FSU grabs 10th win after beating Oklahoma 35-32 in Cheez-It Bowl

Florida Shrugged off a tough first half and early double-digit deficit to win 35-32 over Oklahoma Cheez-It Bowl Thursday night at Camping World Stadium.

Ryan Fitzgerald’s 32-yard field goal with 59 seconds left gave the Seminoles the win.

It was FSU’s sixth straight win in 10 games for the first time since 2016 and capped off a turnaround season.

Florida State University quarterback jordan travis 410 total yards and safe jamie robinson Completing 9 tackles, 1 sack and 1 fumble.

It was the Seminoles’ first bowl game since 2019 and the program’s first playoff win since 2017.

Oklahoma State (6-7, 3-6 Big 12) entered the game hoping to put a positive spin on what has been a disappointing season.

Oklahoma State running back Gavin Sochuk (27) passes FSU defensive back Jamie Robinson (10) in Thursday night's Cheez-It Bowl game.

To make matters worse, the Sooners are without a handful of starters who have opted out of the bowl, consisting of tackles Wanya Morris (NFL) and Anton Harrison (NFL), running back Eric Gray (NFL), receiver Theo Wease (transfer) and Defensive lineman Jalen Redmond (NFL). However, that didn’t seem to slow the Sooners, who had more than 400 yards of offense.

Backup back Jovante Barnes led the team with 111 yards, while Gavin Sawchuck added 96 yards.

After a slow start, Florida State’s offense picked up in the second half as the Seminoles scored 21 points. Along the way, Travis became the 11th quarterback in school history to pass for 3,000 yards in a single season. The redshirt teenager completed six consecutive passes, including a 17-yard pass to tight end Maxton Douglas for a touchdown, to propel FSU to a 32-25 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel put on a show of his own, scoring two touchdowns on his return to the Orlando area. Gabriel spent three seasons at UCF as the starting quarterback in 2019-21, leading the Cavaliers to an 18-8 record.

Florida State looked out of sync for much of the first half, with missed passes, missed tackles and an inability to convert on third and fourth downs. The second half was a different story, with the defense forcing Oklahoma to play early and the offense finding some rhythm.

FSU defensive tackle Joshua Farmer (44) grabbed the mask of Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel (8) in Thursday night's Cheez-It Bowl game.

FSU kicked off and drove quickly, Travis had 46 of the Seminoles’ 70 yards and a 26-yard pass to Johnny Wilson. But after the Oklahoma 5’s 3-and-5 failed to convert, FSU decided it was Fitzgerald’s 23-yard field goal.

When Gabriel found receiver Jalil Farooq in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown, the Sooners responded in the opener, giving OU an early 7-3 lead.

The Seminoles failed to convert on two short-yardage situations on the next possession, including a 4th-and-1 that gave Oklahoma possession on FSU 43. Incomplete returns the ball to ‘Noles.

After FSU hit, Oklahoma closed out eight plays on Gabriel’s 8-yard touchdown to give the Sooners a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter.

FSU failed to convert on No. 4 and No. 8 in OU 43, giving the Sooners good field position for the second straight time. But Oklahoma couldn’t take advantage, as kicker Zach Schmit deflected his 45-yard field goal attempt to the left with 9:47 left in the first half to keep the score at 14-3.

Florida State’s offense came alive on the next possession as the Seminoles raced down the field before Travis fired a laser pass to receiver Ontario Wilson, who streaked the front of the end zone for 16 yards touchdown. With 7:18 left in the first half, FSU’s 2-point conversion made it 14-11.

Schmidt’s 41-yard field goal extended Oklahoma’s lead to 17-11 at halftime.

This article first appeared on Orlando Sentinel Network. Email Matt Mershall mmurschel@orlandosentinel.com Or follow him on Twitter @osmattmurschel.