For a few hours Sunday night, Florida State fans must have felt like they had gone back in time.
The Seminoles were back in the national spotlight playing a meaningful game with national championship implications. It had all the feeling of being back in the heyday of the 1990s when FSU was a college football powerhouse.
Former players such as LeRoy Butler, Andre Wadsworth, Snoop Minnis, Peter Warrick and Danny Kanell were on hand, posing with FSU fans and boosters on the sidelines before the start of the game. The stands were packed with plenty of fans wearing garnet and gold, all to the tune of an announced attendance of 65,429.
Those fans went home happy as Jordan Travis accounted for five touchdowns as No. 8 FSU (1-0, 0-0 ACC) rallied to score 31 second-half points on its way to an impressive 45-24 win over No. 5 LSU in the Camping World Kickoff Classic at Camping World Stadium.
“That second half is a glimpse of what I think this team can do,” said FSU coach Mike Norvell. “That was our first step. It was a big step. I don’t think we played our best game but I thought that second half we were able to finish like we wanted to.”
It even felt like the good ol’ days as the Seminoles’ defense prevented LSU (0-1, 0-0 SEC) from scoring from the goal line on four straight plays. The final indignity came when linebacker DJ Lundy tracked down Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels in the backfield on fourth-and-1.
Travis threw three touchdown passes to transfer receiver Keon Coleman and the Seminoles’ defense sacked Daniels four times and forced two turnovers.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity,” Coleman said of his first performance as a Seminole. “Coming to a new school from the transfer portal and just believing in me and being grateful for my teammates, getting to show them the hard work that we’ve been putting in.”
“I’m grateful for you saying, ‘Yes,’ ” Norvell said, drawing a laugh.
The former Michigan State wideout finished with a team-high 9 catches for 122 yards. It was his third 100-plus receiving performance of his career.
“He’s a really special player and a special teammate,” said Travis, who finished 23 of 31 for 342 yards. “He’s a great teammate to have in the locker room and he puts a smile on your face. You love playing with guys like that.”
LSU jumped out to a 17-14 halftime lead but FSU scored on its next five possessions, grabbing an impressive 45-17 lead before Daniels connected with receiver Brian Thomas Jr. on a 75-score with 1:15 left in the game.
Brian Kelly didn’t mince words when assessing his team’s performance.
“We’re not the football team that I thought we were,” Kelly said. “This is a total failure from a coaching standpoint and a player’s standpoint. We have to, obviously, address, and we have to own.”
It’s the Seminoles’ first win over a top-5 program since FSU upset No. 5 North Carolina 31-28 on Oct. 17, 2020.
The win propels Florida State into the national-championship discussion for the first time since 2016. The Seminoles’ next big challenge looms with a trip to Clemson on Sept. 23, with the winner earning an early advantage in the ACC championship race.
“I don’t worry about statements that we made. I just want to see them [the Seminoles] play to their capability,” Norvell added.