Just the Facts: Florida State vs. Louisville
The FSU head coach talked about preparing for Louisville’s two quarterbacks and whether or not he believes Landon Dickerson will play. Curt Weiler, Tallahassee Democrat
Florida State travels to Louisville this weekend for a 3:30 p.m. road showdown between two teams off to underwhelming starts.
A win for the Seminoles (2-2, 0-2 in ACC) over the Cardinals (2-2, 0-1 in ACC) would push them above .500 for the first time this season after a slow start which included losses to Virginia Tech and Syracuse.
FSU leads the all-time series over UL 14-4 and won the first two matchups against the Cardinals after they joined the ACC, but UL enters this season on a two-game winning streak over the Seminoles.
FSU is favored this week because it is playing perhaps the only ACC team off to a more disappointing start to its 2018 campaign.
UL opened ACC play last week with a 27-3 loss at Virginia and has shown no signs of life on offense while being forced to replace its Heisman Trophy quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The FSU offense showed signs of life early in the win over Northern Illinois last week and there’s reason to believe that will carry forward against the Cardinals.
UL is allowing 5.65 yards per play and has only played one team with an especially potent offense in Alabama.
Defensively, the Cardinals are ill-equipped to take advantage of FSU’s struggling offensive line as they have amassed six sacks through four games this season while allowing 11.
The last time FSU played at UL, it was a 63-20 beatdown by the Cardinals which served as a coronation of sorts for Jackson’s Heisman campaign.
The FSU players who participated in that game were somewhat willing to admit that game was weighing on them as they prepared to make a return trip.
FSU letting that moment be too big for them could open the door.
There’s also Louisville’s quarterback situation.
UL head coach Bobby Petrino played it coy this week when asked which of his two starting quarterbacks would get the start against the Seminoles.
The Cardinals have started both Jawon Pass and Malik Cunningham this season as the offense has struggled to find its footing.
The offense remains similar with either at the helm, but Pass relies on his arm more while Cunningham is an athlete who uses his legs to stretch out the defense.
Preparing for two quarterbacks is inherently difficult and if either of them finally clicks Saturday, it could prove problematic for the Seminoles.
In three games against FBS opponents this season, UL has failed to score a first-half touchdown and has scored three combined first-half points.
The trip to Louisville provides another strong chance for the FSU running game to get going. Both Virginia and Alabama ran for over 200 yards and over five yards per carry against the Cardinals, who have allowed six rushing touchdowns this season.
FSU enters Saturday averaging fewer than three yards per carry and has had just two rushing touchdowns from running backs. If the run game is able to find success, it will go a long way towards opening up FSU’s offense.
FSU gave fans a little bit of hope last Saturday with the way it played against Northern Illinois, and I think that carries over this week against a struggling Louisville team.
The Cardinals needed a fourth-quarter rally to beat Western Kentucky and were trounced by Virginia last Saturday.
I think the Seminoles are better on both sides of the ball with the Cardinals having the edge in special teams, but I think the Seminoles will get it done this week. I also think they cover the 6.5-point spread. Give me the ‘Noles 24-13.
After acknowledging the possibility last week that the NIU game may be the last time the Seminoles would be favored this season, here they are as touchdown favorites on the road the very next week.
Although FSU looked better last week, that’s more about the Cardinals than it is the Seminoles.
UL’s offense has been among the worst in the country and I fully expect the defense to wear down as the game progresses due to an offense that is unable to remain on the field.
I believe the FSU ground game improves, the Seminoles force their first turnover against an FBS opponent and the result is in hand by the beginning of the fourth quarter.