Travis, No. 13 Florida State beat Oklahoma in Cheez-It Bowl

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Jordan Travis threw for 418 yards and two touchdowns and No. 13 Florida State beat Oklahoma 35-32 on Thursday night in the Cheez-It Bowl.

Johnny Wilson made a one-handed grab for a 58-yard gain to set up Ryan Fitzgerald’s 32-yard field goal with 55 seconds left. The Seminoles (10-3) held on, sacking quarterback Dillon Gabriel on the Sooners’ comeback bid.

Jovante Barnes tied it at 32 for Oklahoma (6-7) with 3:37 left on a 12-yard run. That was after Travis fired a 17-yard pass to tight end Markeston Douglas in the end zone to put the Seminoles up 32-25 midway through the fourth. The Seminoles had gotten the ball off an Oklahoma fumble.

Treshaun Ward‘s 1-yard rushing touchdown late in the third quarter gave the Seminoles an 18-17 lead – their first advantage since leading 3-0 in the opening quarter. Travis converted two third downs to guide Florida’s State 94 yards on the 15-play drive.

The Sooners went up 25-18 with 13:22 left on 25-yard run by freshman Gavin Sawchuk and a successful 2-point conversion.

Florida State needed just two minutes to go 75 yards to tie it at 25, with Ward taking the ball 38 yards into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game.

Florida State won its first bowl since the 2017 season, and its first under coach Mike Norvell.

Travis, who has already announced his intention to return to the team for the 2023 season, became the 11th player in program history to pass for 3,000-plus yards in a season.

Treshaun Ward had 81 yards on 10 carries for Florida State, and Wilson had a season-high 202 yards on eight catches.

The Seminoles won their final five games of the regular season, scoring at least 38 points in all of them. Florida State was 5-3 in conference play with its first winning season since 2017, which also was Jimbo Fisher‘s last year coaching the team before taking the head coaching job at Texas A&M.

Oklahoma, making its 24th straight bowl appearance, lost its first bowl game since the 2019 season.

It was a disappointing end to a disappointing season for the storied program that is looking to establish its post-Lincoln Riley identity after he took Southern California’s coaching job after last season.

Oklahoma won its first three games but lost three of its final four, missing the Big 12 title game for the second straight season.

Gabriel, a transfer from UCF, completed 14 of 24 passes for 243 yards and one TD. He also had a rushing score in the second quarter.

THE TAKEAWAY

Florida State: The Seminoles were successful in getting pressure on Brooks in passing situations, recording six sacks.

Oklahoma: Despite missing four starting offensive linemen, the Sooners had 253 total yards of rushing.

Georgia extends contract for AD Josh Brooks, plans two new football practice fields

Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK
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ATHENS, Ga. – On the heels of a second straight national football championship, Georgia has rewarded athletic director Josh Brooks a contract extension that ties him to the Bulldogs through at least 2029.

The athletic association board, wrapping up its annual spring meeting Friday at a resort on Lake Oconee, also announced plans for a new track and field facility that will free up space for two more football practice fields.

Brooks’ new contract will increase his salary to $1.025 million a year, with annual raises of $100,000.

The 42-year-old Brooks, who took over the athletic department in 2021 after Greg McGarity retired, called the Georgia job “a dream for me” and said he hopes to spend the rest of his career in Athens.

“I am extremely grateful,” Brooks said. “I got into this business 20-plus years ago as a student equipment manager. My first job at Louisiana-Monroe was making $20,000 a year in football operations.”

The Georgia board approved a fiscal 2024 budget of $175.2 million, a nearly 8% increase from the most recent budget of $162.2 million and the sign of a prosperous program that is flush with money after its success on the gridiron.

The school received approval to move forward with its preliminary plans for a new track and field facility, which will be built across the street from the complex hosting the soccer and and softball teams.

The current track stadium is located adjacent to the Butts-Mehre athletic facility, which hosts the practice fields and training facilities for the football program.

Georgia lost a chunk of its outdoor fields when it built a new indoor practice facility. After the new track and field stadium is completed, the current space will be converted to two full-length, grass football practice fields at the request of coach Kirby Smart.

“He wants to find efficient ways to practice, and there is a lot of truth to the issues we’ve had with our current practice fields,” Brooks said. “There is a lot of strain on our turf facilities staff to keep that field in great shape when half the day it is getting shade, so that has been a challenge as well. For our football program, it is better to practice on grass fields than (artificial) turf, so to be able to have two side-by-side grass fields is huge. It makes for a much more efficient practice.”

The new track and field complex, which will continue to be named Spec Towns Track, will also include an indoor facility, the first of its kind in the state of Georgia.

Iowa AD Gary Barta announces retirement after 17 years at Big Ten school

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK
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IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa athletic director Gary Barta will retire on August 1 after 17 years at the university, the school announced Friday.

Barta, 59, is one of the longest-tenured athletic directors in a Power Five conference. He was hired by Iowa in 2006 after being the AD at Wyoming.

An interim director will be announced next week, Iowa said.

In September, Iowa hired former Ball State athletic director Beth Goetz to be deputy director of athletics and chief operating officer, putting her in position to possibly succeed Barta.

“It has been an absolute privilege and honor to serve in this role the past 17 years,” Barta said in a statement. “This decision didn’t come suddenly, nor did it come without significant thought, discussion, and prayer.”

“That said, I’m confident this is the right time for me and for my family.”

Iowa won four NCAA national team titles and 27 Big Ten team titles during Barta’s tenure. The women’s basketball team is coming off an appearance in the national championship game and the wrestling team is coming off a second-place finish at the NCAA championships.

Barta served as the chairman of the College Football Playoff committee in 2020 and 2021.

He faced heavy criticism over more than $11 million in settlements for lawsuits in recent years alleging racial and sexual discrimination within the athletic department.

Lawsuits filed by former field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum and associate athletics director Jane Meyer led to a $6.5 million payout.

Iowa had to pay $400,000 as part of a Title IX lawsuit brought by athletes after it cut four sports in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the agreement, Iowa reinstated the women’s swimming and diving program and add another women’s sport.

Iowa added women’s wrestling, the first among Power Five schools to compete this year.

A lawsuit brought by former football players alleging racial discrimination within the program was settled for $4.2 million last March, which prompted state auditor Rob Sand to call for Barta’s ouster.

“Gary Barta’s departure is a long time coming given the four different lawsuits for discrimination that cost Iowa more than $11 million,” Sand posted on Twitter.

The university did not allow taxpayer money to be used for the settlement with the former players.

Barta led Iowa through $380 million of facility upgrades, including renovation of Kinnick Stadium, the construction of a new football facility, a basketball practice facility and a training center for the wrestling teams.

Under Barta, Iowa has had just one head football coach (Kirk Ferentz), women’s basketball coach (Lisa Bluder) and wrestling coach (Tom Brands). All were in place when he arrived.

Barta has also come under scrutiny for allowing Ferentz to employee his son, Brian Ferentz, as offensive coordinator. To comply with the university’s nepotism policy, Brian Ferentz reports to Barta.