Block party in French Quarter: FSU knocks off LSU

NEW ORLEANS — The first September win of the Mike Norvell Era was a nail-biting victory over an SEC opponent in its home state. Florida State players and thousands of fans can celebrate deep into Labor Day with a block party in the Big Easy.

Shyheim Brown blocked Damian Ramos’ extra-point attempt after LSU stormed back from a 14-point deficit in the final 9:04. The Tigers scored touchdowns on their final three drives, but Brown’s block allowed FSU to sneak out a win and do the chop as the victors over an SEC team for the first time since beating Florida in 2017.

Jordan Travis had one of the best days of his career, completing 20 of 32 passes for 260 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to Ontaria Wilson as Florida State escaped with a 24-23 win over LSU at the Caesars Superdome on Sunday night.

“What a finish,” FSU coach Mike Norvell said. “We talked to our team all week that this game could come down to one play, to one opportunity. And as you watch throughout the course of the game, I thought our guys put on display an incredible heart. The passion which they played with, just the effort, the physicality, I thought we dominated the game for the majority of it. Obviously, there at the end, we had some things that happened that we just can’t have. But the one thing that happened on the last play is what we absolutely need.

“It’s determination. It’s heart. It’s a willingness that, even after a disappointing moment, our guys responded. Anybody that’s around our program, they know they hear that word all the time, ‘respond.’ How do you respond when the challenges arise? And effort showed up, guy made a play there at the very end and gave us an opportunity to win that game.”

This is easily the biggest FSU victory in September since the Seminoles defeated Ole Miss 45-34 in Orlando in Sept. 2016. FSU has had big wins since, of course, but this is the first win over an SEC team for Norvell and it follows a rivalry victory over Miami in 2021 as well as a road win over UNC earlier that season.

FSU (2-0) found success in building and sustaining drives, converting on 11 of 15 third-down opportunities. Travis connected with pass-catchers like Camren McDonald, Ontaria Wilson and others in keeping the chains moving and the Seminoles had scoring drives of 85, 68, 57 and 79 yards. Ontaria Wilson had team highs in receptions (seven) and receiving yards (102).

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels did most of his damage on the ground, rushing 16 times for 114 yards. He was 26 of 35 for 209 yards and had two touchdown passes to Jaray Jenkins, including the final one with no time left.

On what was a wild special-teams night, FSU secured the win with a few more positive plays despite a few miscues in the kicking game. Jared Verse blocked a field-goal attempt in the second quarter, and a muffed punt in the final minutes allowed Brendan Gant to scoop up the ball and give FSU possession at the LSU 8 with 2:15 to go.

But the Seminoles fumbled it away on the 1-yard line with 1:20 to go. LSU began to build a drive but was forced to call its final timeout after Jared Verse’s second sack of Daniels, this time at the LSU 47 with 24 second left. But Daniels kept pushing LSU down the field, all the way to the FSU 2-yard line after a lengthy review of a pass play.

The Seminoles picked up a 47-7 win over Duquesne in a Week 0 game in August, and they picked up their first September win after six losses — including an 0-4 start in 2021. FSU is now 2-0 for the first time since 2016.

Renardo Green led FSU with eight tackles. Kalen DeLoach had seven tackles and .5 sacks. Tatum Bethune had seven tackles and a sack, while Verse had two sacks.

D.J. Lundy had a 1-yard touchdown, being used as a jumbo fullback in short-yardage on the goal line in the fourth quarter.

Travis’ 260 passing yards is the second most of his career.

FSU also had shortcomings in special teams, with Ryan Fitzgerald missing a 47-yard field-goal attempt short and right in the first quarter. Fitzgerald also booted two kickoffs out of bounds as LSU was able to start drives at its 35-yard line. Wyatt Rector also recovered a muffed punt in the first half in what was a night full of ups and downs.

But FSU is now 8-2 against LSU in the series, with a momentum-building win leading the Seminoles into a bye week and a long stretch of ACC games ahead.

Bless Harris had his right arm in a sling and did not play on Sunday. Jazston Turnetine made his first start at FSU and the 11th in his career. Omarion Cooper started and had five tackles.

New LSU coach Brian Kelly had won 42 straight games against unranked opponents before tonight, according to records by Notre Dame media.

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