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Travis steps in at QB, “sparks” Florida State offense

Redshirt sophomore quarterback takes offense in new direction with his dual-threat ability against JSU

Don Juan Moore

Florida State was approaching a dire situation.

Down 14-0 to FCS-opponent Jacksonville State, the Seminole offense had mustered just one drive past midfield and only 55 total yards midway through the second quarter.

As they did against Georgia Tech and Miami, the FSU coaching staff turned to redshirt sophomore quarterback Jordan Travis to try his hand directing the flailing unit. Unlike the first two games this season when he was only granted a few package plays, against the Gamecocks, Travis was given the keys to the offense.

It only took the dual-threat playmaker a few snaps to rev the car up and ignite the engine in Mike Norvell’s first win as head coach. On a second and short, Travis rolled out and hit a bomb to streaking junior wideout Keyshawn Helton for a 41-yard touchdown on his first pass of the afternoon.

“The completion to Keshawn, that gave me a lot of confidence, for sure,” Travis said. “That was a great feeling. I’ve been going through a lot, hearing a bunch of different things about my arm.”

From there, it was a brand-new game for Florida State (1-2, 0-2 ACC). The only things said or heard about Travis’s arm, and his overall play, were lofty compliments as he led FSU to 4 more touchdowns during the second and third quarters. The former Louisville transfer hit 12 of his 17 passes for 210 yards, consistently making clutch plays on third and fourth down (FSU went 11/17 for the game).

“When the moment was there, he was definitely on point, hit some unbelievable throws downfield, was a tremendous spark for the offense, and really our entire football team,” said Norvell.

Obviously, it was a strong performance from the offensive unit as a whole once the change was made at signal-caller. When Travis entered the game, the Florida State offense rallied for 5 straight touchdown drives on 5 possessions. That was the first time the Noles have accomplished the feat since 2017, a 77-6 victory against Delaware State in Jimbo Fisher’s second-to-last game as head coach.

The little brother of former FSU baseball great Devon Travis, Jordan seems to bring a version of his sibling’s baseball mentality to the gridiron. After the game, the younger Travis said his older brother has “helped him a lot with his entire life”, and shown him that “positivity can take you a long, long way.”

“Just go play football. Go have fun, go play football,” said Travis. “That’s all you gotta do, you gotta go out and have fun.”

Mental approaches weren’t the only thing working for Travis on Saturday; his legs reinvigorated Florida State’s offense against the Gamecocks. His 48 rushing yards and a touchdown on 11 carries don’t jump off the stat-sheet, but several members of the team including Norvell and redshirt senior offensive lineman Devontay Love-Taylor commented on the “spark” Travis provided with his dual-threat abilities.

“It changes the defensive line’s rush a lot, because now they have to respect the draw, so that might change up if they’re running twists or not because they don’t wanna leave holes in the middle and they know he’ll take off,” Love-Taylor explained. “Or even if protection breaks down, he can get out of it and use his legs to create a play.”

“I think he provides another threat,” Norvell added. “I thought he did a good job in the run game forcing the defense to account for him, he did a good job of taking the perimeter when he had opportunities to do that.”

Adding to Travis’ heroics for FSU were the state of his health, and his availability in practice this past week. Travis said his knee was “banged up” and Norvell said he actually didn’t practice a majority of the week.

Florida State takes on #5 Notre Dame (2-0) this Saturday, and conventional wisdom would lead Seminole faithful to believe Travis will see heavy action moving forward. After the game Saturday, Norvell didn’t peg Travis as the official starter just yet, but he reiterated again that Travis was a “spark” with his play in the 41-24 victory against Jacksonville State.

“I’ve seen him go out there and throw the ball with great velocity, with great accuracy. Tonight, you saw the fundamentals really carry over into the game. Coupled with not really being able to practice much this week, that is a tremendous compliment to the young man, to stay focused on those little things,” said Norvell.

“Just really, really proud of that young man, he seized the moment.”