College Football

FSU manhandles LSU in Camping World Kickoff


Florida State put the pressure on LSU and came away with a big 45-24 victory in this Top 10 matchup in Orlando. Photo by Glenn Sattell

ORLANDO – Florida State gave notice on the eve of Labor Day that there just might be a new face emerging on the College Football Playoff landscape.

With the entirety of the college football world watching Sunday night, the spotlight shined brightly on this Top 10 matchup. But it was a solid Seminoles team, ranked No. 8 in the preseason poll, that spotted defending SEC West Division champions LSU a 17-14 halftime edge, then scored 31 straight points in the second half to roll to a 45-24 victory over the No. 5 Tigers in the 2023 Camping World Kickoff at Camping World Stadium.

“That was a glimpse, a glimpse of where — what I think this team can do and where I think it can go,” Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell said of this Florida State team that strives to be the first in program history to make the College Football Playoffs. “Obviously there’s excitement in the locker room but that’s one game and it was a first step and it was a big step. You get a chance to be on this stage, you want to go play well.”

The Seminoles manhandled LSU in the trenches on both sides of the line of scrimmage and that decisive advantage paid off with a barrage of offense beginning late in the third quarter when they broke a 17-17 tie to take the lead for good. A 1-yard run by FSU quarterback Jordan Travis gave the Seminoles a 24-17 advantage. It was the first of three touchdowns scored in a 10-minute span that opened the flood gates and broke the game wide open.

Travis took advantage of a wilting LSU defense with touchdown passes of 7 and 44 yards to Keon Coleman and Jaheim Bell respectively, and the rout was on. Bell added a 4-yard touchdown run to complete the onslaught before the Tigers made the score a bit more respectable with a garbage-time touchdown on a 75-yard pass play from quarterback Jayden Daniels to Brian Thomas.

“I thought that second half, you know, we were able to really finish the way that we wanted to, and you know, I’m proud of them for the way that they continued to battle, the way they showed the resilience and who they are,” Norvell said.

Travis tossed his hat into the ring as an early Heisman candidate, passing for 342 yards in the game and four touchdowns. He completed 23 of 31 passes with one interception. He also added 38 yards rushing on seven carries, accounting for 380 of Florida State’s 494 total yards of offense.

The FSU quarterback relied heavily on Coleman, who led all receivers with 9 catches for 122 yards and three touchdowns. Coleman is 6-4, 215-pound junior from Louisiana who transferred to FSU from Michigan State.

Travis also sought out Johnny Wilson in key situations as well. Wilson finished with seven receptions for 104 yards and came up big on a couple of crucial third-down plays.

Osceola and Renegade ride again as Florida State rode past LSU 45-24 in the Camping World Kickoff at Camping World Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 3, in Orlando. Photo by Glenn Sattell

Working Coleman and Wilson allowed the Seminoles to overcome the 3-point deficit at halftime.

“Just knew it was a matter of time,” Travis said. “Just had to get locked in and stay focused and keep the main thing the main thing. But once again it starts up front. If the offensive line doesn’t protect and give me time, I can’t make throws down the field. So, shout-out to them and shout-out to all the receivers making plays.”

LSU held a slim lead at the break. One-yard touchdown runs from Tre Bradford and Noah Cain lifted the Tigers to a 14-7 lead.

The Seminoles evened the score on two Coleman touchdown receptions covering 40 and 21 yards, but the Tigers got a 36-yard field goal from Damian Ramos on the last play of the first half to hold the lead at the break.

It was all Seminoles after that.

“Tonight, they were the better football team,” LSU head coach Brian Kelly said. “We certainly are not the football team that I thought we were, and we’ve got to do a much better job obviously in developing our football team.”

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, a preseason Heisman candidate himself, led the Tigers, throwing for 347 yards while completing 22 of 37 passes with a touchdown and an interception. He led the Tigers’ rushing attack netting 64 yards on 15 carries.

Thomas was Daniels’ top target with seven receptions for 142 yards and Malik Nabors added six receptions for 67 yards.

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