Game of the Week: No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 10 Louisville
As 55,000 people file into the stadium in Louisville, they will be waiting for what may be the most important game in the history of Louisville football.
There the tenth-ranked Louisville Cardinals will host the second-ranked Florida State Seminoles at noon in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Saturday Sept. 17.
The Florida State vs. Louisville series has been dominated by the Seminoles historically. With a 14-2 record in these matchups, the only losses suffered by FSU were the opening game of the series back in 1952, when they lost 41-14, and a close loss in 2002 by a score of 26-20.
Louisville will look to change their fortunes and take down the Seminoles in the seventeenth matchup of the series. The squad has been rolling against their first two opponents with victories over Charlotte and Syracuse by scores of 70-14 and 62-28 respectively.
A big reason the Cardinals are off to a 2-0 start has been the outstanding play of their sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Jackson has accounted for a total of 13 touchdowns in the two games thus far, with seven scores through the air and another six on the ground. The quarterback has passed for 697 and is also the team’s leading rusher with 318 yards, which is 140 more than any other player on the team.
Jackson has found two targets on the outside in seniors Jamari Staples and James Quick. Staples has hauled in nine balls for 219 yards, and Quick has five receptions for 140 yards and two scores.
On the other sideline are the No. 2 Florida State Seminoles and a pair of Heisman hopefuls in junior running back Dalvin Cook and redshirt-freshman quarterback Deondre Francois.
Cook has a team high 174 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Francois has found his favorite target in junior wideout Travis Rudolph. Rudolph has racked up 179 receiving yards and found the endzone three times.
The team, led by coach Jimbo Fisher, has also won their first two games of the season. The Seminoles started the season with high expectations as they were ranked fourth in the preseason rankings.
In Florida State’s opening game against the Ole Miss Rebels they fell behind early, but made a comeback to capture a 45-34 victory. Week two gave the Seminoles a chance to catch their breath as they defeated Charleston Southern in a lopsided affair, with a final score of 52-8.
Many have questioned if Louisville is a team that has a legitimate chance to make the College Football Playoff, or if they are an average team benefitting from a lackluster opening schedule. This game will give a better picture of the ACC Championship race.
With both teams being the Atlantic half of the ACC, the winner will control their own destiny to the ACC Championship game. But before they book a trip to the primetime game on December 3rd, both teams will run into a Clemson squad that nearly won a national title last season.
Overall, this game is between a team that has proven that they have a real chance to make the playoff and a team that is still relatively unknown. The Seminole’s defense faced Chad Kelly of Ole Miss in their first game of the season and they handled him pretty well.
Kelly threw for 313 yards and four scores, but Florida State also forced him into three interceptions and allowed him to complete just 54 percent of his passes. Kelly, who is known as a dual threat quarterback, was held to just 15 yards rushing on 13 attempts.
Expect the Seminoles to handle Jackson just fine, and for Francois and Cook to have their way with the Cardinal’s defense. Louisville has not faced a team with skill players like Florida State’s, and I do not think that they can adjust to the speed of these players.
This game may get ugly in the first half as the Seminoles comes out hard and put a few scores on the board early, but Louisville will be able to narrow the margin in the garbage time towards the end of the game.
Prediction: Florida State 45, Louisville 28
Patrick Johnsonbaugh is a freshman majoring in Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.