ORLANDO − Florida State football is back in action following a month off after its regular season finale against rival Florida.
The Seminoles (9-3) will play Oklahoma (6-6) at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the Cheez-It Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
FSU is playing for its first 10-win season since 2016 and the 25th in program history.
While the Sooners are expected to be without a few players who opted out of the game with the decision to go pro, the Seminoles are expected to have the majority of their two-deep roster in play.
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FSU owns a record of 28–17–3 record in bowl games. The Seminoles had played in 36 consecutive bowl games from 1982-2017, but did not reach the bowl in 2018 and have missed a bowl game in three of the last four seasons prior to this one.
The bowl game is the fourth one for head coach Mike Norvell, but his first in three seasons with Florida State.
Here are five players to watch for the Seminoles as they look to win their first bowl game since a 42-13 win over Southern Mississippi in the Independence Bowl in 2017.
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Quarterback Jordan Travis
As Travis goes, the Seminoles go. He has posted a career-best of completion percentage (63.%), passing yards (2,796) and touchdowns (26) this season in his first time as the full-time starter.
Travis has posted an 86.4 passing grade, good for 15th best in FBS, according to Pro Football Focus. His 90.6 overall offensive grade is the 12th-best mark among QBs.
He also added 75 runs for 367 yards and seven scores on the ground this season.
Against the Gators, Travis threw for 263 yards and a touchdown on 13-of-30 passing. He also added 15 rushes for 83 yards and two touchdowns.
Most elusive backTrey Benson is most elusive running bspanck, spanccording to Pro Footbspanll Focus
Running back Trey Benson
Benson’s state goal before the season was to become the first player since Cam Akers (2019) to cross 1,000 yards rushing for the season. He is just 35 yards away from the mark as he enters the bowl game.
On the season, Benson has 965 yards rushing on 141 attempts and has scored nine touchdowns.
In November, he carried the ball 69 times for 482 yards, averaging 7.0 yards per carry, despite taking on the role as the feature back for the Seminoles.
Benson has forced 77 missed tackles in 141 attempts. His PFF run grade of 92.8 is seventh among all FBS running backs. He has been the most elusive RB in college this season.
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Defensive end Jared Verse
The next three players all could be playing in their final game as Seminoles.
Verse has not announced his decision yet of whether he’ll be going pro or returning. But if he does decide to turn pro, he has given FSU’s defense a major addition in his first season following a transfer from Albany.
He recorded 41 total tackles, including a team-best 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.
Verse has made a major attack for the Seminoles in his pass-rushing game, something which could be important against a mobile QB like Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel.
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Defensive tackle Fabien Lovett
Like Verse, Lovett has not indicated if he is returning for another season in Tallahassee.
Lovett, who is in his third season with the Seminoles following a transfer from Mississippi St. has been a major player when healthy.
He finished the regular season with 10 tackles, including two for loss, a sack and a forced fumble in seven games. Lovett suffered a lower-leg injury which forced him out for five games.
FSU’s rush defense played better with Lovett in the lineup. Despite having senior running back Eric Gray opted out, the Sooners have proven capable in the ground game, averaging 216.6 rush yards per game, good for seventh among FBS teams.
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Safety Jammie Robinson
Robinson is one of the main leaders and playmakers in the secondary for the Seminoles this season.
He led the FSU defense with 86 tackles, with four going for a loss. He also added an interception and four pass deflections for the Seminoles this season.
Robinson’s ability to make plays will be key for the secondary, as they face off against Gabriel and receiver Marvin Mims.
Gabriel passed for 2,925 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions in his first season with the Sooners, while Mims caught 52 receptions for 1,006 receiving yards (19.3 average) and six receiving touchdowns.
Who: No. 13 Florida State vs. Oklahoma
When/Where: Thursday 5:30 p.m.; Camping World Stadium in Orlando
Live game updates: www.Tallahassee.com; @CarterKarels on Twitter; @Ehsan_Kassim on Twitter
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