Florida State fans were wondering if a backup quarterback would see significant playing time and guide the Seminoles to a win on Saturday.
They did. But the game didn’t exactly follow the script.
Jordan Travis came off the bench to lead Florida State to touchdowns on five straight drives as the Seminoles bounced back to take a 41-24 win over Jacksonville State on Saturday. The redshirt sophomore threw for 210 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown pass to Keyshawn Helton, and added a 1-yard TD run.
FSU, which trailed 14-0 early in the game, improved to 1-2. The Seminoles picked up the first win of the Mike Norvell Era.
“It wasn’t pretty at times tonight, but it might’ve been exactly what we needed,” Norvell said. “We needed to be able to respond to adversity, we needed to be able to go out there and have sustained success through those moments and be able to feed off each other.”
Tate Rodemaker started and went 8 of 12 for 58 yards, but he tossed a costly interception that was returned 13 yards for a touchdown by Kolbi Fuqua.
Travis threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Helton to get FSU on the board. The throw was slightly underthrown but was the longest pass of Travis’ career. It was the first of five straight FSU scoring drives.
Travis finished 13 of 18 for 215 yards, all of which are career highs.
FSU ran 53 times for 263 yards. La’Damian Webb had two touchdown runs, while Lawrance Toafili and Jashaun Corbin each added a TD run.
The starting offensive line was changed up: from left, Darius Washington, Andrew Boselli, Baveon Johnson, Devontay Love-Taylor and Robert Scott (he was making his first career start). And it shifted throughout the night as Washington left the game due to injury.
Tamorrion Terry hauled in a 48-yard grab from Travis, helping set up a touchdown on FSU’s opening drive of the third quarter. Terry surpassed the 2,000-yard mark on the play and finished with six receptions for 77 yards.
Ontaria Wilson caught seven passes for 86 yards, both of which were team highs. Wilson had 61 yards after the catch.
FSU had its hands full with Zerrick Cooper, a Clemson signee who had thrown for 3,000 yards in the last two seasons at Jacksonville State. Cooper completed 22 of 30 passes for 232 yards and had a rushing touchdown.
Asante Samuel Jr. had a career-high nine tackles and an interception in the fourth quarter, his third of the season. Samuel’s play helped halt any late JSU momentum and effectively ended the upset bid.
FSU did fare much better on third downs after struggling against Georgia Tech (8 of 16) and Miami (11 of 16). The Seminoles allowed JSU to convert on just 3 of 9 third-down tries.
Tru Thompson and Marvin Wilson sacked Cooper in the second half. Wilson returned to the field following a first-half suspension that carried over from his targeting penalty vs. Miami.
Joshua Kaindoh started after missing the Miami game. Kaindoh had three tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Ryan Fitzgerald missed a 49-yard field-goal attempt on Florida State’s first drive. He made 5 of 6 extra-point attempts on the night.
Alex Mastromanno averaged 44 yards on his three punts.
A number of players did not dress out for FSU, including defensive tackle Robert Cooper, defensive backs Travis Jay and Carlos Becker, and offensive lineman Brady Scott. Hamsah Nasirildeen did not warm up.
D.J. Lundy saw his first playing time on defense and was also used as the fullback in certain goal-line situations.
The announced attendance was 13,589 although it was much smaller. While FSU’s student allotment was 4,000, the crowd in that section appeared to be under 500.
A full box score can be found here on Seminoles.com.