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No. 5 FSU, No. 6 Georgia aim to get past anger in Orange Bowl

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Florida State owns a 19-game winning streak that ranks second nationally, and Georgia has won 45 of its past 47 games.

However, neither program is part of the four-team College Football Playoff, leaving the No. 5 Seminoles and the No. 6 Bulldogs to face off in the Orange Bowl on Saturday at Miami Gardens, Fla.

Florida State (13-0) appeared in great position to land a playoff spot until star quarterback Jordan Travis, who finished fifth in Heisman Trophy balloting, sustained a broken leg on Nov. 18 against North Alabama.

The Seminoles won their next two games behind two different starting quarterbacks, but they wound up fifth in the final rankings, when chairman Boo Corrigan said the committee decided that “Florida State is a different team without Jordan Travis.”

At the time, Seminoles coach Mike Norvell described himself as “disgusted and infuriated with the committee’s decision.” Now he is focused on leading Florida State to its second-ever 14-0 season.

Georgia (12-1) fell from No. 1 to No. 6 in the final rankings but only had itself to blame. The Bulldogs lost 27-24 to then-No. 8 Alabama in the Southeastern Conference title game.

Georgia is making its 27th straight bowl appearance, the longest active streak in the nation.

The big question for the Bulldogs is whether All-America tight end Brock Bowers will play. Bowers injured an ankle against Vanderbilt on Oct. 14, underwent surgery two days later and returned Nov. 11 but wasn’t a big-time force the rest of the season.

“Brock’s been with us the whole time and he’s been doing all the things he’s got to do,” Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said. “It’s more important, though, that he’s 100 percent. The guy probably played earlier than he should have, came out there and competed his butt off.”

Bowers has 56 catches for 714 yards and six touchdowns this season. He ranks second in school history in touchdown receptions (26), third in catches (175) and fifth in receiving yards (2,538).

Smart expects Ladd McConkey to be available after the wideout was limited to nine games due to injuries.

Bulldogs quarterback Carson Beck considered declaring for the NFL draft before announcing his return for 2024. Beck is completing 72.4 percent of his passes this season (which would be a school record) for 3,738 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions.

“We’ve felt pretty good that Carson was coming back the entire time,” Smart said. “He certainly had options, but he communicated that he wanted to grow and continue to get better.”

Florida State has been hit heavily by departures since defeating then-No. 14 Louisville 16-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game on Dec. 2.

Backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker, who guided the Seminoles past Florida on Nov. 25, announced earlier this week that he is entering the transfer portal and won’t play in the Orange Bowl. That leaves freshman Brock Glenn to make his second straight start. Glenn passed for just 55 yards in the Louisville game when Rodemaker sat out due to a concussion.

“Definitely excited to see (Glenn) take the step from his first start to his second start,” Norvell said. “A lot of confidence in what he’ll be able to do, what he’ll be able to accomplish. … I know Brock is going to be fired up and excited for the opportunity that he has.”

Other Seminoles sitting out include top running back Trey Benson (905 rushing yards, 15 total touchdowns), receivers Keon Coleman (50 catches, 11 for touchdowns), Johnny Wilson (41 receptions) and Jaheim Bell (39 catches), All-America defensive end Jared Verse (team-best nine sacks). Defensive tackle Fabien Lovett also is headed for the NFL, but it was unclear if he would compete against Georgia.

Florida State enter its 50th bowl game with a 30-17-2 bowl record, including a 5-5 mark in the Orange Bowl.

Georgia has won six consecutive bowl games and is 37-21-3. The Bulldogs are 3-1 in past Orange Bowl appearances.

Georgia is 6-4-1 all-time against Florida State. The Bulldogs won the most recent meeting 26-13 in the Sugar Bowl following the 2002 regular season.

–Field Level Media

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