Florida State football rode takeaways and their running game to a 56-35 win over Duke Saturday night. The return of Jordan Travis sparked the ‘Noles to a big scoring night, as they scored their most points against an ACC opponent since 2014. FSU posted 522 total yards and 8.2 yards per play. Most of that work came on the ground, as Florida State posted 324 rushing yards, FSU’s first 300-yard rushing game since 2017 vs. ULM. Here are our observations from the Seminoles’ first win since October:
- Jordan Travis returned to the field today for his first game action since November 7th. It didn’t take long for him to knock off the rust, looking crisp early. He started the game with a long scramble, before dropping a pretty ball in Ontaria Wilson’s bucket for a big gain on the second drive. He finished the night with 192 yards through the air on 13-18 passing with two TD’s.
Travis broke the school’s single season rushing record by a QB, as he had a big day on the ground, running for 90 yards on 12 carries. With every game he’s healthy, it becomes more and more apparent Travis needs to be part of FSU’s future in some form. He’s as gifted a runner and an athlete as they come.
- Mike Norvell had three+ weeks off of play calling, but he had no rust on his first drive back. The Seminoles struck for a touchdown on their opening, scripted drive, once again. Much of the yardage came off Travis’ creativity. The QB scrambled for 25 yards on the first play, before taking a read option six yards, and lastly finding Ja’Khi Douglas for a TD off a triple option throw. The opening drive was a prime display of the capabilities of Travis’ legs and Norvell’s playbook, as has been the case most of the season.
- With the absence of La’Damian Webb, Jashaun Corbin was called on in a big way, and he responded early on. Corbin put together a two-touchdown first quarter, as he bounced off tacklers for both touchdowns. FSU’s running back room is filled with different skill sets, but all three contributors have shown they’re hard runners and not afraid of contact. Corbin once again shined in the Wildcat role for Norvell, as he ran in two TD’s out of the formation behind the blocking of freshman linebacker/fullback DJ Lundy. Corbin finished the night with 88 total yards and three TDs.
- Lawrance Toafili had fewer touches than Corbin, but the production was still there in a big way. Toafili’s play of the night came in the fourth quarter, as he broke loose for a 73-yard touchdown run. The freshman showed off his vision and breakaway speed, as he was never touched on the run. He also showed his abilities as a receiver, hauling in 3 receptions for 26 yards. He finished the night with 143 total yards, while rushing for an average of 16.7 yards per carry.
- With FSU down many WRs, freshman RB/WR Ja’Khi Douglas saw lots of time at wideout, and he made the most of it. Douglas found the end zone twice, first off a triple option read from Travis, before connecting on a shot play in the fourth quarter. The freshman broke free down the middle of the field and trotted into the end zone for a 68-yard TD. Douglas led the ‘Noles with 77 yards receiving.
- Kentron Poitier was another freshman called upon with Florida State down to just five scholarship receivers. The freshman showed some of the ability he flashed in fall practice. Poitier put together a nice drive in the first quarter, drawing a defensive pass interference on a shot play, before coming back to the ball and making a difficult sideline catch. The catch came in a crucial moment, with the ‘Noles facing third down. Poitier is just a little part of the youth movement going on through the program. It was just a couple plays, but they showed the potential and development FSU players are going through.
- Preferred walk-on Treshaun Ward got his chance today with Webb out, and he took advantage. The running back took his first touch of the day for a 26-yard touchdown run, as he burst through a gap in the Duke defense. Ward saw significant action in the Sun Bowl vs. Arizona State last season, but the TD was his first. Ward also broke a 28-yard run in the fourth quarter. FSU’s top three RB’s all posted 50+ yards on the ground.
He’s got the right last name to be scoring at Doak Campbell: Treshaun Ward shows off the jets pic.twitter.com/hkDt3hV4P2— Tomahawk Nation (@TomahawkNation) December 12, 2020
- FSU’s offense was productive for most of the night, but the second quarter was abysmal. The first play resulted in a turnover, as Corbin fumbled the ball. Later in the quarter, Travis made an ill-advised throw that was snatched out of the air by a Duke defensive back. When the Seminoles weren’t turning the ball over, they still weren’t doing much of anything. FSU often got behind the chains, leading to obvious passing-downs, where the ‘Noles have struggled mightily. After a 28-point first quarter, the Seminoles posted just 27 total yards on 12 plays in the second quarter.