There would be no letdown game for the Florida State football team.
The Seminoles, coming off three straight blowout victories, continued their hot run with a 49-17 victory over Louisiana.
FSU (8-3) reached eight wins for the first time since the 2016 season. Louisiana (5-6) still needs one more victory to reach bowl eligibility.
The Seminoles jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and led 35-3 at halftime.
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Starting quarterback Jordan Travis completed 9 of 14 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. He also added five rushes for 38 yards and two touchdowns.
Travis did not play in the second half, as backup Tate Rodemaker took over to begin the first drive of the second half.
Rodemaker completed his only pass for 45 yards before third-string QB A.J. Duffy took over on the second drive of the second half and completed his first career touchdown pass, a 16-yard pass to tight end Markeston Douglas.
Starting receiver Mycah Pittman appeared to suffer an apparent lower-leg injury in the first half and did not return.
The Seminoles have outscored opponents 173-39 during their four-game winning streak.
“Just first off, really proud of our football team,” FSU head coach Mike Norvell said. “Coming into this week, we really challenged ourselves. Could we continue to take the proper steps to go get better?
“Being back at home was great. Appreciate the crowd, the atmosphere. Early kickoff. From the minute we got off the bus this morning with the legacy walk, it was a lot of energy. Grateful for our fan base.”
Here are five takeaways from today’s game.
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No early start time lull for FSU
Early games have been a rarity for the Seminoles this season. Saturday’s noon start did not faze them. FSU received the ball first and scored on a 75-yard drive on eight plays.
The drive ended with a 36-yard touchdown run by Treshaun Ward. Jordan Travis added a highlight reel run on third down, breaking a tackle to pick it up.
On the first defensive drive, DJ Lundy made a drive-altering tackle for loss on second and three, forcing a third and long. The Seminoles forced a 3-and-out to get their offense back onto the field.
The second drive went 8 plays for 65 yards and ended in a three-yard rush by Travis. The Seminoles jumped ahead by two touchdowns nearly halfway through the first quarter and led 21-0 after one quarter.
The Seminoles dominated on the ground in the first quarter, with 165 of their 184 yards coming on the ground.
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Jordan Travis using legs, aiding a strong rushing attack
Travis logged the most rushes and rushing yards he had since the Clemson loss on Oct. 15. He ran the ball five times for 38 yards and added two scores on the ground. His first TD came from 3-yards out on the second drive.
On the third drive, Travis kept the ball on a zone read and took the ball to the end zone from 13 yards out on third down.
His third-down run on the first drive, where he broke a tackle to get past the first down marker helped set up a long touchdown run by Ward.
Each running back – Ward, Trey Benson and Lawrance Toafili – had over 30 yards rushing in the first quarter, as did Travis.
The Seminoles rushed for 206 yards on 29 carries in the first half alone, marking the sixth straight game they have rushed for over 200 yards. It’s the longest streak since 1995.
FSU finished with 440 yards of rushing offense, including 189 passing and 251 rushing.
Benson led the way with 16 rushes for 80 yards, while Lawrance Toafili had four rushes for 46 yards and Treshaun Ward added four runs for 37 yards.
“The O-line did a great job of finding holes for us to run behind,” Ward said. “The game planning this week was very good, as far as the scheme. We just executed and got the success.”
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Eleven straight quarters without a TD allowed
Georgia Tech scored on the final play from scrimmage against the Seminoles on Oct. 29. Since then the FSU defense has picked it up.
The unit has allowed just 23 points and two touchdowns, including a stretch of no touchdowns in 11 straight quarters.
Louisiana ended the Seminoles’ streak with a 5-yard TD pass from Chandler Fields to Michael Jefferson on 4th-and-5 with 11:07 left in the game, with FSU backups in.
Three of the first six drives for the Ragin’ Cajuns ended in three-and-outs in the first half. Another ended after just one first down and another on downs on the FSU 46.
Louisiana gained traction on the final drive of the half, going 14 plays for 68 yards. The Seminoles’ defense held firm and forced the Ragin’ Cajuns to a field goal as the clock expired.
“They were able to get the field goal late,” Norvell said. “But even in that sequence, we didn’t want any points on the board. But to see our guys hold there before half, not allow them to get in the end zone, I was really proud of our team.
“I think we went three quarters without them scoring — without getting in the end zone. The defense was playing a lot of confidence. Those guys are flying around.”
Louisiana had 121 yards of total offense in the first half when the majority of the FSU defensive starters were in the game.
The Seminoles went with a mix of first-teamers with second and third-teamers on the first drive of the half, before giving the backups the majority of the snaps the rest of the way.
As a team, FSU finished with nine pass breakups, four sacks and six tackles for loss from the starters.
Verse recorded a sack and now has a team-high 7.5 on the season.
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DJ Lundy strong day
Linebacker DJ Lundy was one of the biggest players on the FSU defense.
He recorded a big tackle for loss on the first Ragin’ Cajun drive, tackling quarterback Chandler Fields for a 7-yard loss to set up a third and long. Louisiana was forced to punt the ball following an incompletion.
On the third Ragin’ Cajun drive, Lundy broke up a pass on third and two to force the third punt of the afternoon for Louisiana.
Lundy finished with six tackles, 1.5 sacks and a pass breakup.
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Young players get into the game
Duffy got his first extended look of the season. He finished 1 of 4 passing for 16 yards and the touchdown. His first career touchdown completion came to Douglas in the third quarter.
He had just three pass attempts coming into the game. This was Duffy’s first extended look of his freshman season.
Walk-on quarterback Gino English also got in the game in the fourth quarter. Walk-on CJ Cspanmpbell got into his fourth game in a row.
Freshman running back Rodney Hill entered his fourth game of the season. He got the majority of the carries in the second half and finished with nine rushes for 31 yards.
Redshirt senior Mike Roussos got into his second game of the season. Defensive backs Jarques McClellion, Azareye’h Thomas, Sydney Williams and Sam McCall all saw action.
Defensive lineman Byron Turner and Aaron Hester also got in the game.
“That was awesome. It was great to see young guys in there,” Norvell said. “To have an opportunity — it forces the communication. It forces the line. Gives you a chance to showcase the fundamentals, the technique, and the growth that is necessary. Every player on our team wants to play more. Some guys start, and some guys that don’t play very much.
“When you get an opportunity to step on that field, it really puts on display where you are. We’ve had some guys that have taken advantage of the reps that they’ve got.”
FSU is at home against rival Florida Friday at Doak Campbell Stadium on national television at 7:30 p.m.
The game is sold out.
While the Seminoles cruised over Louisiana, the Gators were shocked by Vanderbilt Saturday.
For the first time since 1988, the Commodores knocked off the Gators 31-24.
“There was a lot of Florida beating Florida today and that’s my job,” UF coach Billy Napier said following the game. “It’s a setback, no doubt about it.”
Florida falls to 6-5 (3-5, SEC), while Vanderbilt improves to 5-6 (2-5 SEC).
FSU is looking to snap its three-game losing streak to UF.
Taking it a step further, the Seminoles are also looking to beat UF and Miami in the same season for the first time since 2016.
FSU vs. Florida
When/Where: Friday, Doak Campbell Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
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