The Daily Nole

Seminole Saturday Summary: FSU Fires Willie Taggart, Noles Upend Boston College

Phil Kelly/FSU athletics

On Sunday, Florida State announced that it had parted ways with head coach Willie Taggart after just 21 games. The decision came following the Seminoles’ 27-10 loss to rival Miami last weekend.

Taggart finishes his FSU career with a 9-12 record through two seasons and will receive $18 million as part of the buyout. Taggart was just 6-9 against ACC competition, 1-7 on the road and a combined 0-5 against Miami, Florida and Clemson.

As was the case late in the 2017 season, defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins will serve the remainder of the season as the interim head coach. FSU has said that it plans on having a new head coach in place by the end of November.

James Blackman passed for 346 yards and two touchdowns in Florida State’s 38-31 win over Boston College on Saturday. (FSU athletics)

It took until Florida State’s final ACC game of the season to get the first road win of 2019, but it came on Saturday as the Seminoles slipped past Boston College late in Chestnut Hill, 38-31.

With less than two minutes to play, James Blackman’s 60-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Matthews snapped a streak of 10 straight fourth-quarter points by Boston College and put the Seminoles ahead for good, 31-24. Stanford Samuels III intercepted Boston College’s Dennis Grosel on the ensuing drive before FSU backup quarterback Jordan Travis put the game away with a 66-yard touchdown run.

Travis finished with 94 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns on just three carries while Blackman added 346 yards through the air and two touchdown passes. Also finding the end zone for FSU were wide receiver Tamorrion Terry on a 74-yard scoring strike from Blackman and running back Cam Akers on a 13-yard touchdown run. Akers finished with 59 yards rushing to eclipse 1,000 for the season. Terry led all receivers with seven catches for 156 yards.

Boston College finished with 281 yards rushing in the loss with running back A.J. Dillon going for 165 yards on 40 carries. Grosel rushed for a touchdown and threw two to Kobay White. FSU safety Hamsah Nasirildeen tallied a game-high 22 total tackles.

At one point in the contest, FSU trailed 14-3. Interim head coach Odell Haggins improved to 3-0 in his career as the head man of the Seminoles. FSU can become bowl-eligible next week with a home win over Alabama State.


Record: 5-5 (4-4 ACC)
Ranking: None
Past Week: (1-0), defeated Boston College, 38-31.
Upcoming: vs. Alabama State (Saturday)
Recognitions: None
Weekly Commitments: None
Weekly Decommitments: Derek Bermudez, 3-star S (No. 584 overall)*; Jaylan Knighton, 4-star RB (No. 100 overall)*; Isaiah Dunson, 4-star CB (No. 316 overall)
2020 Recruiting Class Ranking: No. 18 nationally, fourth in ACC (17 total commitments)*
Big Picture: With a big win over Boston College on Saturday, FSU can become bowl-eligible by beating Alabama State next weekend at Doak Campbell Stadium.

Weekly Review

FSU 38, Boston College 31
Saturday, Nov. 9

James Blackman’s 60-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Matthews with less than two minutes remaining broke a 24-24 tie and put Florida State ahead for good on Saturday in its final ACC game of the season. FSU rallied from a 14-3 deficit to win. Blackman passed for 346 yards and two scores — the other was a 74-yard touchdown pass to Tamorrion Terry. Terry led all receivers with 156 yards. Jordan Travis rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns on three carries in his first action of the season. Boston College rushed for 281 yards in the loss with A.J. Dillon leading the way with 165 rushing yards. Quarterback Dennis Grosel accounted for three touchdowns, including two touchdown passes to Kobay White. FSU cornerback Stanford Samuels III had a key late interception to help seal the win.

Men’s Basketball

Record: 0-1 (0-1 ACC)
Ranking: None
Past Week: (0-1), lost at Pittsburgh, 63-61
Upcoming: at Florida (Sunday), vs. Western Carolina (Friday)
Recognitions: None
Weekly Commitments: None
2020 Recruiting Class Ranking: No. 15 nationally, fifth in ACC (3 total commitments)*
Big Picture: The season started for FSU in disappointing fashion, but the Seminoles won’t have much time to sulk as they visit rival Florida on Sunday.

