The Daily Nole

Seminole Saturday Summary: FSU Football Drops Heartbreaker at Virginia

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Another nail-biter, another heartbreaking loss for Florida State.

The Seminoles let another fourth-quarter lead slip away on Saturday in a heartbreaking 31-24 loss to Virginia. The Cavaliers scored touchdowns on each of their three possessions in the final quarter.

Virginia tied the game early in the period on a touchdown pass from Bryce Perkins to Joe Reed. FSU was able to retake the lead on a touchdown pass from James Blackman to Keyshawn Helton on its next possession.

The Cavaliers then answered with touchdowns from Wayne Taulapapa within a 3:28 span. FSU marched inside the Virginia 10-yard-line on the final drive, but running back Cam Akers was stopped well short of the goal line of the last play from scrimmage.

Wayne Taulapapa finished the night with three rushing touchdowns. Blackman passed for three scores for FSU in the loss. Perkins passed for 295 yards and a score for Virginia, but was intercepted by Asante Samuel Jr. and Levonta Taylor.


Earlier in the week, it was reported that Jim Leavitt would join the FSU coaching staff as an analyst.

A former head coach at South Florida, Leavitt was FSU head coach Willie Taggart’s offensive coordinator at Oregon in 2017. Leavitt was the head coach of the Bulls from 1997 to 2009 and compiled a 95-57 record. Since then, Leavitt has served as a linebackers coach for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers and then as a defensive coordinator at Colorado and Oregon.

Leavitt is expected to find ways to help defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett after the early struggles from the Florida State defense. In his last four years as a coordinator, his defenses ranked 87th, 16th, 41st and 61st in total defense. Despite the pedestrian numbers, Leavitt did immediately improves the defenses for the Buffaloes and the Ducks.


Record: 1-2 (0-1 ACC)
Ranking: None
Past Week: (0-1), lost to Virginia, 31-24
Upcoming: vs. Louisville (Saturday)
Recognitions: Cam Akers (ACC Running Back of the Week)
Weekly Commitments: None
2020 Recruiting Class Ranking: No. 9 nationally, second in ACC (21 total commitments)*
Big Picture: Florida State let another fourth-quarter lead slip away on Saturday night to fall to 1-2 on the season. The Seminoles will have two big homes games coming up against Louisville and NC State.

Weekly Review

FSU 24, (25) Virginia 31
Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019

FSU let a pair of fourth-quarter leads slip away on Saturday night as Virginia scored touchdowns on each of its three possessions in the final period. Wayne Taulapapa finished with three rushing touchdowns, including the game-winner with less than three minutes to play. FSU quarterback James Blackman passed for 234 yards and three touchdowns in the defeat. The Seminoles marched inside Virginia’s 10-yard-line on the final possession, but running back Cam Akers was stopped well short of the goal line.

Men’s Basketball

Weekly Commitments: Sardaar Calhoun, unranked JUCO SG*
2020 Recruiting Class Ranking: No. 51 nationally, ninth in ACC (2 total commitments)*


Record: 5-2
Ranking: No. 6 United Soccer Coaches
Past Week: (2-0), defeated Samford, 6-0; defeated Colorado in overtime, 3-2
Upcoming: Villanova (Sunday); vs. Boston College (Thursday)
Recognitions: None
Big Picture: Since a rough West Coast road trip, FSU has won three straight matches. Sunday’s contest at Villanova will be the final non-conference match before FSU opens ACC play.

Weekly Review

Samford 0, (6) FSU 6
Sunday, Sept. 8

Jaelin Howell scored a pair of goals while Deyna Castellanos finished with a goal and two assists as Florida State scored its largest margin of victory on the season. Kristen McFarland scored her second goal of the season in the victory while Kristina Lynch and Abbey Newton each scored their first. The Seminoles had 18 shots to none for the Bulldogs.

(24) Colorado 2, (6) FSU 3
Thursday, Sept. 12 (Overtime)

Jenna Nighswonger’s second goal of the night with just 12 seconds remaining in overtime on Thursday night lifted Florida State to a second overtime victory over a ranked team this season. The Seminoles outshot Colorado 28-6, but led for just five minutes in the match before the game-winner. Taylor Kornieck scored both goals for the Buffaloes. Nighswonger and Deyna Castellanos each scored on penalty kicks in regulation for FSU. Colorado’s Jalen Tompkins had nine saves in the loss.


