Florida State was in a prime hangover spot with a young team coming off a big rivalry win over Miami and facing a dangerous Louisville team.
Luckily, the Seminoles found the remedy in the second half, scoring touchdowns on five consecutive drives in the second half, including four of 75 or more yards. The Seminoles showed composure and did not let negative plays or penalties snowball on them. Everett Golson didn't always throw on time or in rhythm, but with Florida State's offensive line struggling against a talented Louisville front, he was great at avoiding sacks and throwing the football away, giving FSU another chance to make a play on the next down. FSU had 25 plays of zero or negative yards.
And it overcame those negative plays with explosive shots. Golson also made some big throws, and did a great job to distribute the ball to the flats. The throw to Kermit Whitfield in stride allowed the FSU speedster to go for 70 yards. On the day, Golson had nine passes of 15 or more yards.
Then of course, there's Dalvin Cook, who fought through a hamstring strain to post 223 total yards on 26 touches. When Cook was in the game, he did not always appear to have his top gear, but he ran tough and still managed to break tackles and had yet another score of 50 or more yards.
And most importantly, FSU did not turn the ball over, which meant that Louisville was forced to drive a long way against the Seminoles' defense.
And that proved tough, as Florida State managed to take away Louisville's strength. Speedy quarterback Lamar Jackson -- a player fast enough to play receiver at major programs, was held to a long run of just ten yards.
The tradeoff in taking away Louisville's strength was giving up some passes. Jackson threw a lot better than expected; perhaps a combination of improving a lot over the bye week and Florida State missing starters Trey Marshall, Nate Andrews and Terrance Smith, but it was not enough as FSU forced him into two turnovers and added five sacks and three batted passes.
FSU's pass defense over the middle of the field is not elite without Marshall, Andrews and Smith, and if this young FSU team is to have a real shot to win at Clemson in three weeks, they need to get back or some of the younger players at safety and linebacker are going to need to start making more progress.