Florida State Seminoles football had every reason to be crushed against Louisville on Friday night.
On the road, facing a raucous crowd that always makes the Seminoles miserable, FSU lost possibly the best defensive player (defensive end Jared Verse), possibly the best offensive lineman (Robert Scott) and the best player on the roster (Jordan Travis). Florida State got off to a hot start, but cooled off a bit as Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham worked his magic.
Somehow, someway, Florida State persevered through it all, escaping Cardinal Stadium with a 35-31 victory in wide receiver Johnny Wilson and the Seminoles’ running back room.
It certainly wasn’t easy — with just over two minutes left in the game, kicker Ryan Fitzgerald missed his second field goal of the game, giving Louisville a final chance to fight back and try to beat FSU for the third year in a row.
Instead, quarterback Tate Rodemaker rose to the occasion, bouncing back from a forgettable start to lead the Seminoles on three separate scoring drives.
His job was made a little easier by the talents of Wilson and Treshawn Ward, Lawrence Tofili and Trey Benson — especially Ward, who managed to be the deciding factor in keeping the Seminoles at bay.
Florida State is now 3-0 for the first time since 2015, in addition to 1-0 in the ACC for the first time since 2015.
Florida State takes on the Boston College Eagles next Saturday in Tallahassee at 8 p.m.