Florida State Seminoles football had every reason to crumble against Louisville on Friday night.
On the road, facing a raucous crowd that always enjoys making the Seminoles miserable, FSU lost possibly its best defensive player (defensive end Jared Verse), potentially best offensive lineman (Robert Scott) and likely best player on the roster (Jordan Travis.) Florida State had started off hot, but cooled off a bit as Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham worked his magic.
Somehow, someway, Florida State persevered through all of that, riding the talents of wide receiver Johnny Wilson and the Seminoles’ running back room to escape Cardinal Stadium with a 35-31 victory.
It certainly did not come easy — with just under two minutes left in the game, kicker Ryan Fitzgerald missed his second field goal of the game, giving Louisville one final chance to fight back and try to beat FSU for the third year in the row.
Instead, quarterback Tate Rodemaker rose to the occasion, bouncing back from a forgettable start to lead the Seminoles on three separate scoring drives.
His job became a bit easier thanks to the talents of Wilson and backs Treshaun Ward, Lawrance Toafili and Trey Benson — especially Ward, who managed to be the deciding factor in keeping the Seminoles afloat.
Florida State is now 3-0 for the first time since 2015, in addition to 1-0 in the ACC for the first time since 2015 as well.
Florida State takes on the Boston College Eagles next Saturday in Tallahassee at 8 p.m.