FSU had to overcome a slow start, going down 21-7 early to Jacksonville State. Regaining momentum and getting their first win, 41-24.
The Noles tried true freshman Tate Rodemaker out at quarterback first. It did not go well. After an interception was returned for a score and 3 consecutive punts, Florida State switched to junior Jordan Travis.
Travis had been nursing an injury all week. He was getting snaps with the ones, but they were limited. After the team fell behind by multiple scores, head coach Mike Norvell made the change.
The big knock on Travis has been his arm. We have seen how dynamic he can be on the run, but not a lot of him throwing the ball. Those worries were all but dispelled on Saturday, as Travis went 12/17 with 217 yards and a score.
The air game also produced five plays that went for 20 yards or more. Ontaria Wilson led all receivers with 7 catches and 83 yards. Yes, there were many screens and short passes, but we did see a lot of promise from Travis’s deep ball.
A full week of practice should help add that phase before the team heads to South Bend to take on fifth-ranked Notre Dame.
The run game was also a major way this Seminoles offense was able to regain the momentum. Freshman Lawrance Toafili led the way with 99 yards on 12 carries and a score, but he wasn’t the only back with a great game.
Toafili is going to become a problem for the opposition as this man grows into his own. His ability to hit the hole quick and with force, combined with his vision, is outstanding, especially as a true freshman.
The defense got behind the ball as well in this game. Two of the three initial scores were from the Gamecocks’ offense. Giving big plays through the run and the air were killers for the Noles.
But after the offense tied the game at 21, a field goal is all this defense would give up in the second half.
The front seven were able to hold the Jacksonville State running game to under 100 yards. Aside from the big plays in the first half, the Gamecocks were kept at bay in the final minutes.
Asante Samuel, Jr got his 3rd interception in four games, as the secondary finally played well as a unit.
We know it was an FCS school, and FSU is supposed to handle them pretty well, but once the team came together, and playmakers started making plays, this game belonged to the Noles.
The team has moved on from safety Cyrus Fagan, as his play had been subpar for a while, and his attitude had reportedly been the same. He will enter the transfer portal.
Travis will get the start against Notre Dame this week, which will be a big-time game. Hopefully, the Noles can take some of this momentum, ride it into Indiana, and keep it close.
Look for a heavy dose of Toafili and Webb next week and an uptick in Corbin’s use in the passing game. All three played very well, and if the line can come together and make some holes for them against the stingy Irish defense, the game could be a lot closer than Vegas thinks.
Follow me on Twitter @davisjosh20 for more of my content
And follow @OT_Heroics!