Facing off against the North Alabama Lions on Senior Night and the Seminoles’ final home game of the season, Florida State went down two scores then reeled off 58 straight points to move to 11-0 (8-0 ACC) on the season heading into next week’s game against the Florida Gators.
It was a hard start for Florida State that got even rougher when quarterback Jordan Travis was dragged down on a 17-yard rush, suffering a serious leg injury that resulted in him being carted off the field and taken to the hospital.
After Tate Rodemaker came in and led a drive that ended in a field goal, Florida State punted on its next drive — then scored on touchdowns on three straight drives, punted and turned the ball over on downs, and scored three straight again.
Seven different players were responsible for touchdowns on offense tonight (Trey Benson, Lawrance Toafili, Caziah Homes, CJ Campbell and Brock Glenn rushing, with Tate Rodemaker hitting Holmes on a screen and Keon Coleman on a 24-yard connection), with the Seminoles taking advantage of ideal field goal position and turnovers courtesy of a Florida State defense that shut out North Alabama after that 13-0 start.
What went right
As written in 5 questions, 5 answers, while the redshirt junior wasn’t particularly lights out (not helped by dropped passes) but showcased a familiarity with the offense that at the very least reaffirms his ability to execute the system. He led six scoring drives (technically seven, but that final one was a 70-yard touchdown by CJ Campbell Jr.) and set career highs with 13 completions and 217 yards and tied a career-high with two touchdowns. While his career at Florida State started shaky after being thrust into action way too early and having his confidence shaken, last year’s comeback win over Louisville put him back in the right head space and showcased what he can do with the weapons the Seminoles have.
Four different Florida State running backs scored in the win, and along with Brock Glenn’s touchdown run in the fourth, it marked the second time in the Mike Norvell era (2022 vs. Duquesne, when Rodney Hill, Treshaun Ward, Benson, Toafili and Travis all found the end zone). Trey Benson, who didn’t take the field again after being shaken up by a hit on the sideline, earned the first of the night (for both the backs and the team overall) while Lawrance Toafili, Caziah Holmes and CJ Campbell Jr. all impressed in their own right.
Holmes showcased his ability in both the rush and pass game, with his first touchdown a 3-yard score following a 13-yard rush to set up the touchdown and the second a 26-yard scamper on a screen pass. Campbell Jr. had the offensive play of the game by reeling off a 70-yard touchdown to kick off the fourth quarter. The run game, even more so than the necessity of having a balanced attack, is going to have become an essential part of Florida State’s offense moving forward to offset the loss of Travis’ production in that area and while it hasn’t been FSU’s forte this season, the talent and proof of production is there.
What went wrong
It was a disappointing night on the part of Florida State’s pass catchers, who did Rodemaker no favors as he tried to manage the moment of taking over for Travis. Johnny Wilson, Jaheim Bell and Kyle Morlock were amongst the infractors. Toafili actually led the Seminoles in receptions with four, with Wilson and Keon Coleman the only receivers to catch more than a single pass (Bell had two receptions.
Jordan Travis’ injury
At risk of stating the obvious — losing a potential Heisman Trophy finalist to a horrific injury is bad. As discussed above Rodemaker has enough talent and experience in the Florida State system for the Seminoles to not implode, but to illustrate how much the loss of Travis impacts FSU for the rest of the season, Florida State’s odds to win the national championship dropped to +2500 (according to DraftKings) after his injury — before kickoff, they were +950.