TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Of all the game-changing plays and memorable wins in Jordan Travis' college career, this one stands out: Miami, 2021.
Making his first start at quarterback against the Hurricanes, Travis directed an 80-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes to lift the Seminoles to a 31-28 victory at Doak Campbell Stadium. He had a 59-yard strike to jumpstart the possession and then an even better throw on fourth-and-14 to keep it alive.
Travis bullied his way across the goal line two plays later, with help from some of his teammates, and then tacked on a two-point conversion.
"My confidence rose a lot," Travis recalled. "Just being a kid that didn't believe in himself too much and going out there in a game like that and beating Miami the way we did obviously boosts your confidence a lot.
"It did change my life — a lot, definitely a lot."
Travis and the fourth-ranked Seminoles are 20-4 since that come-from-behind win, the quarterback developing into a Heisman Trophy candidate and the team becoming a College Football Playoff contender in his sixth and final season.
FSU (9-0, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference, No. 4 CFP) is now four wins away from a playoff berth, a stretch that includes two rivalry games and the ACC title game. It begins against the Hurricanes (6-3, 2-3) on Saturday and gives Travis another chance to add to Miami's misery.
"Everyone knows that I've not been a fan of Miami for years," Travis quipped.
The Hurricanes surely won't mind seeing Travis move on to the NFL after this season. He threw for 274 yards and ran for 62 more on a career-high 22 carries against them in 2021. He completed 10 of 12 passes for 202 yards, with three TDs and an interception, in FSU's 45-3 victory last season.
He's been even better of late, accounting for 733 yards and six touchdowns the last two weeks despite leading receiver Keon Coleman missing one game and second-leading receiver Johnny Wilson sitting out both.
"If anybody comes into wanting to know more about our quarterback, you go and watch these last two weeks and you see what he is," FSU coach Mike Norvell said. "That's why he's being mentioned for the greatest award that you can have in college football. Deservingly so."
Miami, meanwhile, is trying to salvage a season that seemed promising after a 4-0 start and a win against Texas A&M. The Hurricanes have lost three of their last five, including two in gut-wrenching fashion, and are 13 1/2-point underdogs according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Coach Mario Cristobal's team has at least four turnovers in each of those losses, and quarterback Tyler Van Dyke has thrown 10 interceptions since the start of October.
"We've struggled," Cristobal said. "Turnovers have cost us football games. We have progressed as a team in so many different areas. In the last four weeks, we have regressed in the passing game. We have. It's a combination of things. There's no masking that. We certainly don't sidestep that."
Miami has lost consecutive games and nine of the last 13 in a series that used to be among the best in college football. Cristobal won two national titles as an offensive tackle (1989-92) for the Canes in the early years of the rivalry's heyday.
"The absolute best," Cristobal said. "Intense, physical, knockdown, drag-out games. Always what you circle your calendar for in the summertime. ... We lived for that game every year."
The Seminoles have won 15 in a row, the third-longest active streak in the country and the longest in the ACC. It's tied for the fifth-longest in program history. FSU has outscored its opponents 609-262 during the streak, although the Seminoles' 14-game run of scoring at least 30 points ended last week at Pitt.
It's unclear whether Coleman and Wilson will return against Miami. Wilson practiced this week, an indication he's close to playing. Coleman could be a game-time decision.
"We're trending the right way, and we'll see where it is as we get closer to kickoff," Norvell said.
Wilson has 25 catches for 415 yards and two touchdowns this season. Coleman leads the team with 38 receptions for 538 yards and nine scores.
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