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FSU to play Oklahoma Sooners in Cheez-It Bowl

Seminole set for first postseason appearance under Mike Norvell

Charles Mays/Tomahawk Nation

It’s time to get cheesy.

The No. 13 Florida State Seminoles (9-3, 5-3 ACC) are headed to Cheez-It Bowl to face off against the Oklahoma Sooners (6-6, 3-6), the first postseason game of head coach Mike Norvell’s tenure in Tallahassee.

The news was first reported by Action Network’s Brett McMurphy.

It’s FSU’s first bowl appearance since 2019, when the Noles lost to the Arizona State Sun Devils in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl while Odell Haggins served as interim coach.

The Cheez-It Bowl, then known as the Blockbuster Bowl, was first played in Miami Gardens, with Florida State playing and winning in its debut, taking down No. 7 Penn State 24-17 in December of 1990.

Now held in Orlando, FSU currently holds a 2-0 record in The City of Light while participating in the game, its last appearance being an 18-14 win against Notre Dame in 2011 when the exhibition was called the Champs Sports Bowl.

FSU last faced off against the Sooners in 2011, a 23-13 loss for the Seminoles. Oklahoma leads the all-time series 6-1.

It’s FSU’s first game vs. a Big 12 opponent since its 2014 season opener vs. the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

The game will be a chance for FSU to secure 10 wins in a season for the first time since 2016.

According to DraftKings, FSU is currently an 8-point favorite over the Sooners with the over/under set at 62.

Standouts DE Jared Verse and S Jammie Robinson announced their intention to play on December 29, both of whom are eligible for the 2023 draft.

With trips to cities in Florida outside Gainesville and Miami rare for the Seminoles, playing in Camping World Stadium to end 2022 and opening up in the same venue against the LSU Tigers in 2023 will be an opportunity further to showcase the FSU brand in the Sunshine State.

Florida State vs. Oklahoma kicks off Thursday, December 29 at 5:30 p.m. ET at Camping World Stadium and will be broadcast live on ESPN.

The full release from Florida State is below:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 13 Florida State has been selected to play in the Cheez-It Bowl against Oklahoma on Dec. 29, it was announced Sunday.

FSU is making its 49th bowl appearance and will play in the Cheez-It Bowl, formerly the Blockbuster and Champs Sports Bowl, for the fourth time. Florida State is 3-0 in the Cheez-It Bowl, tied for the most wins in bowl history. The Seminoles are the only team to make at least three appearances in the bowl without a loss. Florida State defeated No. 7 Penn State in the 1990 Blockbuster Bowl, the first game in what is now the Cheez-It Bowl’s history, and also has two wins while it was the Champs Sports Bowl, defeating Wisconsin 42-13 in 2008 and Notre Dame 18-14 in 2011. The Cheez-It Bowl will be the fifth postseason matchup between Florida State and Oklahoma, with FSU winning the Gator Bowl on Jan. 2, 1965, and Oklahoma earning wins in the Orange Bowl following the 1979, 1980 and 2000 seasons. FSU is 6-4 in bowl games against current Big 12 teams.

“We are very pleased to be going to the Cheez-It Bowl,” said Florida State Vice President and Director of Athletics Michael Alford. “We know that our student-athletes will have a phenomenal experience as the Cheez-It Bowl and the city of Orlando are known for their wonderful hospitality. This matchup of two of the most respected brands in college sports will be a national showcase for both programs, the ACC and Big 12.”

The Seminoles, who remained ranked 13th by the College Football Playoff committee and moved up to 13th in the Associated Press and Coaches polls this week, enter the bowl game with a 9-3 overall record. Florida State has won five consecutive games, the program’s longest streak since 2016, and has scored at least 38 points in each game, FSU’s longest stretch since the first 11 games of the 2013 season. The Seminoles swept Miami and Florida in the same season, scoring 45 against both for the first time in program history, and claimed their 11th state championship since 1993.

“I am so excited for our team to be selected to play in the Cheez-It Bowl,” head coach Mike Norvell said. “They have earned this opportunity through hard work, toughness and resiliency this whole year, and I’m incredibly grateful to have one more opportunity to be on the field coaching this year’s team. Playing in the state of Florida will be great for our fans to create an incredible environment during the week and at Camping World Stadium. We are looking forward to this matchup and the opportunity to continue on our CLIMB as a program.”

Florida State is the only team in the country ranked in the top-10 in yards per play average on both offense and defense. The Seminoles are ninth nationally with an average of 6.86 yards gained per play and 10th with an average of 4.73 yards allowed per play. FSU is also one of four teams ranked in the top-20 in total defense, scoring defense, total offense and scoring offense. Florida State ranks 14th in the country holding opponents to an average of 307.3 yards per game, 16th allowing 19.7 points per game, 13th with an average of 475.7 yards per game and 17th scoring an average of 36.2 points per game.

Florida State is first in the ACC and third nationally in pass defense, holding opponents to an average of 158.9 yards per game through the air, and are first in the conference and sixth in the country holding opponents to an average of 5.9 yards per pass attempt. The Seminoles have rushed for at least 200 yards in a school-record-tying seven straight games, the longest active streak in the nation and the program’s longest since 1987, and lead the ACC in yards per rush and rushing offense, ranking 10th in the country with an average of 5.50 yards per rush and 12th in the country gaining an average of 217.8 rushing yards per game. FSU is one of five teams in the country and the only team in the ACC averaging at least 250 passing yards and at least 210 rushing yards per game.

The Seminoles have showcased an explosive and efficient offense this season as Florida State leads the nation with 88 plays of at least 20 yards and lead the ACC and rank third nationally in third-down percentage, converting 51.9 percent of their opportunities. Florida State has scored on 26 of 28 red zone possessions during its current five-game winning streak and ranks second in the conference this season with a 70.5 touchdown percentage in the red zone. FSU also is first in the ACC and 11th nationally with an average of 13.94 yards per completion, second in the conference and 22nd nationally in pass efficiency defense and third in the ACC and 20th in the country in pass efficiency on offense.