The Daily Nole

Fun Fact Friday: First Non-Conference Home Game for Fisher, Taggart and Norvell as FSU Head Coach Against Samford

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Florida State’s 2020 schedule was unveiled earlier this week.

It isn’t a date that anyone is circling, but the Seminoles’ home opener this year will come on Sept. 12 against Samford. On that date, Mike Norvell will become FSU’s third straight full-time head coach to coach his first non-conference home game against the Bulldogs.

Samford is the alma mater of legendary FSU head coach Bobby Bowden, but it was also the alma mater of his successor. In 2010, then head coach Jimbo Fisher made his head coaching debut against the team that he set passing records for as a quarterback. On that afternoon, FSU quarterback Christian Ponder threw for four touchdowns, including two to fullback Lonnie Pryor in a 59-6 victory.

In 2018, Willie Taggart made his debut as FSU head coach on Labor Day at home against Virginia Tech. The Seminoles lost that one 24-3, but returned home five days later to take on Samford. In Taggart’s first non-conference home game, things didn’t come as easy this time around.

FSU trailed for most of the night and with just over four minutes left to play before quarterback Deondre Francois found tight end Tre’ McKitty for the game-winning touchdown. Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges passed for 475 yards and two touchdowns, but threw five interceptions. The final of those was returned 63 yards for a touchdown by Levonta Taylor to seal a 36-26 win for Florida State.

Norvell’s FSU coaching debut will come on Sept. 5 against West Virginia in Atlanta, but his Doak Campbell Stadium debut comes against Samford a week later. Norvell will hope to have the same success as his two predecessors and beat the Bulldogs. The Seminoles have never lost to an FCS team.

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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