No. 4 FSU overcomes loss of Jordan Travis to rally past North Alabama


No. 4 Florida State overcame a 13-point deficit and the early loss of Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Travis on Saturday night to remain unbeaten with a 58-13 win over FCS foe North Alabama in Tallahassee, Fla.

Backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker completed 13 of 23 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns for the Seminoles (11-0). Rodemaker could be their quarterback going forward after Travis left Doak Campbell Stadium via ambulance late in the first quarter after an ugly ankle injury at the end of a 16-yard scramble.

Medics put an air cast on Travis’ left ankle, and players from both teams gathered around him to show their support as he was loaded on a stretcher. The crowd of nearly 80,000 chanted “Jordan Travis” as he was transported to a hospital.

At that point, Florida State faced its largest deficit of the year. The Lions (3-8) got their attention with 86- and 80-yard touchdown drives to start the game. Noah Walters threw 13- and 6-yard strikes to Takairee Kenebrew and J.J. Evans, respectively. The Seminoles got on the board with 12:31 left in the first half on Ryan Fitzgerald’s 23-yard field goal, then closed within 13-10 on Trey Benson’s 4-yard touchdown run. Caziah Holmes gave them the lead for good with a 3-yard run, and Lawrance Toafili’s 17-yard scoring jaunt with 40 seconds remaining made it 24-13 at the half.

It was still competitive until Florida State ripped off three touchdowns in less than three minutes. Rodemaker hit Holmes with a 26-yard scoring strike, then found Keon Coleman for a 24-yard touchdown on the first play after a turnover.

CJ Campbell capped that outburst with a 70-yard scoring sprint 23 seconds into the fourth quarter for a 45-13 cushion. Brock Glenn added an 11-yard run at the 3:43 mark, and Quindarrius Jones returned a blocked field goal 50 yards on the final play of the game.

Walters finished the game 13 of 26 for 65 yards with an interception. Kenebrew’s scoring grab was the 26th of his career, a school record.