FSU improves to 3-0 by overcoming obstacles and injuries at Louisville on Friday evening
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Noles247) - Florida State improved to 3-0 on the season with a 35-31 victory over Louisville on Friday evening at Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Ky. The Seminoles won their ACC opener despite losing arguably their best offensive and defensive player to injury on the evening. FSU (3-0, 1-0 ACC) scored three second-half touchdowns to earn the victory over the Cardinals (1-2, 0-2 ACC) with the offense being led by reserve quarterback Tate Rodemaker. The defense, which struggled on much of the evening, recorded a takeaway in the final minute, as defensive back Kevin Knowles II intercepted Malik Cunningham, to seal the victory.
On the injury front, FSU lost arguably their best player on each side of the ball in the first half. Quarterback Jordan Travis went down with a left leg injury. He was wearing a boot and using crutches while standing on the sideline in the second half. Defensive end Jared Verse suffered a left knee injury, when he appeared to take a helmet off the knee. He was in street clothes and watching during the second half. FSU entered the game with defensive tackle Fabien Lovett, who was injured against LSU.
Prior to losing Travis, he led the Seminoles to a pair of scores. He hit Preston Daniel for a 2-yard touchdown pass on the opening offensive drive of the game for the Seminoles. It was a 5-play drive that went 61 yards in 2:17. FSU led 7-0 at that point, their lone lead of the game. Travis tied the game at 14-14 with 15 seconds left in the opening quarter when he led another quick-strike offensive drive capping the 3-play, 75-yard drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Malik McClain.
Rodemaker entered for FSU at the end of the first half but didn’t find success until the opening drive of the second half. The FSU offense went 75 yards on 10 plays over 6:02 to open the second half. That drive included eight runs by the Seminoles. FSU’s next two drives were three-and-outs. After Louisville went up 28-21, Rodemaker connected with Johnny Wilson on back-to-back passes to tie things back up. Rodemaker hit Wilson for a 69-yard pass in stride that set up a 10-yard touchdown pass on the next snap. After a field goal by the Cardinals gave them a 31-28 lead with 11:45 remaining in the game, Rodemaker and the FSU offense again put together a drive - 75 yards on eight plays - and Rodemaker against from Johnny Wilson for a touchdown, giving FSU a 35-31 lead.
FSU’s defense, which struggled to contain Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham on the evening, stepped up and got a turnover on downs on the next drive by Louisville.
FSU was unable to put themselves up by seven when Ryan Fitzgerald missed a 36-yard field goal attempt. It marked his second field goal miss on the evening.
With one last chance, Louisville was near midfield when Cunningham was intercepted by Knowles II.
FSU returns to action on Saturday when they host Boston College at 8 p.m. (ACC Network)
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