Game Preview: Louisville v Florida State

Cardinal Authority provides a preview to the prime-time contest at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium between the Cardinals and Seminoles

Game Details

Where: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
TV: ESPN - Reece Davis (Play-By-Play), Jesse Palmer (Analyst), David Pollack (Analyst) Samantha Ponder (Reporter)
Radio: WHAS 840 AM, Learfield Sports Network – Paul Rogers (Play-By-Play), Tony Hill (Analyst)
Surface: FieldTurf

The Backdrop

This is the type of moment that U of L football has been building towards for decades. The opportunity to host and win a crucial league game against the defending national champions with a Heisman quarterback all while part of a stable and growing conference has been a scenario dreamed about for ages.

Florida State has dominated the ACC since joining the conference in 1992. The Seminoles won the league title nine straight years after becoming a member and has claimed 15 conference crowns, including the last two. FSU has played in the national title game 6 games - winning 3 - since 1993, so it has experienced countless big games over the past few decades. While the 'Noles have been among the nation's elite programs, Louisville has been in constant build mode.

U of L has done everything it can since making the decision to seriously invest in football with the hiring of Howard Schnellenberger in the 1980s. The stadium became a reality and has since been expanded. The goal to become the best in each conference that the school has called home has been met. It's a program that hasn't had the same amount of opportunities for big game moments, but is one that has consistently proven itself when they do arise.

One such moment was the last meeting between the two programs. In 2002, the Cardinals hosted the nation's 4th-ranked team, with the remnants of a hurricane resting in the Ohio Valley, and upended the heavily favored Seminoles in overtime.

U of L head coach Bobby Petrino has made no secret of his determination to create a program that will compete for the ACC title on a yearly basis and to do so, one must prove it can compete with the Seminoles.

Series History

The Cardinals (6-2, 4-2) and Seminoles (7-0, 4-0) have met 14 times previously, with Florida State owning a 12-2 advantage. The two Louisville victories took place in the first and latest meetings in the series. The Cards defeated FSU 41-14 on Oct. 4, 1952 in Tallahassee to begin the series, and pulled a 26-20 overtime upset over the ‘Noles in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Sept. 26, 2002. Thursday night’s meeting will be the first between the schools as ACC opponents.

Louisville cornerback back coach Terrell Buckley was a two-year starter and three-year letterwinner as a cornerback and return specialist at Florida State (1989-91), he was inducted into the school’s sports hall of fame in 2003. He had his jersey No. 27 retired in 2011 and is one of nine players in FSU history to earn that distinction. Buckley left FSU as the program’s all-time leader in interceptions (21) and interception return yards (501).

About the Seminoles

**Florida State has won a nation's best 23 consecutive games.

**Florida State is led by 2013 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston. He has been equally impressive this fall, already having thrown for an ACC-leading 1,878 yards with 13 touchdowns while completing 70.6 percent of his passes. Winston also has a pair of rushing touchdowns.

**Rashad Greene has been Winston’s main outlet this season, totaling 52 receptions for 791 yards and four touchdowns thus far. Greene, who has lead the Seminoles in receiving three consecutive years, has accumulated more than 100 yards receiving in five of seven outings this season, including an 11-catch, 203-yard performance against Oklahoma State.

Statistical Comparison

Florida State's strength is behind center with Winston. One of the most accurate passers in the nation, Winston has the Seminoles as the best passing offense in the ACC and among the best in the country. However, the Seminoles haven't proven to be a consistent running force, ranking 103rd in the nation, and their defense has shown show flaws at times the season.

Louisville enters the contest with the nation's top-rated defense for a second consecutive week. U of L leads the nation with 15 interceptions and is among the sack leaders, both of which could help to create a setting that Winston may not have faced this season. Louisville's offense will have to perform better than it has all season and the presence of DeVante Parker for a second straight game, along with an improving Will Gardner and a healthy backfield could set the stage for that possibility.

Noteworthy

**Bobby Petrino went 12-5 against ACC teams as head coach of the Cardinals from 2003-06 and since taking over this season. The 12 wins include a BCS win over Wake Forest in the 2007 FedEx Orange Bowl, while two of his losses came this season to Virginia and Clemson in the Cardinals’ first season in the ACC.

**Petrino is looking for his 23rd consecutive home win, having not lost at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium since Nov. 15, 2003 in a 37-7 loss to Memphis. Petrino’s teams won 18 straight home conests during his first stint at Louisville and the Cardinals are 4-0 this season.

**The Cardinals will host their highest-ranked opponent at home since they defeated third-ranked West Virginia in 2006. Head coach Bobby Petrino’s team defeated the Mountaineers 44-34 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

**Petrino is 4-7 at Louisville versus ranked opponents, including a 23-17 loss this season at Clemson on Oct. 11. He is 14-18 all-time as a collegiate head coach versus ranked opponents.

**The Louisville defense continues to be the best in the country after alowing a season-high 351 yards of total offense and 128 yards rushing in the 30-18 win over NC State on Oct. 18. The Wolfpack became just the second team to rush for over 100 yards this season against the Cardinals.

**Wide receiver DeVante Parker returned to action after missing the first six games of the season with a foot injury. The talented wide receiver tied his career-high with nine receptions for 132 yards, including a 37-yard reception on his first play of the season.

**Louisville is tied for second nationally with 28.0 sacks through the first eight games of the year.

**Louisville is one of seven teams in the country allowing less than 100 yards on the ground this season. Penn State (60.8), Alabama (63.3), Louisville (68.8), Michigan (93.6), BYU (97.0), Mississippi (97.1) and Utah State (99.6).

**The Cardinals lead the country allowing just one rushing touchdown all season.

Social Updates

Cardinal Authority's Jody Demling and Michael McCammon will provide updates before, during and after the game via the Cardinal Authority forums and social media.

Beginning near kickoff, Cardinal Authority will host a live game thread in the Insiders forum, which is located here. Fans are encouraged to participate in the discussion. Additionally, will be a game thread in the Cardinal Authority football forum, The CardMarch, located here.

Follow publisher Jody Demling on Twitter at @jdemling and senior writer Michael McCammon at @mcmichael20.

Also, be sure to follow Cardinal Authority on Instagram by clicking here.

Gardner Talks Seminoles

U of L starting quarterback Will Gardner spent a few minutes discussing Thursday night's game following practice this week.


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