ORLANDO, Fla. (FSC) – The Florida State Seminoles entered Thursday’s Cheez-It Bowl hungry for a win to make this another 10-win season for the university, which hasn’t happened since 2016.
At just 11:26 in the first quarter, FSU got on the board first with a 23-yard field goal, making the score 3-0.
Oklahoma quarterback and former UCF Knight Dillon Gabriel answered back with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jalil Farooq, giving Oklahoma a 7-3 lead with 7:01 left in the first.
On their next drive, FSU attempted a fourth down conversion, but Oklahoma’s defense prevented it, allowing them to get the ball back.
At the start of the second quarter, Gabriel, seeing the defense crowding out any passing chances, scrambled and flipped over two Seminole players to land in the right corner of the end zone for Oklahoma’s second touchdown, quickly widening their lead to 14-3 after the successful extra point.
With 9:53 left in the first half, Oklahoma made a field goal attempt, but it failed.
With 7:24 left in the first half, FSU finally made their first touchdown with quarterback Jordan Travis’ 16-yard touchdown pass to Ontaria Wilson. Immediately following the touchdown, FSU successfully made a two-point conversion, shrinking Oklahoma’s lead to 14-11.
FSU defensive back Shyheim Brown was down, lingering on the field during the final timeout of the first half. With some help, he was able to walk off the field. To close out the first half, Oklahoma nailed a 41-yard field goal, making the score 17-11.
FSU tried to make a score on its next possession with 15 seconds left in the first half, but it didn’t quite happen. Travis rushed the ball himself 26 yards for a first down, and on the next play kicker Ryan Fitzgerald attempted a 45-yard field goal, but it fell just short of the goal post, cementing Oklahoma’s 17-11 lead at halftime.
Oklahoma’s offense was much more proactive in the first half, going five of nine on third down conversions compared to FSU’s one of six.
FSU running back Treshaun Ward scrambled the ball one yard into the end zone for FSU’s next touchdown, snatching the lead by one point, 18-17.
With roughly a minute left in the third quarter, during FSU’s attempt to make good on a fourth down, Travis passed the ball directly into Oklahoma defensive back Billy Bowman’s hands, forcing what was already going to happen anyway: Oklahoma’s next possession.
The score remained 18-17 at the end of the third quarter.
Oklahoma changed that at the start of the fourth, with Sawchuk running the ball three yards for their next touchdown, followed by their own successful two-point conversion, propelling them far ahead again, 25-18.
On FSU’s next possession, Ward came through clutch again, rushing straight up the middle and breaking away from the crowd to freely rush 38 yards for their next touchdown, tying the score at 25.
At 9:41 in the fourth quarter, FSU’s Omarion Cooper forced Oklahoma’s Sawchuk to fumble the ball, which was recovered by FSU’s Jammie Robinson. The drive ended in Travis’ pass to Markeston Doulas for the touchdown. After the extra point, FSU led 31-25 with 7:22 left in the game.
Oklahoma was able to tie the game again with another touchdown.
FSU broke the tie on fourth down with Ryan Fitzgerald’s 32-yard field goal with 55 seconds left in the game.
The game ended with another sack on Dillon Gabriel, his seventh for the night.
FSU got their 25th 10-win season with Thursday night’s Cheez-It Bowl victory, 35-32.
Florida Sports Channel staff. Contact news@FloridaSportsChannel.com
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