The first half saw the offense struggle mightily. Aside from one well put together drive, they were unable to get anything going. Quarterback Deondre Francois has been inaccurate despite being provided some solid pockets by the offensive line. Francois is just 5/12 for 76 yards and a touchdown. The offense is averaging 4.5 yards per play.
The defense was picked apart by Louisville on the way to their second touchdown, and gave up another score heading into the half. Harlon Barnett’s group has been gashed for some chunk plays and are giving up 5.2 yards per play to Louisville, despite being relatively successful at getting to the quarterback.
Special teams has been awful and Florida State seems to do everything in their power to achieve poor field position. Ricky Aguayo made an extra point, so there’s that.
The offensive line was bolstered with the return of OL Landon Dickerson who would start at right tackle. Dickerson would get his welcome in the form of a false start penalty while the ‘Noles were already on their own one-yard line. With the horrible field position, the offense predictably went three and out.
With better field position to start their second drive and some great play calling, the offense was able to click and score on a 17-yard bubble screen to Nyqwan Murray.
On their third drive, again with less than ideal field position, the offense returned to their early season form. Deondre Francois had great protection, but left a clean pocket and was unable to find a receiver, settling for a one yard run. There was nothing going on third down and the Seminoles were forced to punt again.
The next offensive drive was an absolute mess that probably should have included two flags that weren’t thrown. A Louisville defensive linemen was clearly offside, but the flag wasn’t thrown and Deondre Francois overthrew an open Keith Gavin. The ‘Noles were set to go for it on fourth and four at midfield, but Landon Dickerson jumped early and his second false start penalty forced an FSU punt.
FSU would go for it again on another fourth down, but the pass was batted down, leaving FSU 0/5 on fourth down conversions for the year.
On the first defensive series of the game the linebackers flashed. DeCalon Brooks set the tone when he got through for a tackle for a loss and Dontavious Jackson followed it up with a monster hit on a Louisville receiver running a crossing route. Defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett was sending pressure early and often and it was DeCalon Brooks in the backfield again with a strip sack on Louisville quarterback Jawon Pass. Turnover luck continues to go against the ‘Noles as Louisville was able to recover.
An awful punt left the defense out to dry on their second outing. Louisville would need to gain just 36 yards to score and they would do it in just four plays as Jawon Pass scrambled for the touchdown.
Louisville’s third drive saw things turn south for FSU’s defense. Kyle Meyers was beat deep with a perfect throw by Jawon Pass. In all honesty, there wasn’t much he could do to stop it, it was that perfect. While they’ve been able to get good pressure, poor tackling and missed assignments let Louisville move with ease and end the drive with a four yard touchdown.
The defense was able to rebound when Brian Burns and Marvin Wilson were able to finish of their rushes and combine for a sack, forcing a Louisville punt.
A FUMBLE? RECOVERED BY FSU? Shocking as it was, Brian Burns recovered the Seminoles first fumble of the season. It was reviewed, but the call was upheld and the ‘Noles would get the ball back.
A poor series heading into the half saw the defense give up a touchdown and Louisville goes up 21-7.
FSU started their first drive on the one-yard line which would force a three and out. The ensuing 32-yard punt from Logan Tyler gave Louisville great field position and they would capitalize with the first score of the game.
The Seminoles were able to force a second fumble of the game, this time on a Louisville kick return, but terrible fumble luck would strike again as the Cardinal’s recovered.
Florida State’s affinity for bad field position continued as the kick return unit continues to struggle.
The gong show on special teams continued after a Louisville punt hit the helmet of Anthony Grant and Louisville was able to recover.