CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Quarterback Jordan Travis accounted for a career-high five touchdowns, ran for a career-high 121 yards and completed 11-of-13 passes for 145 yards in leading Florida State a 35-25 win over North Carolina at Kenan Stadium. The Seminoles rushed for 238 yards and did not allow a sack in winning their second consecutive game. The win was the Seminoles’ second straight against North Carolina under head coach Mike Norvell after Florida State defeated the fifth-ranked Tar Heels last season at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Travis played one of the most complete games of his career. His 121 yards rushing marked the second consecutive game he had rushed for a career-high in yards after rushing for 113 in Florida State’s win over Syracuse last week. Travis’ efficiency also came in the passing game as he completed nearly 85 percent of his passes including a career-high 11 consecutive passes from the end of the first quarter through the conclusion of the game.
As important as Travis’s running and passing efficiency was the Seminoles’ turnover number – zero. Florida State did not turn the ball over for the first time this season. Equally as important, the Seminoles totaled only five penalties for 50 yards during the game – including just one in the second half.
Florida State received touchdowns from three different players – Travis (three passing and two rushing), Ontaria Wilson (two receiving) and Malik McClain (one receiving).
Travis closed the night as Florida State’s sod captain when he took a chunk of Kenan Stadium turf back to the famous Sod Cemetery located just outside of the Seminoles’ practice facility in Tallahassee.
“Our goal every Saturday is to go out and get a win,” said Travis. “The boys did it today; they worked pretty hard all week. They came out with a great mindset the whole week. The O-Line worked really hard today; really, really hard. They kept me upright and I’m very thankful for that. The running backs ran hard, the receivers made great plays and the defense came up big.”
“Tonight we played winning football,” said Norvell. “We got better tonight.”
The Seminoles, who ran only 54 offensive plays, were an efficient seven-of-10 on third down conversions and were a perfect three-of-three scoring touchdowns in the red zone.
“I thought Jordan did an extraordinary job,” said Norvell. “Our entire team … that’s an extremely explosive offense that we played against. I thought we were able to keep them in check for the most part. These guys, the way that they’re invested, the things that they are pouring into this program, I’m just so very proud of them.”
North Carolina led 10-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Tar Heels opened the scoring on a 51-yard field goal by Grayson Atkins. The home team increased their lead to 10-0 on a 33-yard scoring pass from quarterback Sam Howell to Josh Downs.
Travis got the Seminoles on the scoreboard as he engineered a 12-play, 59-yard touchdown scoring drive to bring Florida State within 10-7. He found Malik McClain for the first receiving touchdown of his FSU career. Travis and the offense mounted a well-scripted drive with eight rushes for 38 yards and four completed passes for 21 yards.
Florida State took its first lead of the game, 14-10, on a 53-yard touchdown run by Travis midway through the second quarter. Travis, who became the Seminoles’ all-time leader for yards rushing by a quarterback in Florida State’s win over Syracuse, surpassed the 1,000-career yard rushing mark on the play.
“I read the end on that play,” said Travis. “I was able to cut up-field and make a play. I couldn’t do it without the guys up front making plays.
Travis led his third consecutive scoring drive in the second quarter, which culminated in a 32-yard touchdown pass to Ontaria Wilson. The eight-play drive marked the Seminoles’ second scoring drive of eight plays or more in the second quarter with this drive eating up 80 yards and nearly four minutes of playing time.
Florida State outscored North Carolina by a 21-0 margin in the second quarter. The Seminoles’ three scoring drives in the second quarter averaged nearly eight plays and 68 yards per drive.
After being shut out in the second quarter, North Carolina scored the first touchdown of the second half on a 21-yard scoring pass from Howell to Kamari Morales to make the score 21-17.
Travis and Florida State’s offense answered on its next drive to increase its lead to 28-17 when Travis plunged in from one-yard out – his second rushing touchdown of the game.
Florida State opened its biggest lead of the game as Travis threw his career-high third touchdown of the game to Wilson to increase Florida State’s lead to 35-17 as the third quarter drew to close. The six-yard touchdown reception was Wilson’s career-high second of the game.
“The things that most people don’t get to see is all of the work that he’s (Travis) putting in the training room, making sure he was doing the little things with his film study,” said Norvell. “I thought he played exceptionally with his eyes and those things aren’t going to show up in the stat line. Being able to be in the right spot, making sure he is going through his progressions, he was 11-of-13 throwing the football, pushed the ball down the field.
“He’s (Travis) competing at a very high level. I’m excited about his continued development and what he brings to this offense.”
North Carolina narrowed the gap with a Tyler Chandler 2-yard rushing touchdown but it was as close as the Heels would get.
North Carolina scored on its first two possessions but scored only twice on their final seven possessions of the game.
Defensively, Jammie Robinson led Florida State with 12 tackles. Sidney Williams was also in double figures with 10 stops. Jarrian Jones earned his first career interception in the second quarter – a pick that led directly to the Seminoles’ third touchdown of the game.
The Seminoles will head into their only off-week of the season and return home to play host to UMass on Oct. 23.
“To be able to go into a bye-week – and we need it – we are banged up,” said Norvell. We are going to enjoy this one tonight.”