LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (1-1, 0-1) vs. FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES (2-0, 0-0)
Game Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Cardinal Stadium: Louisville, Ky.
Announcers: Roy Philpott (play-by-play), Andre Ware (analyst) and Paul Carcaterra (sidelines)
Favorite: Florida State by 2.5
All-Time Series: Florida State leads, 16-6
Game Day Guide:
Louisville Depth Chart:
Florida State Depth Chart:
“Wow, that’s embarrassing” pic.twitter.com/KDV3LP9fRa— State of Louisville (@thestateoflou) August 24, 2022
Excitement Level: 8.5
I don’t have the time or the energy or the desire to look this up, but this might be the biggest rise from one week to the next in the history of the excitement level. Get the win tonight and we’re probably hanging in the 7.5-9 range for the next three weeks.
Game Attire: Lamar leap t-shirt
First of all, it only feels right in a home game against these guys. Second of all, I’m trying to turn this into a streak now.
Pregame Meal: Torchy’s Tacos
Speaking of streaks ... I’m back across the bridge for the radio show/pregame show which means I’m bringing back Torchy’s for the second week in a row. We win and this will continue until we don’t win.
Bold Prediction: Malik Cunningham tosses more than two touchdown passes
Considering that he’s gone two games without a single TD pass, this feels more bold than it should. Cunningham has been better through the air against FSU than on the ground over the years, and I’m banking on the Seminole defense forcing him to repeat history Friday night.
Rance Conner Tackle Alert Level: Wild Blue Yonder (strong)
We got one last week. Now we’re getting two in a row.
Predicted Star of the Game: Ahmari Huggins-Bruce
We need a major playmaker to step up on that side of the ball, and this feels like a perfect opportunity for AHB.
About Florida State:
Mike Norvell entered this season on a bit of a hot seat but with a primetime win over LSU on the road, he has set himself up well to keep his job and potentially have a big season. The Seminoles are riding a solid running game, improved offensive line play, and a dynamic dual-threat quarterback to impressive offensive performances. Louisville will have their hands full trying to slow them down.
Jordan Travis returns as the FSU starting quarterback and is now in his 15th season of college football. All jokes aside, Travis has matured into a very good passer who can utilize his legs to hurt you. Where he is at his best is when he can’t find an open receiver and he improvises. Once he’s in the open field he can run away from people for huge plays or first downs. Louisville will have to force Travis to prove that he can be a consistent passer in the pocket.
The Noles running game is likely the best UofL will face this year and I’m not sure it’s really close. They use three running backs in a rotation and all three are averaging at least 55 yards per game. Treshuan Ward leads the way and he is a very shifty and fast back that does a great job of making defenders miss. Trey Benson is their big back and he led the country in forced miss tackles two weeks ago as he just ran through people over and over again. Lawrance Toafili has a nice balance of power and shiftiness.
All three of these guys could go off if Louisville doesn’t defend the run like they did in the second half last week. There has to be an investment in stopping these running backs before they get started. I would expect UofL to bring more guys into the box and play downhill to get into running lanes.
The receivers for FSU have been solid but not overwhelmingly explosive so far this season. Mycah Pittman was their biggest addition in the portal and he’s done a good job of being a consistent target in the slot. Pittman has big play speed but also does a good job of making people miss. Onteria Wilson put up two impressive touchdowns against LSU two weeks ago. He is the main concern for me, personally. Wilson is savvy and fast so he can get open against man coverage.
Johnny Wilson has been utilized as a deep threat so far. The 6-7 wideout can obviously make plays on contested throws but he has also been able to get behind defenses. FSU uses play action well, so UofL can’t bite on the run and let him get a step on the defense. Cam McDonald is back at tight end this year and he has been a favorite target for Travis. The Cards need to get off the field on defense so letting the tight end make plays on third downs can’t happen.