Weekly Review

FSU 61, Pittsburgh 63
Wednesday, Nov. 6

Florida State was unable to hold a 9-point second half lead as the Seminoles lost their opener for the first time since the 2012-13 season. Trent Forrest led FSU with 19 points and two steals, but his game-tying attempt fell short just before the final horn. Pittsburgh shot 31 free throws to just 15 for FSU. Xavier Johnson, Ryan Murphy and Terrell Brown all finished with 13 points for the Panthers. Devin Vassell finished with 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting in the loss.

Women’s Basketball

Record: 2-0
Ranking: No. 12 AP Poll; No. 13 USA Today Coaches Poll
Past Week: (2-0), defeated Charleston Southern, 88-36; defeated LSU, 70-62
Upcoming: vs. Jacksonville (Wednesday)
Recognitions: None
Big Picture: After an easy win in the opener, Florida State scored a nice early-season road win at LSU.

Weekly Review

Charleston Southern 36, (12) FSU 88
Tuesday, Nov. 5

Senior guard Nicki Ekhomu shot 7-for-12 from the field and scored 18 points to lead four FSU players in double-figures. Forward Kiah Gillespie added 12 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Morgan Jones and River Baldwin contributed 14 and 13 points, respectively. The Seminoles shot 56 percent to just 33 percent for Charleston Southern and held a 30-rebound advantage. Sharita Godfrey led the Buccaneers with nine points.

(12) FSU 70, LSU 62
Saturday, Nov. 9

Nausia Woolfolk’s basket in the lane with just over a minute to go put Florida State ahead for good and began an 8-0 run to end the contest for the Seminoles. Nicki Ekhomu finished with 21 points to lead FSU while Woolfolk and Sammie Puisis each added 16 in the victory. Kiah Gillespie finished with nine points to go with a game-high 11 rebounds. FSU held a 40-30 edge on the glass. Khayla Pointer scored a game-high 22 points to lead LSU.


Record: 15-5 (8-2 ACC)
Ranking: No. 5 United Soccer Coaches; No. 2 seed ACC Tournament
Past Week: (1-1), defeated Clemson, 2-1 (ACC quarterfinals); lost to Virginia in overtime, 2-1 (ACC semifinals)
Upcoming: vs. Clemson (Sunday, ACC Tournament)
Recognitions: Deyan Castellanos, F (ACC Offensive Player of the Week, ACC Offensive Player of the Year, ACC Midfielder of the Year, All-ACC first team); Malia Berkely, D (ACC Defensive Player of the Year, All-ACC first team); Yujie Zhao, M (All-ACC first team); Jaelin Howell, M (All-ACC first team); Heather Payne, D (All-ACC Freshman); Jenna Nighswonger, F (All-ACC Freshman); Gabby Carle, D (CoSIDA All-District); Kristina Lynch, F (CoSIDA All-District)
Big Picture: After falling in the ACC Tournament semifinals, Florida State will have to wait until Monday to find out what the road to repeating as national champions looks like.

Weekly Review

(7) Clemson 1, (2) FSU 2
Sunday, Nov. 3 (ACC Tournament quarterfinals)

Deyna Castellanos finished with a goal and an assist as Florida State defeated Clemson for the second time this season. Castellanos got the scoring started with a goal in the 18th minute, but Clemson’s Lauren Bruns evened the match in the 64th minute. Jaelin Howell scored the winner for the Seminoles with a header on a cross from Castellanos in the 78th minute. Malia Berkely added an assist in the victory.

