Dec 8, 2019; Tallahassee, FL, USA; The new Florida State Seminoles head football coach Mike Norvell waves to the crowd with his daughter Mila while being introduced during a stoppage in play against the Clemson Tigers at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

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FSU rallies from 14 down to beat FCS Jacksonville St.

Quarterback Jordan Travis came off the bench to help the Florida State Seminoles rally past the Jacksonville State Gamecocks 41-24 on Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee, Fla.

FSU trailed 14-0 when they inserted Travis, a redshirt sophomore who led the Seminoles to five touchdowns on his first five drives.

Travis, who had never thrown a TD pass before Saturday, completed 12-of-17 passes for 210 yards and one touchdown. He also ran for 48 yards and one TD.

FSU (1-2) snapped a four-game losing streak, dating to last season. Mike Norvell, who missed last week’s loss to Miami after testing positive for COVID-19, won his first game as FSU’s coach.

JSU (0-1), an FCS program, entered as a 27-point underdog but led early thanks to quarterback Zerrick Cooper, a Clemson transfer. Cooper completed 22-of-29 passes for 232 yards with one interception.

FSU started the game with true freshman Tate Rodemaker at quarterback, benching James Blackman.

However, Rodemaker, the first FSU freshman QB starter since Blackman in 2017, completed just one of his first three passes — for zero yards — and also had a fumble (negated by penalty) and an interception returned for a score during that span. Rodemaker was benched after FSU had zero points on his four drives.

Jacksonville State led 14-0 after the first quarter, getting linebacker Kolbi Fuqua’s 13-yard interception return and Josh Samuel’s 20-yard run. On the latter play, the Gamecocks faked a jet sweep to the right while Samuel ended up tight-roping down the left sideline.

Fuqua (Auburn) and Samuel (Western Kentucky) are transfers who made their JSU debuts.

FSU cut its deficit to 14-7 on Travis’ 41-yard touchdown pass to Keyshawn Helton, who beat double coverage by coming back for the underthrown ball and then twisting his body into the end zone.

JSU led 21-7 after Cooper’s two-yard QB sneak. Cooper fumbled, but, after video review, it was ruled that the bobble came after he had scored.

Travis’ one-yard QB sneak — FSU’s first rushing touchdown of the season — cut JSU’s lead to 21-14 with 39 seconds left before halftime.

FSU tied the score 21-21 on La’Damian Webb’s spectacular 15-yard run just over a minute into the third quarter. Webb took a hit at the five, spun and used his right hand to keep his knee from hitting the ground.

After a JSU field goal, FSU took its first lead, 28-24, on Lawrance Toafili’s 13-yard run around right end with 5:41 left in the third.

Webb’s six-yard TD run gave FSU a 34-24 lead after three quarters, and JSU never recovered.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
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