ORLANDO, Fla. – After rebuilding Florida State’s program over the past few years, coach Mike Norvell will take a moment to savor the No. 13 Seminoles’ 35-32 victory over Oklahoma in the Cheez-It Bowl. Then, he said, it’s time to get back to work.
“I know what we had to come through as a program,” Norvell said. “It was hard. And we know what’s ahead. And it’s going to be work. There’s no limits to what we can accomplish, and I’m going to push them until we get to ultimately where I know we can go.”
Jordan Travis threw for 418 yards and two touchdowns Thursday night to lead Florida State to its 10th win of the season in a game that saw 1,083 total yards of offense and four second-half lead changes.
Johnny Wilson made a one-handed grab for a 58-yard gain to set up Ryan Fitzgerald’s 32-yard field goal with 55 seconds left. The Seminoles (10-3) held on, sacking quarterback Dillon Gabriel on the Sooners’ comeback bid.
Jovante Barnes tied it at 32 for Oklahoma (6-7) with 3:37 left on a 12-yard run. That was after Travis fired a 17-yard pass to tight end Markeston Douglas in the end zone to put the Seminoles up 32-25 midway through the fourth. The Seminoles had gotten the ball off an Oklahoma fumble.
Treshaun Ward’s 1-yard rushing touchdown late in the third quarter gave the Seminoles an 18-17 lead — their first advantage since leading 3-0 in the opening quarter. Travis converted two third downs to guide Florida’s State 94 yards on the 15-play drive.
The Sooners went up 25-18 with 13:22 left on 25-yard run by freshman Gavin Sawchuk and a successful 2-point conversion.
Florida State needed just two minutes to go 75 yards to tie it at 25, with Ward taking the ball 38 yards into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game.
Florida State won its first bowl since the 2017 season, and its first under Norvell.
Travis, who has already announced his intention to return to the team for the 2023 season, became the 11th player in program history to pass for 3,000-plus yards in a season.
Travis also had seven carries for 50 yards rushing. He said despite his big game, he has more in him.
“We’re not done yet,” Travis said. “This is just the beginning. We have another chapter. This is the end of the chapter this year, but we still have a lot to do. I have a lot of plans for next year, a lot of goals. I can’t wait.
Treshaun Ward had 81 yards on 10 carries for Florida State, and Wilson had a season-high 202 yards on eight catches.
The Seminoles won their final five games of the regular season, scoring at least 38 points in all of them. Florida State was 5-3 in conference play with its first winning season since 2017, which also was Jimbo Fisher’s last year coaching the team before taking the head coaching job at Texas A&M.
Oklahoma, making its 24th straight bowl appearance, lost its first bowl game since the 2019 season.
It was a disappointing end to a disappointing season for the storied program that is looking to establish its post-Lincoln Riley identity after he took Southern California’s coaching job after last season.
“A challenging season, but I know the type of men that we have in that locker room,” said Oklahoma’s first-year coach Brent Venables, ”and for me, that’s what I hang my hat on in regards to, we’ll be fine.”
Oklahoma won its first three games but lost three of its final four, missing the Big 12 title game for the second straight season.
Gabriel, a transfer from UCF, completed 14 of 24 passes for 243 yards and one TD. He also had a rushing score in the second quarter.
“I want to do whatever it takes for this team to win,” Gabriel said. “Obviously, it’s a little frustrating when it doesn’t happen.”
Florida State: The Seminoles were successful in getting pressure on Brooks in passing situations, recording six sacks.
Oklahoma: Despite missing four starting offensive linemen, the Sooners had 253 total yards of rushing.
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