(3) Virginia 2, (2) FSU 1
Friday, Nov. 8 (Overtime, ACC Tournament semifinals)

Rebecca Jarrett’s goal in the 97th minute gave Virginia its second overtime victory over Florida State this season and propelled the Cavaliers to the ACC Championship. After a scoreless first half, Zoe Morse got Virginia on the board with a goal in the 67th minute, but FSU’s Kristen McFarland answered in the 83rd minute to force overtime. Deyna Castellanos and Jaelin Howell had assists for the Seminoles in the loss. Both teams managed six shots.


Record: 16-7 (9-4 ACC)
Ranking: None
Past Week: (0-1), lost to Notre Dame, 3-0
Upcoming: vs. Louisville (Sunday)
Recognitions: None
Big Picture: Florida State missed an opportunity to move up the ACC standings on Friday night with a straight-set loss to Notre Dame. The Seminoles will try to get back on track Sunday with another tough match against Louisville.

Weekly Review

Notre Dame 3, FSU 0
Friday, Nov. 8

Despite playing at home, Florida State was unable to win a set against Notre Dame on Friday night. Charley Niego finished with 17 kills and 10 digs to lead the Fighting Irish. Sydney Bent added 13 kills in the win. Payton Caffrey led FSU with 14 kills while Morgan Chacon paced the Seminoles with 15 digs.

Cross Country

Ranking: Men No. 4 USTFCCCA South Region; Women No. 12 USTFCCCA, No. 1 USTFCCCA South Region
Past Week: Idle
Upcoming: NCAA South Regional (Friday)
Recognitions: None
Big Picture: After a solid season, FSU will look to continue to make noise at the NCAA South Regional on Friday.

Men’s Golf

Ranking: None
Past Week: Finished second at White Sands Intercollegiate
Upcoming: Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate (Feb. 10-11)
Recognitions: None
Big Picture: FSU had its best showing of the year at the White Sands Intercollegiate. The Seminoles have three months off before beginning the spring season.

Weekly Review

2nd at White Sands Intercollegiate
Friday, Nov. 1 to Sunday, Nov. 3

Florida State wrapped up its stay in the Bahamas and the fall schedule with a strong showing. As a team, the Seminoles shot -24, which was seven strokes behind winner Houston. Reigning ACC champion John Pak shot -9 to finish in a sixth-place tie. Jamie Li and Calvin Sierota each finished -6 to settle for 11th-place ties. Wake Forest’s Parker Gillam took home the individual title at -17.

Swimming and Diving

Ranking: Men No. 15 CSCAA; Women No. 20 CSCAA
Past Week: The FSU men and women fell to Florida; the FSU men and women defeated Florida Southern
Upcoming: Georgia Tech Invite (Nov. 22-24)
Recognitions: None
Big Picture: FSU was no match for Florida, but ended the weekend with easy victories over Florida Southern. The Seminoles will have next weekend off before heading to Atlanta.

Weekly Review

Men: (15) FSU 107, (9) Florida 188; Women: (20) FSU 104, (1) Florida 195
Friday, Nov. 8

Rival Florida swept Florida State in the pool and on the board on Friday afternoon. One of the bright spots for FSU was the men’s 200-yard freestyle relay where it claimed the top three spots. The FSU men did likewise in 200-yard individual medley and the 1-meter dive with Nick Vance and Joshua Davidson leading the way, respectively. On the women’s side, the only first-place finishers were Nine Kucheran in the 100-yard breaststroke and Ayla Bonniwell in the 1-meter dive.

Men: Florida Southern 74, (15) FSU 207; Women: Florida Southern 44, (20) FSU 261
Saturday, Nov. 9

Florida State easily disposed of Florida Southern on both the men’s and women’s side. The FSU women also defeated West Florida and North Florida on Saturday. The men’s individual 200-yard medley, the women’s 100-yard freestyle and the men’s 200-yard backstroke were the only events that the Seminoles failed to take first place.

Other News

FSU ‘s football contest with Alabama State on Saturday will begin at noon EST and air on Raycom Sports Network.

Former FSU football analyst Jim Leavitt has moved to an on-field role.

FSU defensive tackle Marvin Wilson is out for the season with a hand injury.

*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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