The offensive line has been a weakness for FSU for about six years now but it looks to be a strength this season. PFF grades FSU as the best rushing team in the country and the offensive line is a key reason for that. They do a great job of clearing space for the backs and one thing that has stood out to me is the way that they hold their blocks into the second level. This will be the key to the game, in my opinion. Louisville has to find a way to be disruptive and they have to force some negative plays. However, that’s what FSU does so well to avoid as a unit.
Florida State’s best defensive performance in 2022 came in a fairly lopsided loss to Louisville. The final score was within one touchdown but UofL dominated the first half and coasted through the second half. The FSU defense finished last season ranked 30th in the country in defensive yards per play. While they allowed some very big plays against Louisville last season, they have the pieces to contain the explosive plays this season.
The strength of this defense is up front for the second straight season. While Jermaine Johnson is off to the NFL, Jared Verse has stepped in as another major transfer addition and he has been great for the Noles. Verse has four tackles for loss so far this season and he requires extra attention as a pass rusher. Both of UofL’s tackles have been beaten badly this season for at least one sack so this will be a situation to watch.
On the inside, Robert Cooper and Fabian Lovett return to provide a massive interior for the defense. Cooper is one of the largest players in the country and he and Lovett both move very well for their size. While neither will likely make a lot of plays at or outside the hashes, they both can generate push and occupy blockers. They allow the linebackers a lot of room to operate against the run. These guys pretty much shut down Louisville’s run game last season. They have to find a way to counteract them this season.
Tatum Bethune finished last season with 108 tackles...for UCF. He transferred to FSU this season to fill a void for the Noles but also to show that he could play at the highest level. Well, he’s playing at the highest level. PFF rates Bethune as one of the best run defenders in the country and FSU couldn’t have added a better player to line up behind their massive defensive line. Bethune plays downhill very well and because he doesn’t have to deal with blockers very often, he makes a lot of plays. What UofL could try to exploit is Bethune’s lack of playmaking ability against the pass.
Kelen Deloach mans the other linebacker spot in the 4-2-5 that FSU runs and he has been utilized as a spy on some occasions. I haven’t noticed much blitzing from FSU as they can rely on their great defensive line to generate pressure. Deloach can run but LSU found some success on some designed quarterback runs as well as scrambles. Depth is also a little bit of a concern here as no other linebackers have shown the ability to be playmakers so far. The linebackers seem to be a liability in coverage. Can UofL take advantage?
The secondary as a whole is a question mark for FSU but the group has looked good so far. At cornerback, they have some youth and inexperience with Omarion Cooper at one spot and Renardo Green at the other. So far this season, Cooper has been targeted six times and he has given up six catches including the touchdown pass at the end of the game against LSU. Green has been much better and he has shown that he is willing to be a factor in the run defense. UofL has to find a way to take advantage of the guys lining up opposite Green.
Greedy Vance made the move to Tallahassee after two years at Louisville and he has found himself as a rotation option for Defensive Coordinator, Adam Fuller. Vance has lined up in the slot as well as outside and he has been one of the most targeted defensive backs even as a backup. From what I’ve been able to see in over their two games, Vance hasn’t been able to make a play on any passes yet. Kevin Knowles is the starter in the nickel and the veteran defensive back has also been ineffective so far in coverage.
Safety is what balances out this secondary as FSU has one of the best safeties in the country in Jamie Robinson. This guy is good at absolutely everything and he makes this entire defense better by taking away plays down the field while also being a menace in run support. He had 13 tackles last season in this game but he didn’t make an impact in the passing game. I expect that to change in this year’s game.
Akeem Dent is a former five-star cornerback recruit who has moved to safety. Dent has been solid in his career for the Noles but hasn’t really lived up to his recruiting status. Moving dent to safety has seemed to help the defense with coverage and overall speed. I think it is fair to wonder if UofL will have the ability to push the ball down the field as they have in previous years with the talent FSU has in the back end.