Record: 5-2
Ranking: No. 25 AVCA Coaches Poll
Past Week: (3-0), defeated TCU, 3-0; defeated Stony Brook, 3-0; defeated St. John’s, 3-0
Upcoming: at Florida (Tuesday); vs. Alabama (Friday)
Recognitions: N/A
Big Picture: FSU had a perfect week, going 3-0 without losing a set. The Seminoles should head to Gainesville with a lot of confidence.

Weekly Review

(22) FSU 3, TCU 0
Sunday, Sept. 8

Payton Caffrey led Florida State with 11 kills and nine digs as the Seminoles swept TCU without allowing more than 20 points in any set. Jasmyn Martin added 10 kills in the victory. Lily Tessier led FSU with 25 assists. TCU was paced by Audrey Nalls’ match-high 18 kills.

Stony Brook 0, (25) FSU 3
Friday, Sept. 13

Stony Brook was competitive in the first and third sets, but unable to take one from Florida State in the Seminoles’ home opener. Morgan Chacon led FSU with 13 kills and 12 digs. Lily Tessier led FSU with 16 assists. Pacing the Seawolves was Amiyah De’Long with 11 kills.

St. John’s 0, (25) FSU 3
Saturday, Sept. 14

For the second day in a row, Florida State played tough first and third sets, but completed a perfect homestand with a straight-set victory over St. John’s. Payton Caffrey returned to the lineup to finish with match-highs of 18 kills and 12 digs for the Seminoles. Efrosini Alexakou and Rachele Rastelli combined for 27 of the Red Storm’s 44 kills.

Cross Country

Ranking: Men No. 2 USTFCCCA South Region; Women No. 20 USTFCCCA, No. 2 USTFCCCA South Region
Past Week: Idle
Upcoming: Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational (Friday)
Recognitions: None
Big Picture: After a strong showing for both the men’s and women’s teams in the first meet of the season, the Seminoles will get prepared to head to Virginia to race on Friday.

Women’s Golf

Ranking: No. 5 WGCA, No. 6 Golfweek
Past Week: FSU finished seventh at the Cougar Classic
Upcoming: Schooner Fall Classic (Sept. 27-29)
Recognitions: None
Big Picture: FSU faded down the stretch in its first tournament of the athletic year. The Seminoles still return virtually everyone from last year and should have a strong team.

Weekly Review

7th at Cougar Classic
Sunday, Sept. 8 to Tuesday, Sept. 10

After being tied for second after the first round, Florida State finished seventh in its first tournament of the year in South Carolina. As a team, FSU shot +2. Vanderbilt took the team title at -27. Beatrice Wallin shot a team-best -5 to finish seventh overall. Vanderbilt’s Auston Kim won the individual title at -16 — seven strokes better than teammate Louise Yu.

Men’s Golf

Ranking: None
Past Week: FSU played the first two rounds of the Maui Jim Intercollegiate
Upcoming: Maui Jim Intercollegiate (Sunday), Fighting Illini Invitational (Friday through Sept. 22)
Recognitions: None
Big Picture: FSU’s season has not started the way that it would have hoped. Through two rounds at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate, the Seminoles are in last place among 15 teams.

Other News

FSU women’s hoops’ Kiah Gillespie has been named a second-team preseason All-American by Lindy’s Magazine.

FSU men’s tennis announced its fall schedule.

FSU men’s golfer John Pak went 3-0 at the Walker Cup.

FSU was ranked as the No. 18 public university in the country by U.S. News.

FSU volleyball’s scheduled match with Florida A&M was pushed back to next season.

FSU hoops unveiled its full slate of men’s hoops games on Thursday night.

FSU women’s hoops guard Sayawni Lassiter will miss the entire 2019-20 season with a knee injury.

FSU wide receiver D.J. Matthews did not make the trip to Charlottesville with the team.

*247Sports Composite rankings

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at

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