FSU Outlasts Oklahoma in Back-and-Forth Cheez-It Bowl

ORLANDO, Fla. — Jordan Travis passed for a career-high 418-yards and two touchdowns to lead the Seminoles to a 35-32 win over the Oklahoma Sooners on Thursday night in Orlando in the Cheez-It Bowl.

Here’s how it all went down at Camping World Stadium.

Oklahoma won the toss and deferred to the second half. FSU would receive the opening kickoff and took a touchback to start their opening possession at the 25-yard line.

It took them just four plays to get across the 50-yard line and just five plays to get into the red zone. However, this is where things would fizzle out for the Noles, as a first and goal from the five would amount to a 22-yard Ryan Fitzgerald field goal. Giving FSU the early 3-0 lead with only 3:34 expired in the game.

The Sooners’ first drive would start from their own 25-yard line. Their first offensive play of the game would be a pass to the right side, which sailed on Sooner QB Dillon Gabriel. Soon after, they would face a 3rd and 6, which Gabriel would convert with a 10-yard connection with Brayden Willis.

That was all the spack they needed to get rolling on a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Gabriell capped the drive with a 22-yard dart to the back right of the endzone for Jalil Farooq.

The Noles ensuing possession would stall out before getting to mid-field. They would then elect to go for it on a 4th and one from their own 44-yard line. A rush to the left side by Trey Benson would be thwarted by the Sooner defense as they forced a one-yard loss resulting in a loss of downs.

FSU would return the favor with a defensive stand to force a quick 3-and-out, which included a seven-yard sack from Jared Verse.

Following a Seminole three-and-out, the Sooners got back rolling, helped with a 21-yard punt return from Marvin Mims Jr. to put the ball at the FSU 49. Gabriel would see through the drive with an eight-yard QB keeper to the right sideline for the score. This made it 14-3 Boomer with 14:31 left in the 1st half.

FSU would again fail to convert another 4th down conversion on their following possession. This gave the Sooners a 1st and ten at their own 43-yard line.

Then, like lighting, four plays later, Gabriel hit Mims Jr. for 46 yards down the left sideline for a toe-tap grab. This made it 1st and 10 from the Noles 16-yard line. However, a holding penalty on 1st down would make it a 1st and 20 from the 26. This would then turn into a 45-yard field goal attempt from Zach Schmit, which would sail just wide left.

Florida State would then take advantage of the slight momentum shift, as Jordan Travis led the Noles on a six-play 72-yard scoring drive to draw near. It would be a 16-yard rope to the back left corner of the endzone, where it met Ontaria Wilson’s gloves as he toe-tapped in for the score. They would then convert the two-point conversion, drawing within three with 7:18 left in the half.

With momentum clearly shifting, the Seminoles’ defense came out strong and got pressure into the backfield on all three plays, and added a fourth sack of the game to force a quick three-and-out.

After an empty drive for the Noles, Oklahoma took over at their 11, with only 1:39 left in the half. They quickly got to work with Gavin Sawchuk starting things off with a 25-yard carry. It was the first of six carries that set the Sooners up in position for a 41-yard Zach Schmit field goal to make it 17-11 before halftime. The Noles would miss on a 54-yard attempt the other way from Fitzgerald as time expired.

Oklahoma would receive the opening half kickoff, and started their first possession of the second half from their own 25-yard line. After a lone first down on the drive, converted on a 4th and short, they would be forced to punt. The Noles first possession of the half would start at their own 6-yard line.

After converting twice on third down, the Noles found their way into a goal-to-go situation. On 2nd down from the one-yard line, Treshaun Ward took it from the gun and rushed through a hole to the right center of the line into the endzone. This gave the Seminoles an 18-17 with 5:33 left in the 3rd quarter.

On the ensuing next two possessions, Oklahoma and FSU would fail to convert on 4th down. As we entered the 4th quarter, the Sooners had the ball 1st and 11 at their own 29-yard line, trailing by one.

Then the lights started to shine a little brighter as the two teams kicked things into high gear. Gabriel put one on a line to Mimms Jr. for a 31-yard gain to make it 1st and 10 at the FSU 40. Five plays later, the Sooners found themselves back in front on a 15-yard Gavin Sawchuk scamper up the middle. Gabriel would connect with Brayden Willis for the two-point conversion. This made it 25-18 Sooners with 13:22 left to play.

It was then the Seminoles’ turn to answer. They struck like lightning, going 75 yards in six plays, with Ward gashing the defense for a 38-yard scamper to the house. The drive took just over two minutes off the clock, and tied things up at 25.

On the ensuing Sooner possession, a turnover would prove costly on a 3rd and 2 from the FSU 41. Omarion Cooper forced the fumble for the Noles on Oklahoma’s Sawchuk, and Jammie Robinson recovered the loose ball for the Noles.

Travis went back to work, leading the Seminoles on a six-pay, 68-yard drive, capping it off with a 17-yard TD pass to Markeston Douglas. Florida State took a 32-25 lead with just 7:22 left to play.

The excitement wasn’t over yet, though. Gabriel and the Sooner offense marched right down the field and tied it up. Gabriel tallied a 23-yard carry, and the two plays later hit Farooq for a 28-yard completion to get into the red zone. Three plays later, runningback Jovantae Barnes took it in for the 12-yard game-tying score.

With 3:37 left to play, the Noles’ had plenty of time to get back on top. After a two-yard rush from Trey Benson, Jordan Travis launched one down the right sideline to Johnny Wilson, who had Sooners defender Justin Broiles all over him in man coverage. Wilson was able to coral it one-handed for a 58-yard gain, putting FSU at the Oklahoma 15-yard line.

The Noles would elect for three consecutive carries, which led to a 4th and nine at the Sooner 14. They would elect for the 32-yard field goal from Fitzgerald, which sailed through to give FSU a 35-32 lead with only 55 seconds left to play.

The Sooners would find their way past midfield, and the 32-yarder from Fitzgerald would be the game-winner from Orlando.




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