Florida State engineered an impressive fourth quarter comeback to defeat Louisville 35-31 in Cardinal Stadium on Friday night.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Tate Rodemaker came off the bench to lead a heroic 35-31 come-from-behind effort in the Seminoles’ ACC opener. FSU is now 3-0 for the first time since 2015.
Rodemaker entered the game in the second quarter and directed three second-half scoring drives two of which ended with touchdown passes to Johnny Wilson.
Rodemaker found Wilson, who finished with seven catches for 149 yards, with the game-winning touchdown pass from two yards out with 7:54 remaining in the game giving FSU its first lead since
Wilson’s yardage total was the most for a Seminole receiver since a 165-yard performance in the 2019 Sun Bowl.
Kevin Knowles’ interception with 37 seconds remaining in the game after Louisville had crossed midfield preserved the win for the Seminoles.
— FSU Football (@FSUFootball) September 17, 2022
Rodemaker completed six of his 10 passes and threw for 109 yards in his first extensive playing time since 2020.
“I’m so very proud of our football team,” said Head Coach Mike Norvell. “We’ve talked about it since we started back in January; it’s about the investment, the work, the relationships. We’ve got a very confident football team in times of adversity because they know they’ve invested work. I thought, tonight, even with the adversity that showed up, our guys willed themselves to victory.”
Rodemaker entered the game late in the second quarter following the injury to Jordan, who has started each of the Seminoles’ first three games of the season. While he struggled early, his finish was superb in earning his second career win as Florida State’s quarterback.
Rodemaker and the Seminoles gained a total of 12 yards on four offensive plays in two offensive series before halftime. He completed one pass for minus six yards, was sacked once, and threw an interception, and Florida State trailed 21-14 at the half.
Rodemaker played completely differently in the second half. He led Florida State on a 10-play 75-yard touchdown scoring drive to tie the game. Running back Lawrance Toafili tied the game again on a 15-yard end around dash to pull the Seminoles back to even at 21-21.
After Louisville retook the lead by a 28-21 margin on an 18-yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Malik Cunningham, Rodemaker and Wilson went back to work.
Rodemaker connected with Wilson on consecutive passes to tie the game at 28-28. The longest Seminole play of the night came as Rodemaker hit Wilson for a 69-yard pass in stride. That play immediately set up a 10-yard touchdown pass on the next snap.
Following a 36-yard field goal by James Turner which gave the Cardinals a 31-28 lead with 11:45 remaining in the game, Rodemaker led the Florida State offense on an eight-play, 75-yard drive – and another touchdown pass to Wilson — giving the Seminoles the game-winning score.
In the second half, Rodemaker completed five of seven passes for 115 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions in outscoring the Cardinals, 21-10, over the final 30 minutes of play. Not only did the Seminoles outscore the Cardinals in the second half, but Florida State outgained the home team by a 238-205 yard margin, totaled zero turnovers and held a time of possession advantage by nearly seven minutes.
“I’m so proud of Tate Rodemaker,” said Norvell. “I knew we could win with Tate. Knew we could win with Tate. I’ve seen it in practice. I’ve seen him work. I’ve seen him so much invest and be prepared for the moment. He got put in a challenging situation, but he went out and responded in the second half. It’s an incredible example of what this team is built on.”
Treshaun Ward led Florida State’s running backs with 126 yards rushing. It marked the second time in Florida State’s first three games of the season that he has rushed for 100 or more yards. With 126 yards on 10 carries, he averaged an astounding 12.6 yards per carry.
Though Florida State trailed, 21-14, after two quarters of play, it showed a tremendous desire to win their ACC road opener in a very tough environment.
A very entertaining first half saw 35 total points, 507 yards of total offense and 27 passes completed by both teams (14 for Florida State and 13 for Louisville). Unfortunately for the Seminoles, they trailed 21-14 – the first time they had trailed at the half this season.
Before he was injured, Travis completed each of his first 11 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first quarter. Travis threw touchdown passes to Preston Daniel and Malik McClain, with both players earning their first touchdowns of the season. The touchdown catch for Daniel was the first of his career.
The two first quarter touchdown passes moved Travis into a tie for 20th place in school history with 25 career passing touchdowns.
— FSU Football (@FSUFootball) September 17, 2022
Florida State’s defense, which limited Louisville to 10 points and just one of six conversions on third down plays in the second half, withstood the Cardinal’s offensive charge in the second half. Linebacker Tatum Bethune and defensive back Akeem Dent led Florida State with 10 tackles each. The 10 stops were season-high tackle totals for both players.
“That’s a special night,” said Norvell. “One that I will remember forever.”