—Louisville is 53-32-1 all-time record in Friday night games.
—The Cardinals have won 12 of their last 17 games played on Friday nights, including last week’s 20-14 road win over Central Florida.
—Friday night’s game has been deemed a “Red Out” by U of L. Cardinal fans attending are encouraged to wear red.
—FSU leads the country with an average of 1.50 tackles for loss allowed per game and with a net punting average of 48.67 yards per punt.
—The Seminoles’ average of 0.50 sacks allowed per game is the lowest in the ACC and 12th-best nationally. Florida State also leads the ACC and ranks 5th in the country with an average of 269.0 rushing yards per game. The team ranks 3rd in the ACC by converting 59.3 percent of its 3rd-down conversions, 9th-best nationally, and with its average of 515.0 yards of total offense per game that is 17th in the nation.
—Louisville is 4-4 against Florida State since joining the ACC in 2014, including a 2-2 mark against the Seminoles at home. The Cardinals have won the last two games in the series.
—Florida State is 2-0 for the first time since the 2016 season and looking for a 3-0 start for the first time since 2015.
—Louisville is 108-44 in Cardinal Stadium and 67-32-3 all-time in home openers. The Cardinals own an 18-6 record in Cardinal Stadium home openers.
—Louisville has won seven of its last eight home openers, with the lone loss coming in 2019 to Notre Dame.
—Florida State’s defense ranks 2nd in the ACC and 19th in the country with an average of 256.0 yards of total offense allowed per game. The Seminoles also rank 2nd in the conference, and 16th nationally, in passing defense having only allowed an average of 140.0 passing yards per game, and their .286 third-down defense is the 3rd-lowest conversion rate allowed in the ACC.
—Florida State QB Jordan Travis and defensive tackle Jarrett Jackson both started their college careers at Louisville.
—Louisville CB Jarvis Brownlee played the last three seasons at Florida State before transferring to U of L before this season.
—During Friday night’s game, Louisville will honor the number of former Cardinal RB and Male High School star Michael Bush.
—Louisville is 143-105-6 all-time during the month of September, including 7-6 in the month under Scott Satterfield.
—The Cardinals are 26-36-1 all-time versus teams from the state of Florida, but have won four in a row.
—Louisville is a 2.5-point underdog in this game according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The Cardinals are 1-0 straight up as an underdog so far this season, and 0-1 as a favorite.
—Florida State converted its first seven Red Zone chances of the season - all against Duquesne - to run its Red Zone scoring streak to 39 consecutive chances. That is the second-longest streak in the ACC over the past 19 seasons. The streak ended in the team’s second game against LSU.
—The explosive play has been a big part of Scott Satterfield’s offense since he arrived in Louisville, but U of L has yet to produce a play of 50 yards or more so far this season. The Cards had 10 such plays last season, 11 in 2020 and 15 in 2019.
—Scott Satterfield is 2-1 in games against Florida State.
—Florida State head coach Mike Norvell is 0-2 in games against Louisville.
—Under Scott Satterfield, Louisville is 14-2 when winning the turnover battle, and just 2-16 when losing it.
—Louisville is 6-0 under Scott Satterfield when scoring 40-49 points, and 3-0 when scoring 50 or more.
—In eight seasons as a head coach, Scott Satterfield’s teams are 57-7 when scoring 30 or more points. Louisville is 16-4 in such games under Satterfield.
—Louisville is 1-9 under Scott Satterfield when being held to 21 points or fewer, with their lone win coming in last week’s 20-14 triumph over UCF.
—Louisville is 0-16 under Satterfield when trailing at the end of the 3rd quarter.
—Louisville is currently riding a consecutive game scoring streak that spans 276 games dating back to a 31-0 loss to Florida State during the 2000 season. The streak ranks as the second longest in the ACC behind only Virginia Tech, and the 11th-longest nationally.
