State roundup: FSU, Florida both rally for wins

by Gary Shelton on September 30, 2018 · 0 comments

in College Sports in Florida

Sunday, 3 a.m.

Quibble, if you must, about what the win was not.

It was not over a great offense, and it was not a roaring victory. It did not signal that the bad times are over. It didn't not mean that school officials will immediately offer Willie Taggart a contract extension.

What it was, however, was a victory over a Power 5 school.

For FSU, today, that was enough.

The Seminoles came back from a two-touchdown deficit Saturday, rallying to beat Louisville 28-24. Quarterback Deondre Francis threw four touchdown passes, including the last one coming on a 58-yard pass to Nyqwan Murray with 1:13 left in the game.

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Louisville was trying to run the clock out with less than two minutes to go, bit safety A.J. Westbrook intercepted a pass thrown by Jawon Pass at the FSU 19. Five players later, Francois connected with Murray for the win.

Louisville had driven from its own 29 to the FSU 21, eating up 4:36 off the clock before the interception.

"We needed this win to continue the progress that we're trying to do with our football program," Taggart said. "This was huge for our team."

Francois threw for 294 yards for the Seminoles, 3-2.

"I think they’re really excited for how they stayed together and fought through." Taggart said. "Our team fought the entire time and found a way to win.

"That’s what we talked about today. Winning is a way of life and it’s how you carry yourself daily and what you do. We didn’t care about the score. All we cared about was winning and whatever it was going to take to win. They believed in it, they stuck to it, and they stuck together."

FSU travels to Miami for a conference game next Saturday.

Florida 13, Mississippi State 6: In his attempt to turn around the fortunes of a football team, new coach Dan Mullen is finding the work easier on the defensive side.

The Gators won their third straight game Saturday, coming from a deficit in the second half to win a 13-6 victory over Mississippi State. A week ago, in a huge win over Tennessee, the Gators scored 24 points on four turnovers. This week, they sacked Mississippi State quarterbacks six times.

“We came in here and found a different way to win a different style of game,” Mullen said. “Last week we won by the big play. This week we won by grinding it out.”

UCF 45, Pitt 14: And here they come again.

The UCF Knights, riding the nation's longest winning streak, clobbered Pitt Saturday afternoon. Quarterback McKenzie Milton threw for 328 yards and four scores as the Knights beat a Power 5 team in Pitt.

"We’re 1-0 this week. The outsiders are going to judge it as they may," UCF coach Josh Heupel said after McKenzie Milton threw for 328 yards and four touchdowns to help the defending American Athletic Conference champions extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 17 games.

"Our football team focuses on the daily task at hand. They are continuing to grow together. They are continuing to buy in to what we’re doing," the coach added. "That’s allowing us to play better in all three phrases. (Pitt) is a football team from one of those other conferences and we handled our business today."

Middle Tennessee 25, FAU 24: This time, it wasn't Oklahoma. It wasn't even Central Florida.

What it was was a defeat to MTSU, who converted a two-point conversion with 38 seconds to play to beat the Owls.  Brent Stockstill passed to Gatlin Casey for the winning conversion after Tavaris Thomas' one-yard touchdown run. On the conversion, Stockstill scrambled to his left, then threw under heavy pressure. Tight end Casey leapt and caught the ball.

FAU led 21-3 in the first half, and 24-10 early in the third quarter before folding.

FIU 55, Arkansas Pine-Bluff 9: Quarterback James Morgan threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Panthers to an easy win. Receiver Maurice Alexander caught five passes for 144 yards.

Running back D'Vonte Price added 110 yards rushing.

FIU gave up an opening field goal, then scored 48 straight points. The panthers are now 3-2 on the season.




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