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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Jaxson may not have been named after Lamar, but he still claims to be No. 8's biggest fan.

Kira Figg

I_medium Spread check: Florida State by 2.

I_medium Pat Forde says that ten years later, Bobby Petrino finally has the quarterback he was hoping to coach when he left Louisville.

That drive was instilled in large part by Lamar's mother, Felicia James. (His father, Lamar Jackson Sr., was killed in a car accident when Lamar was younger.) She is "a character," in Swain's words, both her son's biggest booster and biggest critic.

When Swain would drive Lamar home after practice, Felicia often would greet him with a medicine ball and put him through a core workout. When the Boynton Beach coaches informed her that the fastest guy on the team was not winning wind sprints -€” i.e., her son -€” she let him have it. One day when someone offered him a ticket to a Miami Dolphins game, mom interceded to say that her son had promised to work out and would be unable to attend.

"She's like a coach," Lamar said, smiling. "She knows what's going on. When I talk to her she goes first to what I did bad. She's going to ask me, ‘Why did you throw those interceptions? Why did you fumble?'

"But actually, I usually agree with her. I know what I've got to work on to get better."

That's why Jackson has been so reserved in his assessment of his play this season. He's absolutely torched Charlotte and Syracuse, accounting for 13 total touchdowns and 1,015 total yards -€” first and second in the nation, respectively -€” but remained mostly unimpressed.

"It was all right," Jackson said of the Syracuse game, when he broke the Atlantic Coast Conference record for total yardage with 610.

The most spellbinding play came on a scramble when receiver Jamari Staples missed a block and left Jackson one-on-one with a defensive back. The Orange defender dipped his head just slightly to go for the tackle, and Jackson hurdled over him like Edwin Moses and then strolled into the end zone.

"I saw him take off and I was like, ‘Whoa!' " Staples recalled. "I think he can do anything on the field. He can play any position.

"From here on out, Lamar's the Heisman front-runner. No doubt in my mind he's the best player."

The time to prove that with the nation watching is Saturday. Second-ranked Florida State comes to town to take on No. 10 Louisville, in a game that ranks on the short list of the biggest in Cardinals football history. ESPN's "College GameDay" will be here for the first time, and the focus is largely on Lamar Jackson.

I_medium Lamar Jackson and Deondre Francois are two of the best young quarterbacks in college football, but they took two very different paths to get where they are.

I_medium Week 3 Puppy Pick 'Em Challenge details coming tonight.

I_medium Florida State and College GameDay have been linked together since the inception of the show.

I_medium We still haven't forgotten, Kirk.

I_medium The 4-4 Louisville volleyball team hosts Kentucky tonight at 7 p.m. inside the KFC Yum Center.

I_medium Big shoutout to James Warmath for repping the Cards at his school spirit day despite being all the way down in Jackson, Mississippi.

I_medium SB Nation's S&P formula likes Florida State to beat Louisville on Saturday by about three points.

I_medium Here's your token crazy Florida State fan video of the week.

I'm honestly just impressed by the Calvin Borel reference.

I_medium Twelve of SB Nation's 17 college football writers like Florida State over Louisville this weekend.

I_medium Your guide to week three in early '90s work orientation video form.

I_medium Nigel Hayes owes the entire Wisconsin student section donuts after they sold out their allotment for the 2016-17 season in under five minutes.

I_medium SportsCenter will be live from the Red Rage Tailgate  at 7 a.m. Saturday morning. Show up and make it look good.

I_medium The Florida State defense played against Lamar Jackson for four quarters last October, but they know the quarterback they're going to see Saturday is a much different player.

I_medium The kids get it.

I_medium Dalvin Cook's coming out party came at Louisville two years ago, and now he's ready for his return.

I_medium An ESPN Insider article asks anonymous college football coaches how to stop Dalvin Cook.

I_medium I don't care what the competition was, what Lamar Jackson has done in five and-a-half quarters this season is unheard of.

I_medium As you might expect, John L. Smith remembers the 2002 upset of FSU very fondly.

"I recall that two years earlier, we had gone to Tallahassee and we had a lot of sophomores and young kids playing---and they thumped us pretty good at their house. And then we had them coming in. So now, all of a sudden, those sophomores and young guys were juniors and seniors, so they were looking forward to it," Smith said.

