Quarterback Jordan Travis ran for two touchdowns and threw for another in the first half and host Florida State held on to knock off No. 5 North Carolina 31-28 on Saturday night at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.
North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell, who was a Florida State commit before switching, nearly rallied the Tar Heels to the largest comeback victory in program history after the team faced two 24-point deficits.
North Carolina cut the margin to 31-28 on Howell’s 25-yard pass to Dyami Brown with 4:58 to play. The Tar Heels, with one timeout remaining, regained possession at their own 22 with 2:30 to play.
The Tar Heels reached the Florida State 41 before a failed fourth down on a dropped pass.
Travis ran for 107 yards and passed for 191. Running back La’Damian Webb gained 109 rushing yards on 12 carries.
The Tar Heels (3-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who put up 56 points on Virginia Tech a week earlier at home, didn’t score until 1:02 remained in the first half.
Howell finished 20-for-36 for 374 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
Following Javonte Williams’ 1-yard run for North Carolina’s first points, the Seminoles went to work and hurried down the field and pushed the lead to 31-7 with Travis’ 12-yard touchdown pass to Camren McDonald with 17 seconds to play in the half.
The Seminoles (2-3, 1-3) didn’t score in the second half, missing a pair of field goals — including after moving inside the North Carolina 5-yard line on the first possession of the third quarter. The second miss came with 6:40 remaining to end a drive that lasted nearly seven minutes.
Howell threw third-quarter touchdown passes to Williams (for 38 yards) and Beau Corrales (for 33 yards).
Florida State scored on its first snap on Travis’ 23-yard run following a blocked punt, marking the first time the Tar Heels trailed this season. After settling for a field goal early in the second quarter, Travis reached the end zone on a 1-yard quarterback sneak.
Then the Seminoles stretched the lead to 24-0 when Joshua Kaindoh turned his first career interception into points on a 25-yard return.
Florida State, whose only previous victory came against Jacksonville State, was coming off a road loss to then-No. 5 Notre Dame a week earlier.
North Carolina’s Mack Brown fell to 0-10 in games as coach against his alma mater (0-3 with Tulane, 0-7 with North Carolina).