The Daily Nole

Seminole Saturday Summary: FSU Falls to Arizona State in Sun Bowl, Noles Upset No. 7 Louisville in Top-20 Hoops Match-up

Ross Obley/FSU athletics

For the first time since suffering through four straight losing seasons from 1973 to 1976, Florida State will endure back-to-back losing seasons. The Seminoles’ season ended on Tuesday with a 20-14 loss to Arizona State in the Sun Bowl.

FSU (6-7) overcame an early 9-0 deficit with two third-quarter touchdowns. After Ontaria Wilson’s 3-yard touchdown run put FSU on the board, the Seminoles went ahead for the first time late in the quarter when James Blackman hit Tamorrion Terry for a 91-yard touchdown — the longest play in Sun Bowl history.

Unfortunately for FSU, that would not hold up. With over 10 minutes remaining in the game, Willie Harts’ 25-yard return for a touchdown of Blackman’s fourth interception and fifth total turnover gave the Sun Devils (8-5) the lead for good. FSU would march inside the Arizona State 40-yard-line on its final possession, but Terry fumbled for the team’s sixth turnover of the day.

Terry finished with a game-high nine catches for 165 yards. Without a scholarship running back, Deonte Sheffield carried the load for the Seminoles with 87 yards rushing on 18 carries. As a team, FSU went for 224 yards on the ground. The Seminoles also dominated in total yardage with 470 yards to 286 for Arizona State.

The story of the contest for FSU was miscues as it turned the ball over six times, including on 2nd-and-goal from the 1 on its opening drive. The Seminoles also had a 36-yard field goal blocked. Christian Zendejas was 4-for-4 on field goals for the Sun Devils.

Florida State stormed past Louisville on Saturday in a 78-65 statement win at the KFC Yum! Center. (FSU athletics)

While 2019 did not end the way that Florida State football had hoped, FSU hoops started 2020 on the right foot. After a 70-58 home victory over Georgia Tech on New Year’s Eve, the No. 18 Seminoles made a major statement on Saturday with a 78-65 road win over seventh-ranked Louisville.

FSU shot 55 percent from the floor and 11-for-23 from deep. The Seminoles held Louisville to 39 percent shooting and forced 16 turnovers in the victory.

FSU closed the first half on a 12-2 run to take a 39-32 lead into the locker room. Louisville got as close as three in the second half on a tip by the ACC’s leading scorer, Jordan Nwora, but the Seminoles responded with an 18-8 run to pull away in the contest.

Nwora finished with 32 points on 11-for-15 shooting and 10 rebounds. Steven Enoch added 10 points for the Cardinals in their first ACC loss of the season.

After missing the previous contest, M.J. Walker came off the bench to lead FSU with 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting. Trent Forrest was 9 of 11 from the field with 20 points, five assists and two steals. Devin Vassell added 14 points and six rebounds.

With the victory, FSU has won back-to-back games at Louisville for the first time in program history. FSU will head to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest on a 6-game winning streak and as winners in 13 of 14 games.


Record: 6-7
Ranking: None
Past Week: (0-1), lost to Arizona State in Sun Bowl, 20-14
Recognitions: None
Weekly Commitments: None
2020 Recruiting Class Ranking: No. 21 nationally, fourth in ACC (18 total commitments)*
Big Picture: The 2019 season ended for Florida State as it began — in disappointment. With a Sun Bowl loss to Arizona State, the Seminoles suffer consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1975 and 1976.

Weekly Review

FSU 14, Arizona State 20
Tuesday, Dec. 31 (Sun Bowl)

Florida State overcame an early 9-0 deficit with a pair of third-quarter touchdowns, but six turnovers was too much to overcome. Willie Harts’ 25-yard interception for a touchdown of FSU quarterback James Blackman’s fourth and final pick put Arizona State ahead for good. Blackman passed for 244 yards and a 91-yard touchdown to Tamorrion Terry — the longest play in Sun Bowl history — but turned the ball over five times. FSU outgained Arizona State in total yardage, 470-282. Terry finished with 165 yards receiving on nine catches, but fumbled in Arizona State territory with less than two minutes to play. Kicker Christian Zendejas was 4-for-4 on field goals for the Sun Devils.