In a torrential downpour, fallout of Hurricane Isidore, the Cardinals took the Seminoles to overtime. An Anthony Floyd interception in that OT gave the Cards the ball. The second play of overtime was a counter to running back Henry Miller. He ran 25 yards into the end zone, giving U of L a 26-20 victory.

"We almost drowned Henry. If you'll remember, we had the big swale at the (end zone) and it was full of water. It had to be three feet deep. I thought the poor kid was going to drown. His teammates were going to kill him," Smith said of the post-TD celebration.

During the post-game news conference, Smith slapped himself in the face, as if he couldn't believe what happened.

He says that win over Florida State changed everything.

"It kind of made us a household name. After that game, you get a win, you're on TV, and the recruits at least invited us in. We were able to sit down at the table with the (big time schools)," Smith said.

Smith eventually moved on to Michigan State, where he had his share of nationally recognized victories, but the Florida State win is still special to him fourteen years later.

"That was huge. A couple of the wins at Notre Dame Stadium when I was at Michigan State were gigantic, just because it's kind of like it's hallowed ground, but for what it has done and did do, I think, for a program (there's) nothing bigger that I've participated in."

I_medium The ACC Digital Network relives Florida State's monster second half comeback against the Cards from 2014. I say this again, we could be up by 50 at halftime on Saturday and I would be terrified.

I_medium It's a big weekend on the pitch (soccer term) as well as the gridiron, as the men's soccer team is hosting No. 1 Notre Dame Friday night at 7 p.m. inside Lynn Stadium. The Cards are 1-4 all-time against top-ranked teams.

I_medium Buddy I wish.

I_medium Tomahawk Nation breaks down the film from the third quarter of the Ole Miss game.

I_medium ESPN takes a look at what to watch for in the ACC in week three, and it starts with the showdown between Lamar Jackson and the Florida State defense.

I_medium Very cool move by Ryan McMahon.

And by Luke Hancock.

I_medium No conference in the country has a better crop of quarterbacks than the ACC.

I_medium Love it.

I_medium My thoughts are yes.

I_medium Against Michigan this weekend, Colorado is wearing the same uniform design it wore in 1994 when Kordell Steward stunned the Wolverines with a last second Hail Mary.

I_medium Here's a good recap of Jimbo Fisher's weekly call-in show.

I_medium Athlon likes FSU by a field goal.

Final Analysis

This is one of the toughest games to get a read on for Week 3. Similar to 2014, it wouldn't be a surprise if Louisville jumped out to an early lead behind the home crowd and a few dynamic plays by Lamar Jackson. However, the Seminoles have a penchant for second-half comebacks under Jimbo Fisher. The absence of safety Derwin James is a huge blow to the defense, but the offense is capable of matching Louisville score-for-score and then some. The guess here is the Cardinals will lead for most of the game, but Francois and Cook lead the Seminoles to the game-winning drive deep in the fourth quarter to escape Louisville with a three-point victory.  

Prediction: Florida State 34, Louisville 31

I_medium 247 Sports explains why the Cards will pull the upset on Saturday.

I_medium Lukayus McNeil is the perfect player to protect Lamar Jackson, because he's spent his entire life protecting other people.

McNeil's mother moved away early in his high school career, but McNeil decided to stay in Indianapolis, having found comfort at Decatur Central High School. Isriel stayed, too.

Finding permanent housing was more difficult than anticipated, so for most of high school McNeil and his brother bounced between houses of friends, teachers and coaches. McNeil was sparse with his family's details, even to those taking them in.

They were homeless.

"I can't even tell you," McNeil said when asked how many different homes they have slept at. "We've moved all over the place."

A constant in pictures of McNeil is a trademark radiant smile, but Isriel sensed constantly bouncing from place to place with him in tow was increasingly onerous.

"It's given him a few metaphorical gray hairs," Isriel said. "I saw him growing up struggling, and I can see it in his eyes he doesn't want to struggle anymore."

I_medium Syracuse website Inside the Loud House puts the Orange's blowout loss to Louisville in some historical perspective.

I_medium The Palm Beach Post talks to Lamar Jackson's high school coach who says he knew right away that the Boynton Beach product was going to be a star.

I_medium And finally, beat Florida State.