Don't call it hype.
With ESPN College GameDay bringing their large crew to the Derby City for the first time, the pregame hype surrounding Louisville vs Florida State reached a level never seen before around these parts. Sure, the Cardinals have had big games in its past, including the famous 2006 Blackout game with No. 5 West Virginia, but even that didn't reach the level that Saturday's high-noon ACC tilt created.
Following four quarters at a soldout Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, one thing became perfectly clear. This Louisville squad is more than just hype as the 10th-ranked Cardinals received numerous big-play outings to run away from No. 2 Florida State 63-20. It's the largest margin of victory in the modern era over the Seminoles since Miami defeated their rival 47-0 in 1976 and it's the first time that an opponent has scored more than 60 points against them.
Actually, it didn't take four quarters to realize just how good Bobby Petrino's latest U of L squad actually is and that its goal of reaching the ACC Championship game is a very much realistic target.
Big runs by Brandon Radcliff and precision throws by Lamar Jackson helped the Cardinals build a 14-3 first quarter lead. Ten unanswered points from Florida State trimmed the lead briefly to 14-10 but U of L responded with 21 consecutive points to grab a commanding 35-10 halftime advantage.
The Seminoles have built a national image of making significant comebacks, including overcoming a 22-point deficit for a victory against No. 12 Ole Miss in the team's season-opener, but that wouldn't be the case this weekend. The U of L defense forced a punt on the FSU's opening drive in the second half, which sophomore Jaire Alexander returned 69 yards for the Cardinals sixth touchdown of the game.
Sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson continues to grab the nation's attention and further improve his stock for the Heisman Trophy race by completing 13-20 for 216 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 146 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries. He improved his own school record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback to 21 and notched his eighth career 100-yard outing, which ties him with Bilal Powell for seventh in program history.
Radcliff added another 118 rushing yards, his sixth career 100+ outing. His fourth quarter touchdown with the 22nd of his career.
Defensively, the Cardinals held Florida State to 284 total yards. Safety Josh Harvey-Clemons led the Cardinals with eight total tackles, with Stacy Thomas registering seven.
Up next for Louisville is a trip to Marshall on Saturday, Sept. 24.
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