FSU is not back.

Let’s get that straight.

The Seminoles are 2-0 for the first time since 2016, and that’s certainly a good start. But 1 of those wins was against Duquesne, which does nothing to help figure out if the Noles are “back.”

Sunday night’s 24-23 victory over LSU in their home state of Louisiana certainly was more impressive than the opener, but the Tigers of now are a diminished squad, at least for the moment.

In addition, the Noles allowed LSU to march 99 yards in 80 seconds, a drive that would’ve sent the game to overtime if not for a sensational effort by FSU’s special teams.

So, no, the Noles are not back. Not yet. Neither were the Miami Hurricanes “back” in 2017 when they started 10-0 under then-coach Mark Richt. The Canes slumped after that, and Richt ultimately stepped down. His successor, Manny Diaz, failed to bring Miami “back” despite some good moments. And now the Hurricanes are under new management again as Mario Cristobal tries to do what Randy Shannon, Al Golden, Richt and Diaz failed to accomplish, which is to get Miami back to becoming a national champion.

Over in Tallahassee, Fla., the road is similarly long to get the Seminoles into contention.

But, having offered all that perspective, let’s also acknowledge that Florida State did some really good things on the road Sunday in New Orleans.

Start with the special teams, where Florida State recovered 2 fumbles on punt returns, blocked a field-goal attempt and then made another swat on the game’s final play, that fateful extra-point try.

FSU coach Mike Norvell credited special teams coordinator John Papuchis with the schemes that resulted in those blocked kicks.

Norvell also praised defensive end Jared Verse, who blocked the field-goal attempt. On the last play, Norvell said LSU “put a great focus on Jared, which opened it up for Shyheim (Brown) to block the extra point.”

This was all about a desire to win.

“You never know,” Norvell said, “when extreme effort will give you a chance to make the difference.”

After starting 0-4 last season, the Seminoles are 7-3 since then, with losses at Clemson, to North Carolina State and at Florida.

The Seminoles now are off until Sept. 16, when they will visit the Louisville Cardinals. FSU lost a home game to Louisville last year, 31-23, so this could be a payback game.

FSU quarterback Jordan Travis, who emerged during last year’s stretch run and has kept on improving, said the win against LSU was emotional.

“I had a big smile on my face and a couple of tears thinking about how much we have been through as a football team,” Travis said. “To end the game like this is really special. The game shouldn’t have been that close, but a win is a win.”

Travis has no interceptions yet this season. His completion percentage has improved from 55.0 in 2020 to 62.9 last year and 64.6 so far this season.

In addition, Travis’ ability to buy time in and out of the pocket has allowed his receivers to get open, giving opponents problems.

“We had him dead to rights on 2 or 3 occasions,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said. “But we didn’t get him on the ground. When you don’t (tackle Jordan), he makes some good, impromptu plays.”

FSU’s win earned the team loads of recognition, including 3 ACC Player of the Week awards: Brown for special teams, Verse for defensive lineman and Ontaria Wilson (receiver).

Wilson tied his career highs with 7 catches and 2 touchdown grabs. He also had a game-high 102 yards in receptions.

A redshirt senior from Georgia, Wilson is FSU’s active leader in catches (85), receiving yards (1,128) and TD receptions (10).

As for Verse, all 3 of his tackles were behind the line of scrimmage, including 2 sacks.

For the season, Verse has 3 sacks, which leads the ACC and ranks 2nd nationally.

Certainly, there were issues Sunday, including Treshaun Ward’s fumble that gave LSU life at the end. But, looking at the big picture, the Seminoles are starting to build something. Travis has the look of a winning college QB if not an NFL prospect.

The Noles have 3 solid running backs in Ward, Trey Benson and Lawrance Toafili, all of whom are averaging at least 5.9 yards per carry.

Wilson, if his performance Sunday was not a mirage, would be huge for an offense that needs a go-to receiver. Defensively, the Noles have 2 bulldogs at the tackle spots in Robert Cooper and Fabien Lovett, and Verse coming ‘round the edge is showing to be a beast.

Linebacker Tatum Bethune is the team’s top tackler, a reputation the UCF transfer had before he even got to Tallahassee. The safety duo of Jammie Robinson and Akeem Dent has to be among the best in the nation, and the young cornerbacks – led by Kevin Knowles II – held up against LSU’s stable of top pass-catchers.

So, yes, there’s a lot to like.

Just not enough at 2-0 for the Seminoles – or anyone else in their position – to say they are back.