Florida State vs. Florida score, takeaways: No. 16 'Noles survive Gators in rivalry's highest-scoring game

No. 16 Florida State ended a three-game losing streak to rival Florida on Friday night with a dramatic 45-38 victory behind quarterback Jordan Travis and a late defensive stand in the game's final minute. Travis made big plays through the air and on the ground all night, while the Seminoles defense came up with a fourth-down stop in the final minute as the crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium reached fever pitch.

Gators QB Anthony Richardson's heave to the end zone fell incomplete with 39 seconds left, turning the ball over to Florida State on downs and effectively ending the highest-scoring game of the rivalry's storied history. What will be discussed for ages are two plays on the final drive, a fourth-and-18 pass interference called against FSU that extended Florida's comeback attempt, and a clear facemask on Richardson that went uncalled during the aforementioned incomplete pass.

Richardson threw three touchdowns in the first 21 minutes of game action as the Gators jumped out to a 21-14 lead, but the redshirt sophomore later went cold with 11 consecutive incompletions. The third quarter proved particularly consequential as Florida State forced three straight three-and-outs against a Florida team that did not punt in the first half.

The win marks the first in the rivalry for third-year Florida State coach Mike Norvell, and he has Travis to thank for it. The redshirt junior threw for 270 yards and a touchdown and ran for 83 more yards and two more scores. Running back Trey Benson added three scores on the ground for the 'Noles, who improved to 9-3 with the win.

Travis runs wild

In a game packed with momentum swings and highlight-reel plays, the elusive running of Travis stood out on a few occasions. With the Seminoles trailing 21-14 and facing a third-and-10 from the Florida 11-yard line in the second quarter, it appeared as though Florida was about to sack Travis for a significant loss. But as Travis retreated 18 yards behind the line of scrimmage, he managed to elude five different Florida defenders, including a couple who had more than one chance to bring him down. He finally slid down just short of the end zone and scored on the next play.

Then, in the third quarter, Travis replicated the play in a nearly identical situation. Facing a third-and-11 from the Florida 13-yard line, Travis took off and avoided multiple tacklers before sliding down just short of the goal-line. The play gave the Seminoles a first-and-goal and set up a touchdown run from Benson that put FSU ahead 31-24. 

While Travis completed just 13 of 30 passes, he also came through with his arm in a key late situation. Facing a third-and-6 with the game tied at 38 in the fourth quarter, Travis found Johnny Wilson for a 21-yard completion to extend the drive that let to FSU's game-winning score.

Closing with a bang

Florida State started 4-0 and rose to No. 23 in the AP Top 25 in the process. Then came adversity. Amid a bad run with injuries, the 'Noles dropped three straight as pressure began to mount on Norvell. After consecutive losing seasons to begin his tenure, it appeared they might struggle just to make a bowl game in his third year. But since the bye week, which came after a 34-28 loss to Clemson on Oct. 15, the 'Noles are a perfect 5-0.

While some of that success has corresponded with a lightening of the schedule, much of it came in dominant fashion. Entering Friday, FSU's four-game winning streak featured four wins of 25 points or more. While the run of dominance ended with a tight game against the Gators, the Seminoles put their improvement on display in a national showcase spot against a bitter rival. With a bowl victory, Florida State can finish with 10 wins for the first time since 2016, which was Jimbo Fisher's next-to-last year as coach.

Missing receivers

Florida wide receivers Ja'Quavion Fraziars, Xzavier Henderson, Justin Shorter, Thai Chiaokhiao-Bowman and Marcus Burke all missed the game due to injury, leaving Richardson with few proven targets in the passing game. In their absence, Richardson only completed passes to three players with a returning Ricky Pearsall serving as his primary target. The redshirt junior set a new career-high for yards receiving when he hauled in a 43-yard touchdown pass with 11:35 left in the second quarter. That was Richardson's final completion until 4 minutes remained in the game.

Nonetheless, the Gators still managed to rally from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter behind a strong running attack. Trevor Etienne totaled 129 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, including a 45-yard touchdown run that tied the game with 7:41 remaining. Montrel Johnson Jr. added 85 yards and a score on the ground, while Richardson rushed for 41 yards. If the Gators are able to get healthier at receiver for their bowl game, their offense could be far less one-dimensional than it proved to be for much of Friday's game.

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What a game

Final: Florida State 45, Florida 38

That's one for the history books in this storied rivalry. Mike Norvell gets his first win in the rivalry with the highest-scoring game in series history. Seminoles got it done with Jordan Travis and Trey Benson on the ground and with just enough defense against a depleted Florida offense. Anthony Richardson didn't have much to work with in terms of receivers, but he had his squad in FSU territory with a chance to tie it late.

