October 20, 2017 - by
First and 10: Florida State vs. Louisville

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  – Carrying some positive momentum after a win at Duke, Florida State returns home for a pivotal contest against the Louisville Cardinals. Here are the names, numbers and notes you need to know before kickoff.

1) Game on

Florida State (2-3, 2-2 ACC) vs. Louisville (4-3, 1-3)When/Where: Saturday, noon/Doak Campbell Stadium (79,560)
TV/Radio: ESPN/Seminole IMG Radio Network/SiriusXM Ch. 193

Florida State injury report:
DB Calvin Brewton (Knee) — QUESTIONABLE
WR George Campbell (Hip) – OUT
WR Keith Gavin (Leg) – OUT
DT Darvin Taylor (Shoulder) – OUT
DT Cedric Wood (Back) – OUT

Out for Season
OL Landon Dickerson (Ankle)
QB Deondre Francois (Knee)
OL Baveon Johnson (Knee)
OL Jauan Williams (Shoulder)

2. Know Your Foe

Louisville Cardinals
Coach: Bobby Petrino (71-25 in eight seasons/two stints at Louisville, 113-36 overall)
Last game: The Cardinals rallied from a pair of two-touchdown deficits but fell, 45-42, when Boston College hit a 27-yard field goal as time expired. The loss was Louisville’s second straight.
Last game vs. Florida State: Lamar Jackson threw for four touchdowns and ran for another in a 63-20 win for the Cardinals at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Sept. 17, 2016. Auden Tate caught two touchdowns for FSU.

Louisville vs. Florida State all-time: Florida State leads the series 14-3 and is 9-1 in Tallahassee.
1952: Louisville 41, FLORIDA STATE 14
1953: FLORIDA STATE 59, Louisville 0
1954: Florida State 47, LOUISVILLE 6
1970: FLORIDA STATE 9, Louisville 7
1979: Florida State 27, LOUISVILLE 0
1980: FLORIDA STATE 52, Louisville 0
1981: FLORIDA STATE 17, Louisville 0
1982: FLORIDA STATE 49, Louisville 14
1983: FLORIDA STATE 51, Louisville 7
1986: Florida State 54, LOUISVILLE 18
1987: FLORIDA STATE 32, Louisville 9
1991: Florida State 40, LOUISVILLE 15
2000: FLORIDA STATE 31, Louisville 0
2002: LOUISVILLE 26, Florida State 20 (OT)
2014: Florida State 42, LOUISVILLE 30
2015: No. 8 FLORIDA STATE 41, Louisville 21
2016: No. 10 LOUISVILLE 63, No. 2 Florida State 20
2017: Florida State vs. Louisville, Saturday, noon

3. Storylines
  • Florida State and Louisville meet for the third time as conference opponents, and each team is looking to use a win over the other as a rallying point for the rest of the season. Florida State is trending up after a 17-10 win at Duke last week, while Louisville is reeling with two straight losses, including a 45-42 setback to Boston College last week. The Eagles hadn’t scored 45 points against a Power Five opponent since 2009.
  • As expected, what happened in last year’s FSU-Louisville game – a 63-20 win for the Cardinals – has dominated the discussion leading up to this contest. Both Jimbo Fisher and Louisville coach Bobby Petrino have each insisted that what happened a year ago won’t amount to much come Saturday. Fisher even said that his team isn’t really using the loss as motivation, and that he’d rather the Seminoles keep their emotions in check so as to guard against losing their discipline.
  • Louisville is an intriguing opponent: The Cardinals bring what is likely the best offense the Seminoles will face this year, but they have appeared vulnerable on defense. With reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson at the helm, the Cardinals are racking up more than 560 yards and 38 points per game, and they’ve crossed the 600-yard mark three times. Louisville, however, has been susceptible on the other side of the ball, where it’s allowing an average of more than 380 yards per game. The Cardinals have surrendered at least 28 points in every game against major competition, and they’re 2-3 in those games.
  • Jackson, meanwhile, is the most dangerous player the Seminoles will face in 2017. He accounted for five touchdowns against FSU a year ago, and he’s picked up where he left off with 26 total touchdowns and a nation’s-best 430.3 yards of offense per game.
4. Ones To Watch

Louisville: Jackson does pretty much everything, but he also has a pair of big-play receivers aiding his cause. Freshman Dez Fitzpatrick (33-541, 7 TDs) is the Cardinals’ top receiver, but that’s due in large part to an injury that kept junior Jaylen Smith (28-497, 2) sidelined for a month. Smith returned last week and caught five passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. The two have combined for eight catches of 30-plus yards.

On defense, linebacker Jon Greenard has emerged as one of the ACC’s top pass rushers. His five sacks are tied for third-most in the conference, and he’s got 11.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble to go along with them.

Florida State: It may be an obvious choice, but, in a game that will likely feature the offenses, the Seminoles may need the best outing of James Blackman’s young career. The good news is that Blackman has steadily improved in recent weeks. Dating back to the fourth quarter against Miami, the freshman has completed 27 of his last 31 passes with three touchdowns.

While Derwin James’ absence hurt FSU’s defense at Louisville last year, the Seminoles were also dealing with injuries that hindered Derrick Nnadi and Josh Sweat, two of FSU’s key defensive linemen. Those two – as well as James – are healthy for this year’s contest, and Nnadi in particular could play a big part in disrupting the Louisville offensive line and making Jackson uncomfortable.

