Florida State has been part of some of the most-watched games in college football season, a reflection of the brand the school has built and the improvement showcased on the field throughout a successful 2022 season.
The Seminoles’ season finale was a matchup vs. the Oklahoma Sooners in the Cheez-It Bowl, where the two played a thrilling, down-to-the-wire game that saw Florida State secure 10 wins on the year for the first time since 2016.
A game between two major names featuring two talented quarterbacks in FSU’s Jordan Travis and Oklahoma’s Dillan Gabriel was intriguing enough for viewers to watch in droves, making it the most watched of this year’s bowl games heading into the New Year’s Six and College Football Playoff matchups.
Ahead of another big day for @ESPNCFB, here are ESPN's most-watched bowls to date during this @BowlSeason ⬇️— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) December 31, 2022
1⃣ @CheezItBowl | 5.4M viewers
2⃣ @valeroalamobowl | 4.8M viewers
3⃣ @AZOLibertyBowl | 3.9M viewers
4⃣ @GasparillaBowl | 3.5M viewers
5⃣ @PinstripeBowl | 2.7M viewers pic.twitter.com/YiibiFwp7j
Two of college football’s traditional powers — FSU and Oklahoma — delivered the largest audience of the bowl season thus far.
Thursday’s Florida State-Oklahoma college football bowl game averaged 5.4 million viewers on ESPN, marking the largest audience of the current bowl season...FSU’s win jumped 10% from Clemson-Iowa State in the same window last year (4.90M). Ratings were not immediately available. Nor were figures for the competing NFL Thursday Night Football game on Amazon.
Florida State was one of the most viewed teams in college football this year, with three different matchups in the regular season (LSU, Clemson and Florida) being amongst the top 3 watched that week and the game vs. Louisville being the most watched Friday game on ESPN in four years.
— FSU Seminoles (@Seminoles) December 31, 2022
▪️ vs. LSU: 3rd most viewed opening Sunday game ever.
▪️ at Louisville: ESPN's 2nd-most watched Friday game since 2018.
▪️ vs. UF: Most watched Friday game on ABC since 2005.
▪️ vs. Oklahoma: Most watched bowl game this year.#OneTribe pic.twitter.com/XYnF6h2znt
Some game notes, via FSU Sports Info:
» No. 13 Florida State improved to 4-0 in the Cheez-It Bowl after beating Oklahoma, 35-32, Thursday night at Camping World Stadium. Formerly the Blockbuster & Champs Sports Bowl, FSU’s four wins are the most in the bowl’s history.
» FSU is now 30-17-2 all-time in bowl games, including a 7-4 mark against current members of the Big 12. The Noles are 24-15 against current Big 12 teams.
» FSU finished the 2022 season 10-3, the 25th 10-win season in program history and first since 2016.
» FSU ended the year on a six-game winning streak, tied for the 5th-longest active streak nationally and FSU’s longest since winning the first six games of 2015.
» For the first time in school history, FSU won games on four different days of the week in a season (Sunday vs. LSU; Friday at Louisville; Thursday vs. Oklahoma). FSU is 15-12 all-time on Thursday.
» The Cheez-It Bowl was FSU’s first win over Oklahoma since a 36-19 win in the Gator Bowl on January 2, 1965.
» Quarterback Jordan Travis was the MVP after setting a career high with 418 passing yards, the third 400-yard passing game in Cheez-It Bowl history; the 18th-most passing yards in FSU history; and the 2nd-most passing yards for FSU in a bowl game, behind only Peter Tom Willis’s 422 vs. Nebraska in the 1990 Fiesta Bowl.
» Travis was 27-for-38 with two touchdown passes. Travis’s 3,214 passing yards rank 7th on FSU’s single-season list; his 226 completions rank 14th; and his 24 touchdowns are tied for 10th.
» After announcing he would return to FSU for the 2023 season, Travis ranks 11th in program history with 5,888 career passing yards; 12th with 426 completions; and 9th with 45 passing touchdowns.
