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The 2018 season left much to be desired for Florida State, but a number of Seminoles left it all on the line. We started our annual series remembering the FSU seniors on Thursday with running back Jacques Patrick.
We now remember another Orlando native. Nyqwan “Noonie” Murray was a 3-star prospect and the lowest rated player, according to the 247Sports Composite, in FSU’s 2015 class. Nevertheless, Murray started games in each of his final three seasons in Tallahassee.
Murray had a flare for the dramatic throughout the course of his FSU career and will finish with more than 1,850 yards receiving in his career and 12 career touchdowns. Murray led or was tied for the team lead in receptions and receiving yards in each of his final two seasons in Tallahassee.
Murray wasn’t always the most consistent player, but he did make plays, particularly in the clutch. Murray started 18 career games, including eight in each of his final two seasons. Looking back on Murray’s career, here are the top five moments:
5. Murray Puts FSU Ahead for Good in Gainesville
Nov. 25, 2017
At 4-6, Florida State needed to win its final two regular season games of 2017 to become bowl-eligible. The most difficult of those contests looked to be in Gainesville against rival Florida, which was also 4-6. The Seminoles had won four straight over Florida, but never in program history had they won five straight over the Gators. After Florida knotted the game up at seven, Murray put the Seminoles ahead for good in the second quarter with a 21-yard touchdown on a rocket of a throw from James Blackman on 3rd-and-10. The score put FSU ahead 14-7 in an eventual 38-22 win.
4. Career-Night in Raleigh
Nov. 5, 2016
Travis Rudolph played the hero with the winning touchdown catch as Florida State rallied to beat NC State 24-20 to open the month of November in 2016, but it was Murray that the Wolfpack were unable to contain. Murray finished the night with nine receptions for 153 yards in the come-from-behind victory. Those totals would never be eclipsed for Murray throughout the duration of his career.
3. Murray Bursts Onto Scene vs. Clemson
Oct. 29, 2016
Through seven games in 2016, Murray had just 46 yards receiving before being forced to take on a bigger role in place of an injured Jesus Wilson. Facing No. 3 and eventual national champion Clemson in prime time, Murray made it known that he would be a force to be reckoned with for the Seminoles in the coming years. Murray finished the night with six catches for 96 yards receiving — both team-highs — and his first career touchdown. Murray’s effort wasn’t enough as Clemson won the game late 37-34, but that night, Murray proved that Florida State had a new weapon moving forward.
2. Murray Outraces Defenders for Winning Score at Louisville
Sept. 29, 2018
After an A.J. Westbrook interception with under two minutes to go gave FSU new life at Louisville in 2018, the contest hung in the balance as the Seminoles faced 3rd-and-6 from the Cardinals’ 42-yard-line with just over a minute to play. Murray was able to haul in the third down pass from Deondre Francois over the middle near the line-to-gain, slip a neck tackle and outrun defenders for a 58-yard touchdown to give the Seminoles a 28-24 lead with 1:13 to play. Stanford Samuels III’s interception on the ensuing Louisville drive sealed the Florida State victory.
1. Murray Dazzles in Orange Bowl
Dec. 30, 2016
Nyqwan Murray made just two catches for Florida State in its 33-32 win over Michigan in the Orange Bowl to conclude the 2016 season, but both went for scores at the expense of an All-American. With FSU leading 10-3 in the first half, Murray was able to get behind Michigan All-American Jourdan Lewis and catch the pass from Deondre Francois down the sideline for a 92-yard touchdown. The Wolverines led 30-27 late in the contest, but on 3rd-and-9 from the Michigan 12, Murray was able to outleap Lewis in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown with 36 seconds to play. Carlos Becker was able to seal the game with an interception for the FSU defense.