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Jordan Travis, No. 16 Seminoles run wild over Gators in 45-38 win

Trey Benson scores 17-yard go-ahead TD run with 4:06 left
Florida State Seminoles QB Jordan Travis runs in fourth quarter vs. Florida Gators, Nov. 25, 2022
Posted at 9:11 AM, Nov 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-26 09:25:36-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A rout and a nail-biter. Florida State has knocked off its two state rivals for the first time since 2016, setting off a raucous celebration.

Trey Benson had a 17-yard touchdown run with 4:06 left to give No. 16 Florida State a 45-38 win over Florida on Friday.

Benson had 111 yards rushing and three touchdowns, and Jordan Travis ran for 83 yards and two touchdowns. The Seminoles ran for 228 yards — the seventh straight time they surpassed the 200-yard rushing mark.

Florida drove the field in the final minutes but Anthony Richardson's fourth-down pass over the middle fell incomplete with 39 seconds to go.

It was the highest scoring game in the Florida State-Florida rivalry, which dates to 1958.

Florida State Seminoles defensive end Derrick McLendon II and safety Shyheim Brown sack Florida Gators QB Anthony Richardson in third quarter, Nov. 25, 2022
Florida State defensive end Derrick McLendon II (9) and safety Shyheim Brown (38) sack Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson during the third quarter Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla.

Travis also completed 13 of 30 passes for 270 yards as Florida State (9-3) completed a sweep of its state rivals for the first time under Mike Norvell. The Seminoles drilled Miami 45-3 on Nov. 5.

"To be able to finish tonight 2-0 in the state, that's big," said Norvell, who is in his third year at FSU. "Those two games, you know how important it is. We don't sell it short. It's critical for us to go and play well in these games and to go win these games. To be able to finish up as the state champs, I'm so proud of our guys."

A redshirt junior, Travis used his ability to escape and elude to his advantage. He initially broke out of the pocket to avoid sacks but then, once in the open field, made cuts and off-balance runs to get into the end zone or set up FSU's touchdowns.

Travis finished with a season-high 15 carries and his 83 rushing yards were the second most he accumulated this season, only to a 108-yard output in the loss at NC State on Oct. 8. But on Friday night, Travis' legs were the difference.

"The quarterback is a challenge," Florida coach Billy Napier said. "His legs were the difference in the game. He gave us fits all night."

Florida State trailed 24-21 at the half but opened the second half with scores on the next three drives (field goal, touchdown, touchdown) to jump in front 38-24. The Gators (6-6) answered back with a pair of touchdowns, one each by Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne, to tie the game with 7:41 left.

Benson now has 965 yards, just 35 short of becoming FSU's first 1,000-yard rusher since Cam Akers in 2019.

Florida State Seminoles running back Trey Benson scores TD in first quarter vs. Florida Gators, Nov. 25, 2022
Florida State running back Trey Benson runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against Florida, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla.

Richardson completed just 5 of 17 passes but three were for touchdowns. Ricky Pearsall had a career-best 148 receiving yards, including touchdowns of 52 and 43 yards in the first half.

Trevor Etienne had a season-best 129 yards on 17 carries, and Montrell Johnson Jr. had 85 yards on 17 carries.

This is the eighth time this season FSU has surpassed 35 points in a game.