Wide Receiver Nyqwan Murray is a rising star for FSU football. After a colossal mistake early in the Orange Bowl, Murray found monumental redemption.
FSU football sophomore receiver Nyqwan Murray has been receiving hype dating all the way back to the Summer of 2016. A receiver with average height – Murray relies on his athleticism, with great feet and sharp routes to go along with excellent leaping ability, body control, and a knack for attacking the football. With that type of ability, it’s easy to see why the hype for Murray was so consistent in the off-season.
In FSU’s first three games, Murray totaled just 5 receptions for 46 yards. In the four games following the Louisville debacle Murray didn’t record a single statistic. However, when senior receiver Jesus Wilson went down with an injury, we finally got an opportunity to see what we had been hearing so much about.
Murray torched the Clemson defense for 6 receptions, 96 yards and a touchdown. The next week, Murray pulled in nine passes for 153 yards in a road win against North Carolina State. FSU fans were finally seeing the off-season hype translate to the field. Murray finished the final five games of the regular season hauling in 20 receptions, 291 yards, and three touchdowns.
FSU football got off to a tremendous start in the Orange Bowl. The offense received the ball and marched 75 yards down the field in an opening drive capped off by a two yard touchdown run from Orange Bowl MVP, Dalvin Cook. The Seminoles looked bound to take control after their defense forced a punt on Michigan’s opening drive.
However, a booming punt from Michigan’s Kenny Allen drove FSU returner Nyqwan Murray inside his own ten yard line, a slip from Murray turned into disaster as he muffed the punt and Michigan was able to take over at FSU’s one yard line. Thanks mostly to a great play from linebacker Matt Thomas, the FSU defense was able to pick Murray up and force a field goal.
It didn’t take Nyqwan Murray long to start his journey towards redemption. Approximately eight minutes later, FSU football found themselves backed up on their own eight yard line. The much maligned FSU offensive line was able to buy time for quarterback Deondre Francois and he was able to find Murray behind the defense. Francois dropped in a perfect pass for Murray and Michigan had no one to catch him, the man that made a colossal mistake in the same quarter just hauled in a 92 yard touchdown pass to extend the FSU lead to 17-7.
Fast forward three crazy quarters later and FSU football found themselves giving up a touchdown and trailing for the first time in the game with less than two minutes to play. A wild and perhaps a bit fortunate 66 yard kick return from true freshman Keith Gavin set the Noles up with an opportunity to snatch back a game it seemed they had let get away.
With the drive starting at the Michigan 34 yard line, FSU could have played for the field goal and overtime but it was clear Fisher was going for the win. A perfect screen pass to Cook got the Noles to the Michigan 13, after two unsuccessful plays, FSU needed someone to come up big on third and nine from the 12.
When that play had to be made, Fisher looked to his weapon that had already shown the ability to overcome diversity earlier in the night. Francois dropped back and looked to his left and put the ball in a spot where Murray could make a play. Murray showed his leaping abilities and body control making an incredibly clutch catch over future first rounder Jourdan Lewis to seal a huge victory for FSU football.
Nyqwan Murray’s Orange Bowl redemption is exactly what Jimbo Fisher means when he preaches “play the next play”. Like Nyqwan Murray, this FSU team took a little time to find themselves, but like Nyqwan Murray; they persevered and found their redemption.