Oklahoma Crumbles To #13 FSU In Cheez-It Bowl, 35-32

Going into this year’s Cheez-It Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL, the Big 12’s Oklahoma Sooners finishing the season 6-6 facing a 9-3 nationally-ranked Florida State Seminoles from the Atlantic Coast Conference doesn’t seem like a great matchup. As it would turn out, it wasn’t decided until the final minute where FSU outlasted OU, 35-32 on a last minute field goal.

While quarterback Jordan Travis led his Seminoles into the red zone within the first four plays of action, they were held to three points by Ryan Fitzgerald from 22-yards out. FSU wouldn’t score a touchdown until there was 7:18 left in the second quarter.

Quarterback Dillion Gabriel led his offense to a touchdown in the opening drive with a 16-yard strike to Jalil Farooq. He then opened the second quarter running in a score that would be the final points he personally tallied on the night. Gabriel went 14-of-24 for 243 yards and one touchdown passing with one more running.

In the middle of the second quarter up 17-3, the Sooners made it to the red zone again with a chance to go up three scores, but were turned away by Florida State’s defense with a missed field goal. FSU’s offense took the momentum to the endzone with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Ontaria Wilson from Travis.

The ‘Noles defense sacked Gabriel six times in the contest.

After FSU made the two-point conversion and Oklahoma tacked on a 41-yard field from kicker Zach Schmidt, the halftime score favored the Sooners 17-11. This is despite four opt-outs that includes members of the offensive line and 1,325-yard running back in Eric Gray, and edge rushed Jalen Redmond.

During the second half, both teams traded rushing touchdowns between FSU’s Treshaun Ward and Oklahoma’s Gavin Sawchuck, and the Sooners connected on a two-point conversion to make it 25-18. Then Ward broke off a 38-yard sprint for a touchdown to tie the game at 25 with 11:00 remaining in the game.

Ward turned in 81 yards on 10 carries with a pair of touchdowns on the stat sheet.

Sawchuk finished with 15 carries for 100 yards with a lost fumble as one of two Sooner running backs to break the 100-yard mark. The other was Javontae Barnes, who went 27 attempts for 108 and a score.

The teams traded touchdowns once again to set the score tied at 32 with 3:36 remaining in the contest. Then Travis hit Johnny Wilson for a 58-yard bomb that set up Ryan Fitzgerald booting in the winning 32-yard field goal.

Wilson had a huge night with eight catches for 202 yards.

The Cheez-It Bowl MVP was Travis, who served as the field general for the Seminoles. He finished 27-for-38 for 418 yards with two passing touchdowns and an interception by OU’s Billy Bowman as well as seven carries for 50 more yards.

With FSU’s bright future after securing a 10th win, they may find themselves on the warpath at the right time in college football to take advantage of potential changes in the college football landscape similar to Oklahoma. While they aren’t changing conferences like the Sooners as a soon-to-be SEC school, they may be candidates to participate in an expanded College Football Playoff.

Kyle Nash

Kyle is from Orlando, Florida

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