November 26, 2022, 4:42 AM

Pass interference

Questionable PI call on fourth-and-18 gives Florida another chance. Not sure there was much there, but it gives UF fresh life. Gators driving and trying to tie as Doak Campbell gets loud.

November 26, 2022, 4:29 AM
@FSUFootball via Twitter
November 26, 2022, 4:21 AM

Noles retake lead

Trey Benson just went 17 yards for a go-ahead score with 4:06 remaining. Plenty of time left for the Gators to make something happen. But for the moment, that puts FSU back in the lead. PAT is good. Quick answer from the Seminoles in what is the highest-scoring game in the history of this rivalry.

November 26, 2022, 4:20 AM

Tie game!

Trevor Etienne goes 45 yards untouched up the middle to tie this thing up with 7:41 remaining. He's over 100 yards now and Montrel Johnson isn't far behind. Impressive how well the Gators have run the ball while being entirely one-dimensional. What a response from the Gators after falling behind 38-24.

November 26, 2022, 4:10 AM

Florida Stop

Florida gets a huge stop as Antwaun Powell-Ryland Jr. gets Travis in the backfield. That man has been difficult to sack tonight, but the Gators got to him there in a huge spot. Pearsall returns the punt to the 50, which is where Florida will take over with a chance to tie the game.

November 26, 2022, 4:04 AM

Touchdown Gators

At long last, the Gators cap a 75-yard touchdown drive with a Montrell Johnson 1-yard TD run. The drive took 13 plays and 6:53, but it's what the Gators needed. They are back within a possession and have given their defense a length breather. Richardson still hasn't completed a pass since the second quarter, which makes that drive all the more impressive.

November 26, 2022, 3:57 AM

Big conversion

With Anthony Richardson forced to exit the game for a play after his helmet came off, the Gators manage to convert a fourth-and-1. That was a huge moment for Jalen Kitna to be ushered into the fray. Went with the hard count and then a handoff to Montrell Johnson. Richardson back in as Gators knock on the door.

November 26, 2022, 3:47 AM
@FSUFootball via Twitter
November 26, 2022, 3:30 AM

'Noles add on

Just like, that FSU holds a 14-point lead as Jordan Travis finds Kentron Poitier for a 6-yard touchdown strike. 17 unanswered points. While Travis has been awesome, give a ton of credit to the FSU defense for flipping this game in the third quarter.

November 26, 2022, 3:29 AM

Another three-and-out

Florida wanted pass interference on two straight plays down the right sideline. First one, it appeared that Ricky Pearsall's feet got tangled up with the defender's feet, and he went down. Referee didn't see it and didn't call it. Then, on third down, Richardson took a shot for Caleb Douglas that fell off his finger tips just as Shyheim Brown arrived. Bang-bang play. Not an obvious PI by any stretch, but it wouldn't have been shocking to see a flag. Nine straight incompletions for Richardson as the Seminoles take over ahead by 7.

November 26, 2022, 3:26 AM

FSU's run game

Jordan Travis is up to 82 yards rushing with two touchdowns. Trey Benson has 78 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. Gators need some first downs here to give their defense a break and to build some confidence.

November 26, 2022, 3:22 AM

Jordan Travis

Travis hit Malik McClain for a 44-yard gain to the Florida 12 to ignite FSU's go-ahead drive. From there, he handled it himself with ANOTHER incredibly elusive run, evading defenders and sliding into the end zone. Almost identical to his highlight-reel run in the first half. Man is just putting this team on his hamstrings. Was ruled just short upon review, but Benson got FSU in the end zone to make it 31-24.

November 26, 2022, 3:16 AM


That's consecutive three-and-outs for Florida to open the third quarter. Seminoles take over at their own 34 with a chance to retake the lead. Jordan Travis is just 9 of 25 and Anthony Richardson is just 5 of 14. Not a good day throwing for either QB.

November 26, 2022, 3:10 AM

Tied up

Tre'Vez Johnson nearly came down with an excellent one-handed interception along the sideline on a third-and-10 passing attempt from Jordan Travis, but he just wasn't quite able to tap his toe with possession of the ball. So the Seminoles are able to get a 46-yard game-tying field goal out of their opening possession of the third quarter.

November 26, 2022, 3:05 AM

Seminoles in business

Jordan Travis uses his legs yet again to convert a fourth-and-2 coming out of a Florida timeout. He is so good on the ground. FSU driving after getting a stop to start the third quarter.

November 26, 2022, 2:59 AM

Back to action

Florida is averaging 8 yards per play and Florida is at 7.5. The explosives have been everywhere for both teams in both the run and throw games. Whichever defense made better halftime adjustments is going to put their team in a position to win this game. There was only one punt in the first half. 

November 26, 2022, 2:47 AM
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