Florida State overcame injuries to several key players on Friday night to outlast Louisville 35-31 and improve to 3-0 for the first time since 2015. Quarterback Jordan Travis and defensive side Jared Verse left in the second quarter with lower body injuries for key offensive lineman Robert Scott and defensive tackle Malcom Ray left in the second half with injuries.
Those health issues came into play after Fabien Lovett, a redshirt junior defensive tackle, an All-ACC honorable mention in 2021, didn’t make the trip due to a leg injury sustained in FSU’s Week 1 win over LSU. All the attrition caused a few unexpected stars to emerge for the Seminoles, who got an interception from Kevin Knowles with 37 seconds left to end a possible game-winning Louisville drive.
Reserve quarterback Tate Rodemaker and receiver Johnny Wilson connected four times when Wilson scored 149 yards and a pair of touchdowns, both of which were thrown by Rodemaker. Wilson, a six-foot transfer from the state of Arizona, had received just 154 yards for the Sun Devils last season. Rodemaker, a sophomore Red Shirt, hadn’t thrown a touchdown, but had four interceptions, more than six career appearances, before coming out as a hero against the Cardinals.
After Travis’ injury with 4:21 left in the second quarter, Rodemaker completed 1 of 3 negative yardage passes with an interception before halftime. But he finished the night 6 of 10 for 109 yards with the two touchdown throws to Wilson and no more interceptions.
After getting 42 votes in last week’s AP Top 25, the Seminoles have a chance to be ranked Monday as they prepare for a Week 4 home game with Boston College. But FSU has enough to get out of a health situation before adjusting again.
Travis, Fresh in Street Clothes
Travis was seen on crutches with his left leg in a boot at the start of the second half, while Verse was not wearing a uniform. Travis suffered a leg injury during a sack in the second quarter, while Verse suffered a knee injury, according to 247Sports.
Travis’ injury occurred when Louisville’s YaYa Diaby dragged the Seminoles signaler down from behind while attempting a pass. Travis quickly grabbed his left leg after the game and remained on the field for several minutes before being helped away. The injury came on the heels of a hot start for Travis, who completed his first 11 passes and was 13 of 17 for 157 yards, two touchdowns and an interception as he took off.
Fresh, a transfer from Albany, collected three sacks in the first two games of the season and looked set to be a breakthrough player in the ACC this season.
The depth of the quarterback
While Rodemaker looked better in the second half on Friday than at any point in his career, quarterback depth will be a concern for the Seminoles if Travis is forced to miss extended periods of time. True freshman AJ Duffy is the only other quarterback in the FSU after Travis and Rodemaker. Duffy was considered a four-star prospect and the #13 quarterback in the 2022 recruiting class, according to 247Sports.
Travis, a senior redshirt, had a solid start to his year with 467 yards passing in the Louisville game. He looked particularly strong in Florida State’s Week 1 win over LSU, in which he completed 20 of 33 passes for 260 yards with a pair of touchdowns. That win propelled the Seminoles to their first 2-0 start since 2016 and confirmed the idea that Travis, a transfer from Louisville, may be heading for a breakthrough season.