Florida State-Louisville Preview And Prediction

The NoleDigest staff previews and predicts the Florida State-Louisville game.


Record: 2-3

ACC Record: 1-1

Record Against FSU: 2-13

Head Coach Bobby Petrino

Head Coaching Record: 94-37

Record At Louisville: 52-16

Record In The ACC: 6-4

Record Against FSU: 0-1


Every stat that you will need for this game can be found here: Tale Of The Tape: FSU-UL

Key Players

QB Lamar Jackson: 52-97 for 598 yards, 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. 66 rushes for 435 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Jackson is a true freshman and will be making his fourth start of the season, his third in a row. He leads the team in passing yards and in rushing yards. He has the ability and speed to break big runs. He has 19 rushes for 10-plus yards and 4 rushes for 20-plus yards. 

DE Sheldon Rankins: 31 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks

Rankins, 6-foot-2, 303-pounds, is an absolute load on the defensive line. He is dominant in both phases of the game. He is an excellent run stopper, while also having the ability to get to the quarterback. He is arguably the best defensive lineman Florida State will play all year. 

LB James Burgess: 43 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 1 interception

Burgess is the leader of the defense, and has a nose for the football. He is Louisville's second leading tackler, and is very good in coverage.

S Josh Harvey-Clemons: 42 tackles, .5 tackles for loss, and 2 interceptions

Florida State fans should remember Harvey-Clemons well from his time as a 5-star recruit out of nearby Lowndes County High School. Harvey-Clemons has found a home at Louisville and has been one of their best players on that defense. He's a hard hitting, ball hawking safety. 


Wayne McGahee III:

The Florida State offense took a big step forward against Miami, but this Louisville defense is a completely different animal. They have playmakers at each level, and they are one of only eight teams in the country that are ranked in the Top-25 of the S&P rankings against both the run and the pass. Florida State will need to continue to protect the football. Dalvin Cook will have a much tougher time running against this defense, but I still like him to pull off at least one long run for a touchdown. Everett Golson will need to continue to make smart decisions against this secondary that has forced nine interceptions through five games. 

With as good as Louisville's defense is the offense has been that bad at times this year. They've turned to Lamar Jackson full time now because their woeful offensive line mandates that the quarterback can move. They have allowed 17 sacks this season. The Florida State defense will need to be disciplined in their rush lanes and prevent Jackson from taking off as much as he would like too. If Florida State can keep Jackson in the pocket it will be a big win for the Seminoles defense.

I think that this game is going to be extremely hard fought, but at the end of the day I don't think the Louisville offense can score enough to win. I see Florida State getting a big Cook run for a touchdown, one long drive for a touchdown, and then a couple of field goals on their way to a 23-13 victory. 

Jason Staples:

I’ve wrestled quite a bit with this one, mainly because I know Louisville is much better than their record and because they have one of the best front sevens FSU will face this season. But in the end, I just can’t see this Louisville offense producing enough points to beat Florida State without a lot of help, and with how the FSU offense has protected the football, that much help seems unlikely even against a defense that has forced twelve turnovers (including nine interceptions) in five games. 

In addition, Florida State’s offense has improved each game and has played better overall than its points produced the last two contests, and it’s a matter of time before the Seminoles improve in the red zone and other key situations. Will this be the game the FSU offense fully breaks out? That too seems unlikely against as good a defense as Louisville’s. But Dalvin Cook did practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and should be ready to go again against a Louisville defense that has done a good job preventing long runs but has bent a good bit against the run so far this season.

The bottom line in this game is that FSU’s defensive line should have a significant edge on the line of scrimmage, and the Seminoles’ improved athleticism on the edge should leave them better prepared to limit a running quarterback like Lamar Jackson than last season’s FSU defense. The primary defensive concern remains the linebacker and safety positions given the absence of LB Terrance Smith and a still-limited Nate Andrews, and Louisville will likely try to take a page from Wake Forest’s playbook with lots of run-pass options to put the FSU interior coverage players in a bind. Jackson, however, is not especially accurate in the short and intermediate zones, and FSU is likely to be willing to let Louisville take small gains while rolling the dice that the Cardinals won’t be able to sustain lengthy drives or score in the red zone given their difficulties on the offensive line.

Look for another relatively low scoring game as FSU is willing to run the football and stick to low-risk options in the passing game while daring Louisville to take offensive chances to beat the defense. I just don’t think Louisville has enough difference-makers on the offensive side of the ball to win the game, and I think FSU makes enough big plays to come away winners. Florida State wins 24-13.

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