» Travis also ran for 50 yards against the Sooners and ranks 20th in FSU history with 1,734 career rush yards. His 70 total career touchdowns (45 passing, 24 rushing, 1 receiving) are 4th in school history and just 11 behind No. 1 Chris Weinke.
» Travis has completed at least 60 percent of his passes in 13 of his past 17 games. » Travis became the 11th Seminole with a 3,000-yard passing season on a 13-yard completion to Johnny Wilson on 3rd-and-8.
» Travis’s 468 yards of total offense are the 9th-highest in a game at FSU; his 3,631 yards of offense are 5th in a single season, and his 7,622 career yards at FSU are 6th in school history.
» Wide receiver Johnny Wilson set a Cheez-It Bowl record, FSU bowl record and career high with 202 receiving yards. Wilson’s 202 yards are the most in a bowl game this season and the 13th-most in FSU history, while his eight catches were also a career high. Wilson finished 2022 with three 100-yard receiving games. » Running back Treshaun Ward led FSU with 81 rushing yards, including his sixth and seventh rushing scores of the season. Ward’s second touchdown went 38 yards to tie the game in the fourth quarter, the longest touchdown of his career. Ward’s two touchdowns tied his career high.
» Wide receiver Ontaria Wilson caught five passes for 74 yards, including a 16 yard touchdown. Wilson ended his FSU career with 108 catches, 1,521 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns. Wilson’s touchdown was his second in a bowl game after a threeyard run in the 2019 Sun Bowl vs. Arizona State.
» FSU’s six sacks were a season high and tied for the 2nd-most in a bowl game in program history. The last time FSU had at least six sacks was in 2019 against Syracuse, when the Noles had seven. Jared Verse led FSU with 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss and ends the year with a team-best 9.0 sacks and 17.0 tackles for loss. Verse and Dennis Briggs Jr. combined for a sack on the Oklahoma’s final play of the game.
» Verse is the only player in the ACC with four games with at least 2.5 TFLs this season.
» Defensive back Jammie Robinson had a game-high 13 tackles, including 1.0 sack, one pass breakup and one fumble recovery. It was his 13th career double-digit tackle game and he finished with 99 tackles this season. His fumble recovery was the first of his career and FSU’s fifth consecutive game with a takeaway
» Leonard Warner and Omarion Cooper both forced the first fumble of their careers.
» Florida State scored on 19 of 26 first drives of a half this season, including a field goal and touchdown against Oklahoma. FSU scored 16 touchdowns on those 19 scoring drives for a total of 119 points. The Seminoles lead the ACC and are 3rd in the country with a 61.5 percent touchdown rate on opening drives of a half.
» Florida State had nine plays of at least 20 yards, including five completions from Travis to Johnny Wilson. The Noles ended the season with 97 plays of at least 20 yards, the 2nd-most in the country and one behind the national leader.
» Running back Trey Benson finished his season with 990 rushing yards, 14th-most in FSU single-season history. His 1,326 all-purpose yards are 18th in single-season history.
» Kicker Ryan Fitzgerald scored nine points, including the game-winning 32-yard field goal with 55 seconds remaining. He is 19th in school history with 184 career points.
» FSU finished the year with 2,783 rushing yards, the 5th most in team history and most since 2013. FSU’s 469 total points are 7th in program history; the 6,295 yards of total offense are 5th; and 5.47 yards per rush is 7th in a season. FSU’s 484.2 yards of offense per game rank 6th in team history.
» Milestones: Ontaria Wilson passes 1,500 career receiving yards; Johnny Wilson passed 1,100 career receiving yards; Renardo Green and Jarques McClellion both reached 100 career tackles.
» Miscellaneous: Treshaun Ward’s first touchdown of the night came from the wildcat formation and capped a 15-play drive, FSU’s longest of the season...freshman tight end Brian Courtney caught a two-point conversion, FSU’s second successful two-point try of the season...FSU trailed 14-3 in the second quarter before rallying for the victory. It was FSU’s seventh victory in a bowl game when trailing by at least 10 points and first since the 2014 BCS National Championship, when FSU trailed 21-3 before rallying for a 34-31 win over Auburn...FSU was 5-for-5 in the Red Zone.