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Levonta Taylor Breaks Out for FSU

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Levonta Taylor burst onto the national scene against the Gators, leading the garnet-and-gold with a game to remember.

Levonta Taylor came to Florida State as a consensus five-star prospect, regarded by most as the premier cornerback recruit in all of high school football. With prototypical skills, Taylor was projected by many to be in the next-in-line in a proud cornerback lineage for the Seminoles. On Saturday against rival Florida, the true sophomore looked the part. Taylor burst onto the national scene with two interceptions and a key second quarter pick-six against the Gators, leading the garnet-and-gold with a game to remember.   

Though it has been a disappointing season for Florida State, Taylor helped the Seminoles make a statement early in the biggest game of the year. Defensively, Florida State wasted no time in setting a playmaking tone. After an early fumble recovery for a touchdown by Jacob Pugh, the Seminoles' first offensive score of the afternoon was setup by a Taylor interception of Feleipe Franks in the Florida redzone. Following the first pick of Taylor's career, James Blackman connected with Nyqwan Murray for a 21-yard touchdown three plays later.  

Taylor, later in the half, made one of the plays of the day for the Seminoles, grabbing a Franks pass and taking it 18 yards for a score. The touchdown pushed the Florida State margin to 24-7.

“Turnovers are contagious,” Taylor explained. “On the first one, we scored off it. And on the second one, we put points on the board with it. You just have to make takeaways like that.”

In his breakout performance, Taylor teamed with the likes of fellow defenders Pugh, Brian Burns and Matthew Thomas to pace the Seminoles' 38-22 triumph. The unit forced four turnovers, recorded five sacks and ten tackles for loss. Florida State now has its longest winning streak ever over Florida at five games. Furthermore, the Seminoles can now extend their NCAA record bowl streak to 36 with a win over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.

A rising star, expect much more from Taylor as his career progresses. For one of the most talented players on Florida State's team, Saturday was likely the start of something special.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports