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Clouds and Coronavirus Surround the First FSU Football Game of the Season

It’s the afternoon of Sep. 12, and the atmosphere of the city has changed as the first Florida State football game of the season is about to begin. Coronavirus still looms over everyone, just like the darkening clouds, but the stadium is still buzzing with anticipation. 

There were a few bumps along the way, such as claims by players on the football team about the school’s poor handling of the virus and the annual Florida State vs. University of Florida game was taken off of this year’s schedule, as the SEC decided not to play other schools not in their conference, due to the virus. 

The Florida State Seminoles faced off against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at 3:30 p.m. for their season opener at home on the Doak Campbell Stadium field. After the first pre-game lightning delay, the Seminoles kicked off. With an exciting beginning during the first quarter as Asante Samuel Jr. intercepted the ball, the Seminoles scored their first touchdown by Keyshawn Helton, leading seven to zero.  However, immediately following this score, thunder rumbled, and another lightning delay paused the game for over an hour. 

Once play resumed, hopes were high for the Seminole fans as they dominated the first quarter with a field goal by Parker Grothaus. The 10 to zero run carried them throughout the rest of the first half with no score by the Yellow Jackets. The Seminoles kept ahead in the third quarter, kicking another field goal and only allowing one touchdown to get past them, presenting a score of 13 to seven by the end of the third quarter. But the hope for a first game win was shattered on this rainy day, as Georgia Tech tied it up with a touchdown (the extra point was blocked), and a field goal five minutes later to put themselves on top. In the end, Florida State fell short at a final 16-13 loss.

With the threat of Corona, the stadium is only at 20 percent to 25 percent capacity, making the new limit to be about 20,000 fans, though Saturday's game brought in a little over 17,000 people. While the majority of those in attendance wore masks in and around the stadium, these important safety measures appeared to be an afterthought with those in the bleachers.

“I felt pretty safe. I was with my small group of friends and we sat in a spot that wasn’t crowded with a bunch of people,” freshman Eliana Marrero said. “For most of the game we were wearing our masks, but there were obviously hundreds of others who didn’t bother to put it on unless they left the stands.” 

There is still a lot of controversy over whether in-person sports should continue this season and whether fans should be able to attend the games. While this is Florida, the crowd cannot always be thinned out by weather delays and storms. For safety, masks are always advised to be worn by the CDC, and the game will still go on. So, with Florida State’s first loss of 2020, here’s to redemption and more masks worn in the crowd as FSU battles against the University of Miami on Saturday, Sep. 26.

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Jenna Harris is a freshman at Florida State University, majoring in advertising! She's a first-year staff writer for Her Campus and is also a part of the social media team, focusing on videos. Her hope is to publish her own novel in the future, but she can otherwise be found doing work at local coffee shops, exploring with friends, and hoping that FSU's football team gets better.
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