Travis was all about having fun in FSU homecoming win

Receiver Deuce Spann (No. 5) goes airborne over Duke safety Jaylen Stinson during Saturday’s game at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Photo by Mike Ewen
Quarterback Jordan Travis finds a hole to pick up some yards against Duke during FSU’s homecoming victory.
Photo by Mike Ewen

Special to the Outlook

When coach Mike Norvell and quarterback Jordan Travis met a week before FSU facing Duke in the Seminoles’ homecoming game, the message to the quarterback was clear.

Norvell reminded Travis that she shouldn’t try to be the do-everything man and adding pressure to his situation. The advice was just to have fun.

That he seeming did against the Blue Devils.

“Winning is fun at the end of the day,” Travis said, following Saturday’s victory at Doak Campbell Stadium. “I would sacrifice the pressure and everything to win.”

FSU had to rally to win, scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter. Duke took a 20-17 lead into halftime. The locker room conversation wasn’t so much about adjusting as it was about being consistent, Travis said.

“We knew we had to keep chipping away,” he said. “Duke is a very good football team. We kept chipping away and we knew it had to pop at some point.”

The Seminole defense held Duke scoreless in the second half.

Travis was 27-of-36 passing for 268 yards and two touchdowns. He also was FSU’s leading rusher with 10 carries for 62 yards and a score. 

“It starts up front with the offensive line,” Travis said. “I appreciate them more than anything in the world. They fight through a lot of adversity and keep going.”

Receiver Jaheim Bell was Travis’ favorite target with eight catches for 53 yards. Johnny Wilson, who left the game in the fourth quarter, recording five receptions for 58 yards.

Blue Devil quarterback Leonard Riley was just 3-of-11 passing but controlled the ball most of the first half behind an effective Duke rushing attack. Henry Belin IV was 1 of 6 for seven yards at quarterback throughout the fourth quarter.  Jaquez Moore led the Devils with 16 carries for 100 yards.

Florida State churned out 420 yards of total offense to Duke’s 273 and would not let the Blue Devil’s defense get off the field converting 7-of-13 third down opportunities.

The win keeps FSU undefeated on the season with a 7-0 record and a 5-0 mark in the ACC.  It also extends the Seminoles’ unbeaten streak to 13 straight games, which include a six-game streak that closed the 2022 season.

Duke led off the scoring after Florida State was forced to punt on the opening possession. The Blue Devils took just six plays to cover 64 yards when running back Jaquez Moore slipped around the left end and raced 42 yards for a touchdown just over five minutes into the game.

Duke went up 10-0 with 6:48 in the first on a 45-yard field goal.  The Blue Devils took advantage of a short field after stuffing the Seminoles on a 4th-and-1 from their own 35-yard line.

FSU cut the lead to three with 13 seconds left in the first quarter when Travis hit Caziah Holmes in the right flat for a 7-yard touchdown.  The play capped a 13-play, 85-yard drive.

The Blue Devils extended their lead to 17-7 when defensive back Chandler Rivers intercepted a deflected pass and returned it 13 yards for a touchdown with 13:04 remaining in the half.

The lead would prove short-lived as Deuce Spann caught the ensuing kickoff at the one and returned it 99 yards to make the score 17-14.

Shyeim Brown laid out for an interception on a third and long when the Noles needed a big play, and Ryan Fitzgerald came on to kick a 32-yard field goal and tie the score with 7:31 left in the half when the drive stalled at Duke’s 22.

The Blue Devils took a 20-17 lead into the half on a 33-yard Todd Pelino field goal with 36 seconds left.

Travis completed 17-of-23 passes for 175 yards, one touchdown and had one interception in the first half.  Johnny Wilson led FSU receivers with four catches for 47 yards. Trey Benson had six carries for 18 yards as the Seminoles rushed for just 38 yards over the two quarters. 

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