Backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Johnny Wilson as Florida State pulled out a 35-31 win over host Louisville to begin its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule on Friday.
Rodemaker was pressed into duty when starting quarterback Jordan Travis exited with a second-quarter injury.
Rodemaker completed 6 of 10 passes for 109 yards and an interception. It was enough to counter a strong outing from versatile Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham, who ran for two touchdowns and threw for another. He finished with 243 passing yards and 127 rushing yards on 17 attempts.
Florida State (3-0, 1-0 ACC) won despite giving up 495 yards of total offense.
Louisville (1-2, 0-1) appeared in trouble after a failed fourth-down pass from the Florida State 45-yard line with 4:37 left and Florida State up by four. The Cardinals got the ball back when the Seminoles’ Ryan Fitzgerald missed a 36-yard field-goal attempt with 1:39 left.
Two first downs later, Kevin Knowles II intercepted Cunningham to clinch the outcome.
Wilson, a transfer from Arizona State, caught seven passes for 149 yards.
The oft-injured Travis left with an lower left leg ailment. He was 13-for-17 for 157 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Running back Jawhar Jordan gained 91 yards on 17 carries for Louisville, which was playing on a Friday night for the second week in a row.
Cunningham ran for an 18-yard touchdown in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to break a 21-21 tie. Just 61 seconds later, Rodemaker connected on a 10-yard scoring pass to Wilson.
Louisville broke the tie on James Turner’s 36-yard field goal at the 11:45 mark.
Rodemaker threw 2 yards to Wilson for the go-ahead points with 7:54 remaining. At 35-31, that gave the Seminoles their first lead since 7-0.
The teams each scored two first-quarter touchdowns.
The scoring began on Travis’ 30-yard pass to Preston Daniel. Louisville responded with Cunningham’s 8-yard touchdown run.
After a missed Florida State field-goal attempt, the Cardinals took their first lead on Cunningham’s 17-yard pass to Trevion Cooley. But with 15 seconds left in the quarter, Travis hooked up with Malik McClain for a 21-yard touchdown play.
Cooley’s 1-yard run marked the only touchdown of the second quarter. The Seminoles pulled even with the third quarter’s lone touchdown on Lawrence Toafili’s 15-yard run.
Louisville had won the past two meetings with Florida State, which is 5-4 against the Cardinals in ACC games.
–Field Level Media