Florida scored against Florida, takeaway: None. 16′ Noles survive Gators in competition for top scorer

Do not. No. 16 Florida State trailed quarterback Jordan Travis in a dramatic 45-38 victory on Friday night and made a final defense in the final minute of the game to end a win over rival Florida State. Three straight losses. Travis was instrumental all night in the air and on the ground, and the Seminoles’ defense made its fourth stop in the final minute as the Doc Campbell Stadium crowd swelled.

Gators QB Anthony Richardson’s incomplete pass to the end zone with 39 seconds left gave the ball to Florida State and effectively ended the highest-scoring game in rivalry history. What will be discussed over the years are the two games on the final pitch, the fourth and 18th pass interference against FSU, which prolonged Florida’s comeback attempt, and the non-calling on the aforementioned incomplete pass Richardson’s clear mask.

Richardson threw for three touchdowns in the first 21 minutes of the game, giving the Gators a 21-14 lead, but the redshirt sophomore then went 11 straight without a touchdown. The third quarter proved especially important as Florida State hit three straight 3-pointers against a scoreless first-half Florida team.

The win marked the first in the rivalry for third-year Florida coach Mike Norwell, who he has Travis to thank. The redshirt teenager threw for 270 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 83 yards and two scores. Running back Trey Benson added a three-pointer for the “Knowles,” who made it 9-3 after the win.

travis run wild

In a game full of momentum swings and highlights, Travis’ elusive run stood out a few times. With the Seminoles trailing 21-14 and facing a 3-pointer and a 10-pointer from Florida State’s 11-yard line in the second quarter, Florida State appeared to be on the verge of firing Travis for the loss. But when Travis stepped back 18 yards behind the line of scrimmage, he managed to evade five different Florida defenders, including a couple who had more than one chance to knock him down. He finally slid to the end zone and scored on the next play.

Then, in the third quarter, Travis replicated the play in almost the same situation. Facing a 3 and 11 ball from Florida State’s 13-yard line, Travis took off and evaded multiple interceptors before gliding near the goal line. The game gave the Seminoles the lead and a touchdown assist from Benson to give Florida State a 31-24 lead.

While Travis completed only 13 of 30 passes, he also used his arm in key late situations. With the game tied at 38 in the fourth quarter, Travis faced third-and-six and found Johnny Wilson for a 21-yard completion to extend the score that led to FSU’s game-winning run.

end with a bang

Florida State got off to a 4-0 start to move up to No. 1. 23 in the AP Top 25. Then came adversity. The pressure on Norville began to mount as the Knowles team lost three games in a row amid injuries. After losing back-to-back seasons to start his tenure, it looks like they might struggle to hit a bowl game in his third year. But since the bye week after a 34-28 loss to Clemson on Oct. 28. 15, ‘Noles was a perfect 5-0.

While some of these successes corresponded to shortened timelines, most of them were achieved in a dominant fashion. Entering Friday, four of FSU’s four-game winning streak came by 25 points or more. While dominance ended in a tight game against the Gators, the Seminoles showed their progress on the national showcase field against a formidable foe. With a bowl win, Florida State reached 10 for the first time since 2016, Kimbo Fisher’s penultimate year as coach.

missing receiver

Florida wide receivers Ja’Quavion Fraziars, Xzavier Henderson, Justin Shorter, Thai Chiaokhiao-Bowman and Marcus Burke are all out with injuries, leaving Richardson with few sure targets in the passing game. In their absence, Richardson only completed passes to three players, with the returning Ricky Pearsall his main target. The redshirt teenager set a new high for receiving yards with a 43-yard touchdown pass with 11:35 left in the second quarter. It was Richardson’s final hit with four minutes left in the game.

Still, the Gators managed to bounce back from a 14-point deficit on a strong fourth-quarter run. Trevor Etienne totaled 129 yards and 17 touchdowns, including a 45-yard touchdown, to tie the game with 7:41 remaining. MontrĂ©al Johnson Jr. added 85 yards and scored on the ground, while Richardson rushed for 41 yards. If the Gators can get healthier at receiver in their bowling game, their offense could be a lot less offensive than what most of Friday’s game demonstrated.

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