First and 10: Florida State vs. Louisville
5. Numbers To Know

Total offense: FSU: 346.6 YPG (110th nationally); UL: 567.5 YPG (4th)
Scoring offense:  FSU: 18.2 PPG (121st); UL: 38.1 PPG (20th)
Passing offense: FSU: 201.8 YPG (84th); UL: 358.9 YPG ( 7th)
Rushing offense: FSU: 144.8 YPG (84th); UL: 208.6 (28th)

Total defense: FSU: 330.6 YPG (28th); UL: 380.4 YPG (63rd)
Scoring defense: FSU: 20.8 PPG (38th); UL: 29.6 PPG (85th)
Passing defense: FSU: 216.0 YPG (59th); UL: 231.9 YPG (80th)
Rushing defense: FSU: 114.6 YPG (21st); UL: 148.6 YPG (63rd)

 

6. They Said It

“He might put a little bit of fear in Lamar Jackson’s heart, just seeing him back there. Hopefully he can come in and make an impact in the game on Saturday.” – FSU cornerback Levonta Taylor on what it means to have Derwin James available to face Louisville this year

“You’re going to have to be ready to score points because they score points on good (defenses). It doesn’t matter (who the opponent is).” – FSU coach Jimbo Fisher on facing Louisville’s offense

“You watch the film, and it’s one thing here, one thing there, one guy maybe slips up one play. But you see it, (and notice that) if that one thing didn’t happen, what kind of play could’ve broken out. As a team, we see these chances, and that’s our focus now.” – FSU center Alec Eberle on the offense’s progress

“Obviously, we’re not seeing the results we want. We do have a belief in how we prepare, how we practice, and it’s been good. It’s worked over time, so you have to stick to your beliefs and not try to have quick fixes.” – Louisville coach Bobby Petrino

“We’re anxious to get back out there and right that wrong. It’s been very positive. A lot of people expect us to be down, but when you’re backed into a corner you have to fight. The season hasn’t gone the way we wanted it to but there’s a lot of good football left in this team.” – Louisville linebacker James Hearns

7. Nole Notes
  • Louisville’s Jackson will be the 10th eventual opposing Heisman Trophy winner to suit up at Doak Campbell Stadium. There others are Florida’s Tim Tebow (2006, 08), Danny Wuerffel (1994, 1996) and Steve Spurrier (1964, 66), USC’s Carson Palmer (1998), Miami’s Gino Torreta (1989, 91) and Vinny Testaverde (1983, 85), Auburn’s Bo Jackson (1984), South Carolina’s George Rogers (1979) and Pittsburgh’s Tony Dorsett (1974).
  • FSU is facing the previous year’s Heisman Trophy winner for the fourth time. The Seminoles previously played Oklahoma’s Billy Sims (1979), BYU’s Ty Detmer (1991) and Florida’s Tim Tebow (2008).
  • Fisher and Petrino are two of just six active coaches to have coached a Heisman winner. Nick Saban, Kevin Sumlin, Urban Meyer and Frank Solich are the others.
  • FSU set a new high rushing total last week for the fourth straight game. FSU ran for 104 yards against NC State, 149 at Wake Forest, 203 against Miami and 228 at Duke.
  • Kicker Ricky Aguayo last week extended his consecutive field goals streak to 11 straight. That’s a career high for him and the longest streak by an FSU kicker since his older brother, Roberto, made 23 consecutive kicks during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
  • FSU’s defense has allowed only seven touchdowns in 17 red-zone possessions. That’s the best mark in the ACC and tied for 10th nationally.
  • Jackson last week became Louisville’s all-time leading rusher. He’s got 3,211 career rushing yards, which broke a 42-year-old record held by Walter Peacock.
8. Watch And Learn

Florida State will hold its annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday, with former running back William Floyd headlining this year’s crop of new members. Floyd is one of the more beloved figures of his era, having helped lead the Seminoles’ offense on their way to the 1993 national championship. A year later, he earned a Super Bowl ring as a rookie with the San Francisco 49ers. Floyd has kept close ties with FSU, and in 2008 he joined Gene Deckerhoff in the radio booth as the color analyst during game broadcasts.

Floyd, who played fullback in the NFL, is best remembered for his big, bruising style, which is on display here:

9. Further Reading
10. The Bottom Line

Forget what happened last year. This game carries far more significance for what lies ahead. Neither Florida State nor Louisville started this season the way they envisioned, but one team has a chance to turn things around for the second half at the expense of the other.

While both teams have an uphill climb in the ACC Atlantic race, a victory would keep Florida State’s hopes alive while bringing plenty of significance to the next month’s games against Boston College, Syracuse and Clemson.

The focus is rightly on Jackson and the Louisville offense, but the Seminoles’ outlook in this one largely hinges on their own offense. Coach Jimbo Fisher was encouraged by last week’s effort at Duke, and with good reason. James Blackman and Co. looked as good as they have all season against the Blue Devils, finding success in just about every avenue but the scoreboard – they racked up a season high in total yardage, but that translated into only 17 points.

Fisher, however, believes that if the Seminoles continue to perform at their recent level, the points will come. If that happens, FSU will likely feel good about its chances of handing the reeling Cardinals a third straight loss.

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