe in who they are."
Norvell then pounded his fist on a table, saying, "You know what, they have
showed up every single week and done it. So I don't really care what everybody
else's opinions are. I know who I coach and I know they are going to go fight
for everything they get. Whatever the next opportunity is, I promise you
they're going to show up."
Lawrance Toafili ran for 118 yards and a touchdown for the Seminoles, who stuck
to a conservative game plan with Glenn behind center. He finished 8 of 21 for
Starting QB and Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Travis is out for the season
with a leg injury. Tate Rodemaker, Travis' backup, was sidelined with a
The difference for the Seminoles was their defense, which had a season-high
seven sacks and a critical interception that kept Louisville out of the end
Trailing 10-6 in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals (10-3) had a chance to take
the lead after they tackled Seminoles punter Alex Mastromanno before he could
get the kick away.
Louisville took over at the Seminoles 11, but three plays later, Tatum Bethune
picked off Jack Plummer's pass in the end zone.
After a 33-yard field goal by Ryan Fitzgerald put Florida State ahead 13-6 with
3:11 left, the Cardinals had one more shot.
But Braden Fiske sacked Plummer on a fourth down, giving the Seminoles the ball
at the Louisville 20 with 2:35 remaining. Fitzgerald made it a two-possession
game with his third field goal of the game from 40 yards.
Plummer finished 14 of 36 for 111 yards.
"We just couldn't convert," Louisville coach Jeff Brohm said. "We chances to
convert and we were not able to make those plays. Guys have to understand you
have to make contested plays. ... We were not able to make those. And after
that we really started to stink it up on offense in the fourth quarter."
The game was tied 3-3 in the third quarter when the Seminoles finally took the
ball out of Glenn's hands, going to the wildcat formation with Toafili in the
backfield. Toafili received the direct snap from center and raced around right
end for a 73-yard gain and then scored from 2 yards out on the next play, from
the same formation.
Toafili was named MVP of the game.
Florida State's defense had 14 tackles for loss and 10 pass breakups.
"They have been remarkable all year long and continue to get better," Norvell
said. "We knew it was going to take a team effort and those guys were
GAMESMANSHIP AT PLAY
Rodemaker went through pregame warmups for the Seminoles and even put on his
game jersey, making it look as though he might play. But just before kickoff,
he removed his pads, signaling that Glenn would be FSU's QB.
Get alerts on the latest AP Top 25 poll throughout the season. Sign up here.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and