Men’s Basketball

Record: 13-2 (3-1 ACC)
Ranking: No. 18 AP Poll; No. 20 USA Today Coaches Poll
Past Week: (2-0), defeated Georgia Tech, 70-58; defeated Louisville, 78-65
Upcoming: at Wake Forest (Wednesday)
Recognitions: None
Weekly Commitments: None
2020 Recruiting Class Ranking: No. 26 nationally, sixth in ACC (3 total commitments)*
Big Picture: FSU is unquestionably a force to be reckoned with after an impressive 13-point road win at Louisville. In ACC play, currently only Virginia and Duke have a better conference record than the Seminoles.

Weekly Review

Georgia Tech 58, (18) FSU 70
Tuesday, Dec. 31

Georgia Tech hung close for most of the contest, but Florida State managed to close the game on a 23-13 run to pull away for the victory. FSU shot 46 percent from the field while holding the Yellow Jackets to 40 percent and forcing 20 turnovers. Devin Vassell paced the Seminoles with 14 points and nine rebounds. Patrick Williams added 12 points in the victory. Michael Devoe shot 6-for-8 from deep and led Georgia Tech with a game-high 19 points. Moses Wright tallied 13 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

(18) FSU 78, (7) Louisville 65
Saturday, Jan. 4

Florida State shot 55 percent and 11-for-23 from deep to earn a statement victory at No. 7 Louisville on Saturday. M.J. Walker came off the bench to score 23 points while Trent Forrest added 20 points, five assists and two steals. The Seminoles closed the first half on a 12-2 run to take a 39-32 lead into the locker room. From there, the contest never got closer than three. FSU had no answer for Louisville’s Jordan Nwora, but he had little help. Nwora finished with game-highs of 32 points and 10 rebounds. Devin Vassell added 14 points and six rebounds in the victory.

Women’s Basketball

Record: 13-1 (2-1 ACC)
Ranking: No. 8 AP Poll; No. 8 USA Today Coaches Poll
Past Week: (1-1), defeated Virginia Tech, 86-62; lost at Syracuse in overtime, 90-89
Upcoming: vs. at Miami (Sunday); Georgia Tech (Thursday)
Recognitions: River Baldwin, C (ACC Freshman of the Week)
Big Picture: After an impressive win over Virginia Tech, FSU suffered its first loss of the season on Thursday night.

Weekly Review

Virginia Tech 62, (8) FSU 86
Sunday, Dec. 29

Florida State set a new program record by winning its 13th straight game on Sunday. FSU shot 47 percent and turned the ball over just six times while holding Virginia Tech to 36 percent shooting. Nausia Woolfolk led the Seminoles with 21 points. Nikki Ekhomu scored 16 points in the win while Morgan Jones tallied 11 points and eight rebounds. River Baldwin and Kiah Gillespie each scored 10 points for FSU. Baldwin grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Dara Mabrey and Elizabeth Kitley each scored 14 points for the Hokies.

(8) FSU 89, Syracuse 90
Thursday, Jan. 2 (Overtime)

Florida State’s first loss of the season came in heartbreaking fashion as the Seminoles were unable to hold a 4-point lead with 33 seconds left before falling at the buzzer in overtime. Syracuse forced the extra period on a 3-pointer by Digna Strautmane with less than three seconds remaining. The lead changed six times in overtime, but it looked as though FSU would prevail when Kiah Gillespie hit a floater with less than a second to play. After a timeout advanced the ball, Syracuse’s Emily Engstler was left alone for an uncontested layup as time expired. Gillespie finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Seminoles. Kiara Lewis scored 21 points to lead six Syracuse players in double figures.

Men’s Tennis

Record: 0-0
Upcoming: vs. Penn State (Sunday, The Bahamas); vs. Florida Atlantic (Friday); vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (Saturday); vs. Florida A&M (Saturday)
Recognitions: None
Big Picture: After a first-round exit in the NCAA Tournament, FSU will open its season on Sunday against Penn State.

Track and Field

Ranking: N/A
Upcoming: Orange and Purple Elite (Saturday)
Recognitions: None
Big Picture: Florida State’s men’s and women’s track and field teams will begin their seasons in one week at Clemson.

Other News

FSU freshman guard Dontae Lucas left Tuesday’s Sun Bowl with an apparent leg injury.

FSU defensive tackle Marvin Wilson will return his senior season in 2020.

FSU wide receiver Tamorrion Terry will return for his redshirt junior season in 2020.

FSU has hired Tennessee running backs coach David Johnson to the same position.

*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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