TALLAHASSEE — A school-record crowd was ready for one of the biggest Florida State home games in years. Renegade was jumpier than usual, and the Seminoles admitted to feeling goose bumps during the nationally televised contest.
FSU's resurgence wasn't quite ready for prime time yet.
The Seminoles offense fell flat and quarterback EJ Manuel was injured in a 23-13 loss to No. 1 Oklahoma on Saturday night at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Manuel and backup quarterback Clint Trickett combined for three interceptions and couldn't muster enough offense to give the No. 5 Seminoles (2-1) the kind of victory that would once again cement FSU as a powerhouse program.
"We knew we can compete up there with the top guys," said Trickett, who finished 7-of-15 for 134 yards. "And that we are some of the top guys."
But Oklahoma (2-0) was a notch better in front of 84,392.
The Sooners offense clicked early as quarterback Landry Jones became the school's all-time leading passer. He completed his first seven passes and quieted the crowd with a 15-play, 80-yard opening drive capped off by his 1-yard touchdown run.
Behind Manuel, FSU responded quickly after facing its first deficit of the year with a 53-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins.
"We were able to answer right back," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said.
But Manuel stumbled after his 4-of-6 start. The Seminoles drove into Oklahoma's red zone early in the second quarter and advanced to midfield later in the half. Both times, the Sooners came away with interceptions.
"Just a couple plays," FSU defensive lineman Bjoern Werner said.
Oklahoma racked up 13 first-half points — three more than the Seminoles had allowed through the first two games combined — but it could have been worse. The Sooners broke inside the FSU 10 twice in the second quarter. The results: nine plays, minus-4 yards and two Jimmy Stevens field goals.
Manuel started to recover early in the third quarter, completing four passes in a row on FSU's second drive. But he took a hard hit on a 6-yard scramble when a defender slammed his left shoulder into the turf of Bobby Bowden Field. Manuel grimaced on the next few plays and the offense stalled. He finished 13-of-19 for 85 yards and was done for the night.
Trickett took over and completed a key 29-yard pass to Jarred Haggins that set up another Hopkins field goal to cut the deficit to 13-6. Fisher said Manuel could have returned, but the coach didn't want to mess with his offense's newfound spark.
On third and 28 midway through the fourth quarter, the redshirt freshman lobbed a pass to freshman Rashad Greene, who split two defenders and raced 56 yards to tie it at 13-13.
But Oklahoma answered again.
Jones found Ryan Broyles over the middle for a 22-yard gain on third down with just more than seven minutes left. Jones hit Kenny Stills on a 37-yard pass on the next play that kept BCS title hopes alive for Oklahoma and might have crushed them for FSU.
The Sooners' last road nonconference win against a Top 5 opponent came in 1977 at Ohio State.
"They're the No. 1 team for a reason," Werner said.
Matt Baker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.