Jordan Travis was efficient, Florida State’s ground game was productive and the Seminoles’ defense kept the pressure on BC quarterback Phil Jurkovec.
Travis matched a career-high with three touchdown passes, one in each of the first three quarters, as FSU defeated BC 26-23 on Saturday afternoon. Ontaria Wilson caught a 16-yard TD in the first quarter, Lawrance Toafili grabbed a 7-yard TD in the second quarter and Malik McClain went up for a 15-yard TD in the third quarter.
“So proud of our football team,” FSU coach Mike Norvell said. “Was a wild game, a wild second half. Talk to our team all the team about how we respond. Still missed some opportunities, had some negatives that showed up…through the first half. But guys just continued to battle. Thought they did an exceptional job in the first half. Really liked the offense came out in the first series of the second half, went down and scored. Really from that point, just for a variety of reasons, really stalled out. But the defense kept battling. Overcoming adversity. All the things that showed up. So proud of our football team to find a way in the end.”
FSU’s defense was opportunistic by recording a safety and an interception although some questionable calls contributed to some second-half BC touchdowns. BC capitalized on FSU’s penalties (13 for 120 yards), although some of them drew debate in-game from Norvell and the coach referenced that postgame.
“Our guys just continued to believe,” Norvell said. “I told ‘em afterwards I probably let my emotions get the best of me a couple times throughout the game, and that’s something I’m gonna improve on.
“But some things just need to be said, too.”
The Seminoles (5-6, 4-4 ACC) have bounced back from an 0-4 start and finished .500 or better in league play for the first time since 2016. FSU has a chance to go bowling with a win at Florida next Saturday.
BC fell to 6-5, 2-5.
Travis completed 20 of 34 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He distributed passes to 10 receivers.
Corbin ran 13 times for 62 yards, while Travis ran 13 times for 26 yards. He now has 877 rushing yards this season.
Ontaria Wilson caught three passes for 60 yards, while Camren McDonald hauled in three catches for 54 yards. Ja’Khi Douglas caught a team-high four receptions for 44 yards.
McClain had a 15-yard touchdown grab where he high-pointed the pass, which was his best in-game moment of the season.
FSU was just 2 of 10 on third-down conversions.
The Seminoles have scored on 29 straight red-zone trips.
Lawrance Toafili had three receptions for four yards in his first game back since he was injured on the final play at Clemson on Oct. 30.
FSU used its eighth offensive line combination of the season: left tackle Robert Scott, left guard Dillan Gibbons, center Maurice Smith, right guard Brady Scott and right tackle Darius Washington.
With BC driving and facing a fourth down, FSU’s front pressured Jurkovec and he scrambled backwards to throw off balance over the middle. Jurkovec was intercepted by Akeem Dent at FSU’s 23 with 1:43 left. It was the seventh straight game FSU forced a takeaway.
FSU’s ability to hurry Jurkovec was a point of pride for Norvell and the players.
“We had to make him uncomfortable,” Norvell said. “You look at that offensive line, the number of starts, the way those guys have operated together, it’s hard to get pressure on him. But I thought our defensive front played relentless. To be able to finish there at the end, to be able to force that, force the ball and throw the pass at the end, great job by Akeem to high-point it to end the game.”
The Seminoles also forced a fumble earlier in the fourth quarter, but the play was overturned. On the following play Jurkovec scored on a 3-yard run.
FSU’s defense consistently bothered Jurkovec. Keir Thomas had two sacks, a career-best three tackles for loss and five QB hurries. Thomas has 5.5 sacks in the last four games. Fabien Lovett and Derrick McLendon had a sack apiece.
Jermaine Johnson had three tackles and two QB hurries.
Kalen DeLoach recorded a safety when he tackled a receiver just after he caught a pass from Jurkovec.
BC scored 20 second-half points, but the Seminoles held Jurkovec to 10 of 24 for 148 yards.
Jarques McClellion had a team-high and career-best eight tackles, while Thomas and Kevin Knowles had seven tackles apiece.
Jammie Robinson was ejected for targeting in the first half.
Jadarius Green-McKnight played for the first time this season.
Ryan Fitzgerald drilled a 36-yard field-goal attempt in the second quarter to give FSU a 19-3 lead at the half.
Alex Mastromanno punted five times for a 39.6-yard average, although he pinned four inside the 20-yard line. His longest punt was 47 yards.
FSU plays at Florida on Nov. 27 at noon (ESPN). The Gators fell at Missouri in overtime, which means FSU and Florida are 5-6 and fighting for a bowl spot in their matchup at The Swamp.