Jacksonville State pulled off a miraculous victory over Florida State on Saturday night when quarterback Zerrick Cooper found Damond Philyaw-Jackson for a 59-yard touchdown on the final play of the game to lift the Gamecocks to a 20-17 win. The play marked the first time that Jacksonville State, an FCS team, ever led against its ACC foe.
The loss for FSU came just five days after it fought Notre Dame to the wire before losing in overtime and capped a wild day in college football. The reception was the first of the game for Philyaw-Johnson and the longest play from scrimmage for the Gamecocks, who lost their opener to UAB 31-0 on Sept. 1
Jacksonville State scored on its last two possessions of the game, both drives going more than 80 yards in length, to roar back from a 17-7 deficit. The Gamecocks got the football back with 1:32 remaining and two timeouts at its own 17-yard line after Florida State elected to punt instead of going for it on fourth-and-2 from its own 44. The Seminoles also faced a third-and-1 on the previous play, but running back Jashaun Corbin was tackled for a loss to force FSU into the fourth down play. A first down would likely have cemented the outcome in FSU's favor.
Afterwards, Jacksonville State players celebrated the stunning result by planting their flag in the middle of Florida State's field. "We did not have our team ready to play," Seminoles coach Mike Norvell said, per Andrea Adelson of ESPN. "Definitely did not play in any way to the standard we're capable of. 100% on me. That's something that will be fixed."
And if you're wondering how this all sounded on Florida State's home radio network, well, former fullback William Floyd was so disgusted he threw his headset.
The loss constitutes a devastating blow for Norvell, who is in his second year at Florida State. After a 3-6 campaign in 2020, the Seminoles are now entering ACC play 0-2 with a game at Wake Forest coming up next week. Norvell is now 3-8 in his second season at Florida State after succeeding Willie Taggart, who was fired midway through the 2019 season with a 9-12 record during his second year.
The Seminoles started McKenzie Milton at quarterback after he entered late in the loss to Notre Dame on Monday and enjoyed success. But even with the veteran UCF transfer in the game, FSU struggled to generate consistent offense. With its final 59-yard game-winner, Jacksonville State outgained the Seminoles 350-335 for the game and notched a victory that will go down in program lore.