Photo courtesy of Florida State athletics
The season opened in heartbreak for Florida State on Sunday night, but the effort was worthy of applause.
Against No. 9 Notre Dame, the Seminoles rallied from 18 points down in the fourth quarter to force overtime. When all was said and done however, a late field goal was the difference as the Fighting Irish survived, 41-38.
It wasn’t the ending that the faithful in Tallahassee would have hoped for, but there were some exceptional performances. Handing out game balls this week are Fifth Quarter editors Mike Ferguson and Cory Thorpe, co-owners John Cooper and James Coleman and FSU lead writer Jake Bunting:
Mike, John, James and Jake’s Game Ball: Jashaun Corbin, RB
McKenzie Milton was the feel-good story, but Jashaun Corbin powered the FSU offense for a large portion of the night. Corbin rushed for a career-high 144 yards on 15 carries and an 89-yard touchdown that drew the Seminoles even early on. Corbin gained a lot of tough yards and also caught three passes for six yards.
Cory’s Game Ball: McKenzie Milton, QB
It wasn’t clear if Milton was going to play on Monday night, but he entered the contest late after starter Jordan Travis lost his helmet and led two scoring drives to tie the game. For the night, Milton finished 5-for-7 with 48 yards passing. If anyone was wondering how he would perform after a gruesome leg injury in 2018, Milton rushed for six yards on three carries. He also made a heady play on an errant snap to keep FSU in field goal range for the tying kick.
Mike, Cory, John and Jake’s Game Ball: Jermaine Johnson, DE
Georgia transfer Jermaine Johnson’s highly-anticipated debut for FSU did not disappoint. Johnson was a mainstay in the backfield and tallied seven tackles, including 2.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks. Johnson led FSU in each of the latter two categories. The only player with more total tackles for FSU was linebacker Kalen DeLoach.
James’ Game Ball: Kalen DeLoach, LB
After tallying just 10 total stops over his first two seasons, linebacker Kalen DeLoach led the Seminoles on Sunday night with eight tackles. DeLoach showed very good pursuit to the ball. Four of his tackles were solo stops. He also had a half-tackle for loss.
Mike’s Game Ball: Corey Wren, KR
Although one return was initially ruled a fumble, Corey Wren sparked the Seminoles with two kickoff returns for 52 yards, including a long of 33 yards. His 33-yard return to open the second half set up a long touchdown pass from Jordan Travis to Ja’Khi Douglas.
Jake, John, James and Cory’s Game Ball: Alex Mastromanno, P
Australian punter Alex Mastromanno had a nice night for FSU. On four punts, Mastromanno averaged nearly 43 yards per boot with a long of 53. One of his four punts was downed inside the 20-yard-line. As a team, Notre Dame had just one return for four yards.