—Louisville is 195-14 all-time when scoring 35 or more points in a game. The Cards are also 6-121 all-time when allowing opponents to score 40 or more points.
—“We’re excited about playing at home. We haven’t been here, feels like in a long time and we’re glad to be playing here in a normal week as far as time goes and not having that short week. We’re looking forward to it.” —Scott Satterfield
—”I circled this one on the calendar. But I have love for a lot of those guys over there on the offensive side of the ball. They’re a great team, and I’m just looking forward to battling, man. It’s going to be a fight. Competition is going to be there. I know they’re going to come in and target me a couple of times. I’m just prepared, man. Honestly, I’m ready. I’m just looking forward to playing against my guys that I still have a bone with over there. Shout out to those guys.” —Jarvis Brownlee
—”I’m not going to sit here and say it’s not on my mind, it’s definitely on my mind a little bit, but it’s just another game for me. It’s another game for this football team. We’re just going to go out there, get a win, give everything we have, give 100% and keep getting better every single day.” —Florida State QB Jordan Travis
—“They’re a talented defense. They have playmakers on all three levels. Their D-line is big, the front will be the biggest front that we played this year. They’re really physical up front, the linebackers are fast and mobile, and they tackle well.” —Lance Taylor
—“I think Malik has done it for a long period of time in a dynamic way in this league, I think he’s got everybody’s respect around the country. He plays every week, he’s the leading rusher, you know, he is a dynamic playmaker. He’s beat people over the top with the football he’s beat people running the football, he’s beat people making good decisions, he’s one of the better players in the country and it’s important for us to play as a team against him.” —Florida State defensive coordinator Adam Fuller
—“Malik you know he’s a good quarterback he knows how to extend plays, he’s very athletic. We just gotta get him on the ground. When you get him on the ground he’s not going to be able to do any plays. That’s my biggest deal just to get him on the ground and being calm when he comes at you. He know how to make guys miss a lot so he’s a very athletic dude so I know he’s going to pull the ball a lot and tuck it and run so that’s going to be the biggest thing is to get him on the ground.” —Florida State LB Tatum Bethune
—“Well, (Malik)’s got to throw the ball better. There’s no question. He had some plays the other night we could have hit and extended some drives. He was excellent in the run game, did a great job with that and had some big plays. ... Malik has to continue to work and hopefully it will happen this week that we’ll be able to open it up and get the pass game going.” —Scott Satterfield
—“I’m proud of (Malik Cunningham) for sure. I’ve been watching him and supporting him for a long time. He’s a great person, a great player. And I look forward to competing against him.” —Florida State QB Jordan Travis
—”These guys, they run it well. They’ve had a few missed opportunities here early in the year. But it’s an offense that is very dangerous.” —Florida State head coach Mike Norvell
—”I think struggle is a tough word, going into two games. I mean, historically, they’ve done a great job against the run. [Louisville defensive coordinator] Coach [Bryan] Brown does good job of playing the run, getting those heads down there, and they tackle well. I think they’ve got a couple of new guys and with a limitation of practice, sometime tackling - they’ve improved greatly from game one to two. So I expect them to get that problem fixed really against us pretty quickly.” —Florida State offensive coordinator Alex Atkins
—“I know all their tendencies and what type of guys they are. I know what they don’t like. I know how to get in their head…I think it’s really helpful because I was one of the guys there. So, I pretty much knew a little bit of everything, so, for sure, definitely (provides an advantage). I’m gonna have my guys prepared and ready.” —Jarvis Brownlee
—“What Florida State does really well, they’ve been staying on sticks. I think they’re one of the better teams on third down. They’re averaging a third and five. If you’re averaging third and five, you get an opportunity to pick up a lot of first downs, so hopefully we can knock them off the sticks a little bit and hopefully the crowd here will help that out.” —Scott Satterfield
Card Chronicle Prediction: Florida State 31, Louisville 26
I would love nothing more than to move to a perfect 0-3 on predictions after this week.