Florida State got the better of Louisville in this matchup between two teams that will have to fight to make a bowl game.
It was a solid performance on offense for the Seminoles, mainly due to two long touchdown passes from Deondre Francois to Nyqwan Murray and Tamorrion Terry. The run game continues to struggle and the pair of Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick combined for only 55 yards on the ground.
FSU’s offense started on a slow note, but rebounded to score three touchdowns in the second half. Third down continues to be a problem, as the ’Noles were only 3/13 on third down attempts in this game.
On defense, it was the exact opposite. The ’Noles surrendered 21 points to the Cardinals in the first half, but held Louisville to only a field goal and nabbed two interceptions in the second half. The Seminoles forced four fumbles as well, but only recovered one. The turnover luck continues to work for Florida State.
The play: (3:47 - 1st) D. Francois pass to N. Murray for 17 yards for a TD
This one will remind a lot of fans of the Jimbo Fisher era.
FSU lines up in a 4-wide formation, with Cam Akers in motion out of the backfield. The motion draws the linebacker, which reveals Louisville’s coverage as man-to-man. It also draws one more defender out of the middle of the field.
On the boundary side, Murray and Terry run a pick play with the former cutting inside to open space. Terry actually draws two defenders and you can see one defender panic as he realizes he has blown his assignment.
Meanwhile, FSU’s offensive line breaks free into the middle of the field to set up the tunnel screen underneath for Murray. Francois flips the ball to Murray and the senior receiver has two blockers in front of him for the easy touchdown.
Florida State executed this play perfectly, from Akers drawing away a defender to Terry running the pick play to perfection.
The play: (3:19 - 1st) J. Pass pass complete to Jaylen Smith for 42 yards to the FSU 31 for a 1st down
Much like when FSU executes a perfect play, you have to tip your cap to Louisville when they do the same.
This is a max-protect rollout pass, with the tight end and running back staying in the backfield to give Pass the most time to scan downfield.
As such, there are only three receivers running routes down the field. The far receiver on the boundary side runs a short curl route that Pass probably could have hit, but he wants the slot receiver running downfield on a hitch-and-go.
This is a perfect ball by Pass and there is literally zero margin for error. A little too far in front and the ball sails out of bounds. A little behind and the receiver will not be able to adjust. There is nothing that Fagan can do here, as the sophomore safety has perfect coverage. Sometimes, you just need to admit that the opponent made a good play and move on to the next one.
The play: (3:30 - 3rd) J. Pass sacked by B. Burns for a loss of 11 yards, fumbled, recovered by Louisville.
On 3rd and 17, Florida State is free to pin back its ears and bring a plethora of pass rushers.
Pass drops back in an empty formation and six FSU defenders are in his face nearly immediately. The primary pressure comes from Burns off of Pass’ left side. The junior pass rusher easily gets beneath the arms of the left tackle and forces Pass to step up into the pocket.
However, Pass is not quick enough to get the ball off and is sandwiched between Burns and Warner. Thanks to Kaindoh cutting to the inside on his pass rush set, Warner was able to run through a wide open hole vacated by the Louisville right guard.
The ball pops loose and Brooks actually has it in his hands for a second, but it falls loose again. Plays like this provide a good example of turnover luck. Forcing a turnover takes some skill, but recovering a loose ball on the ground is solely luck. Louisville got lucky on this one.
The play: (2:39 - 3rd) D. Francois pass complete to T. Terry for 55 yards for a TD
Although Willie Taggart has removed the official “fullback” label from FSU’s roster, we’re still going to see heavy sets with a tight end and a blocking back on the field at the same time.
To no surprise, Louisville loads the box to counter this heavy set. Three linebackers are very close to the line of scrimmage and both safeties are creeping up as well. As such, it leaves the two outside receivers with one-on-one coverage.
In a play eerily reminiscent to what Louisville ran earlier in the game, FSU goes max protect with Akers, Nabers, and McKitty all staying in to block while Francois looks downfield. There are only two receivers running routes here and Francois only has eyes for Terry streaking down the field.
It is an easy pitch and catch for a touchdown and a play that seems to have become a weekly phenomenon for Florida State. Until opposing defensive coordinators give safety help over the top, expect the Seminoles to look Terry’s way in one-on-one coverage every week.
The play: (1:13 - 4th) D. Francois pass complete to N. Murray for 58 yards for a TD
In a must-score situation for Florida State, the ’Noles line up in a four-wide formation. With the slot defender playing off coverage, Francois hits Murray over the middle for a short completion.
This play is designed to be a short gain on 3rd and 6 to set up for a possible first down, but more likely a manageable fourth down attempt.
However, Murray breaks free from the tackle and sidesteps a tackle attempt from the safety and hits the open field. From there, he only has to outrace a defensive lineman before scoring a miraculous touchdown for Florida State, with a nod going to Terry for a great downfield block.
While a lot of credit goes to Murray on this play, two Louisville defenders had him dead to rights and whiffed on their tackle attempts. Keep in mind, this is all thanks to Bobby Petrino deciding to pass the ball when Louisville could have ran out the clock.
Sometimes you win the game, but other times the opposing team just loses it.