FSU football is back after No. 8 Seminoles rout No. 5 LSU in Orlando

Tribune Content Agency

ORLANDO, Fla. — No. 8 Florida State prematurely pronounced it was back among the nation’s elite programs after last year’s win over LSU.

Sunday’s 45-24 triumph over the No. 5 Tigers left no doubt about it. FSU (1-0) is a hard-hitting, high-flying, wildly entertaining team that backed up eight months of College Football Playoff hype with a dominant second half.

Quarterback Jordan Travis accounted for five touchdowns (four passing, one rushing), and FSU had a pair of 100-yard receivers for the first time in five seasons. The performance was arguably Florida State’s best since a 51-14 blowout at Clemson during the 2013 national title run.

The first half was full of entertaining, weird sequences in front of an announced crowd of 65,429 at Camping World Stadium. LSU (0-1) drove down the field on its opening possession and, thanks to a penalty, had six chances to score from inside the 5. FSU stopped the Tigers every time, including a fourth-down sack by DJ Lundy.

The Seminoles drove 86 yards on the ensuing possession. Forty of them came on a catch-and-run score by Michigan State transfer Keon Coleman —one of the three touchdowns he scored in his FSU debut.

Azareye’h Thomas recovered a muffed LSU punt in the second quarter that gave FSU the ball near the red zone. Travis gave it right back when, under pressure, he forced a throw that Duce Chestnut intercepted.

The Tigers had five trips inside the red zone in the first half; FSU had none. The Seminoles did, however, lead in missed tackles and penalties (LSU’s first flag didn’t come until the third quarter). LSU hit a field goal on the final play of the half to take a 17-14 lead into the locker room.

Florida State rallied quickly in the second half. The ‘Noles scored on their first drive, thanks in part to a third-down conversion on a double pass by receiver Deuce Spann (a former quarterback at Lakewood High). That helped set up a field goal.

FSU took the lead on its next series with a key play by another Pinellas County product. On fourth and 2 at the LSU 42, Pinellas Park High alumnus Lawrance Toafili slipped out for a screen pass. He picked up the first down, shrugged off one would-be tackler and took FSU to the 1. Travis scored on the next play when he faked out the defense for an easy rush. It was the 73rd total touchdown of Travis’ career and moved him past former Heisman Trophy winner and Bucs No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston for third in program history.

The Seminoles piled on in the fourth quarter after a Renardo Green interception. That set up another touchdown pass from Travis to Coleman.

Coleman and Johnny Wilson became the first FSU with 100 receiving yards in the same game since Tamorrion Terry and D.J. Matthews did it against North Carolina State in 2018.

FSU hosts Southern Miss on Saturday, then travels to Boston College before its next top-10 showdown — a Sept. 23 trip to Clemson.