You know what’s gonna happen between the Seminoles and the Cardinals on Saturday? We do. Things. Sports things. More on that below.
Juan Montalvo III:
Lamar Jackson is an elite runner. He can throw good. When he graduates from Louisville, he will go pro in something other than sports. He will start the Lamar Jackson Center For Kids Who Can’t Pass Good And Want To Do Other Stuff Good Too.
Hopefully Charles Kelly can fit into this CENTER FOR ANTS. The Seminoles’ offense is beginning to roll, and the defense is good at being rolled. I predict this game to be a relatively high scoring affair for FSU. FSU 31-27 UL.
FSU is favored by 7 by Vegas with an O/U of 59. This implies a 33-27ish kind of outcome. FSU defense is going to suddenly bow up and hold Lamar to 3 TDs Saturday? Maybe in the first half. Louisville has no one on offense but Lamar, which should be just enough. UL 37, FSU 27.
Unfortunately I just don’t see FSU’s offense being able to keep up with Louisville on the scoreboard, especially with the track record of our defense’s performance throughout this season and last year’s nightmare against UL. For all his flaws, Lamar Jackson is still the best QB Florida State will face this season. Taking into account other factors like the sleepy noon kickoff and Louisville bouncing back after losing last week to Boston College, and I just don’t have a good feeling about this one.
Louisville 31, Florida State 24
So far this season, Florida State has yet to face an elite quarterback. The ’Noles have faced good college quarterbacks like Jalen Hurts and Ryan Finley, and were unable to create enough pressure to stop them.
On Saturday, an elite quarterback comes to town. The same dude that racked up 63 points on this squad last year.
Lamar Jackson has little help around him this season, but is still putting up video game numbers. He is actually completing more passes this year than during his Heisman campaign (60% to 56%) and has 26 (!!) total touchdowns already. Florida State’s entire team has only eight touchdowns on the season as a whole.
FSU’s defense has looked good, heck, even great, at times, but Jackson is still going to win his fair share of reps. If Florida State wants to win this game, the ’Noles will need to reach the 30s and perhaps 40s.
Can James Blackman and the offense consistently drive down the field against a struggling Louisville defense? Will Jimbo Fisher value each possession and maximize his chances to win by giving his elite athletes more chances with the ball? Can the defense play assignment-sound football and limit Jackson on the ground?
These are major questions I have about this matchup and unfortunatley, I don’t feel confident enough in Florida State here.
Louisville 34, Florida State 20
Payback is a bitch, and Petrino and the Cardinals will be Jimbo’s come Saturday at about 3PM.
Florida State 41 - Louisville 27
Derwin James gets reacquainted with Lamar Jackson early, which sets the tone for a more inspired defense. Jackson will fill up the stat sheet but Akers and Patrick will both score two touchdowns and a late TD to Auden Tate seals it for the good guys.
FSU 38 Louisville 34
FSU has a long and proud tradition of taking an opponent’s best shot. Yes, Bobby Petrino has been running Lamar Jackson less this season, especially on first and second down. But I expect that trend to reverse course in Tallahassee.
Fortunately, Louisville can’t stop the FSU running game either. It’s a back and forth game with the last team with the ball winning. This week, that’s the Seminoles.
Florida State 31, Louisville 30
The continued emergence of Cam Akers & Jacques Patrick running like the grown men that they are has me excited about the potential to control the clock via the running game. That way FSU’s most effective option for stopping Lamar comes into effect: keeping him on the sidelines. But FSU’s offense has only started fast at home four times since 2015 (Syracuse ’15, Miami ’15, Boston College ’16, and Florida ’16). Odds are that Louisville scores early and often, putting FSU into a position that makes Jimbo want to go full pass happy, away from FSU’s strength.
I really want to pick FSU, but I won’t because, simply, I can’t see a team that hasn’t scored 30 yet this year scoring early and often enough to keep up with Lamar Jackson and Louisville is going to score a bunch of points, in my opinion. The 63-20 debacle aside, Derwin being back is a major plus vs. Lamar. But does it matter if the defense is so poorly coordinated vs. arguably the best offensive mind in CFB? My gut says no.
FSU 27 Louisville 35
A day out from this game, I still don’t have a good read on it.
Part of me says that a Louisville defense that just allowed 45 points to Boston College (?!?!?!?!) has no chance to stop FSU’s offense.
Then, I’m reminded that FSU’s O hasn’t scored more than 20 points this season. Will this be the worst defense the Seminoles have played so far this season? I believe so. Will that make a difference? I’m not sure.
In the end, I think FSU’s running back duo that has grown with each passing week will combine to go for upwards of 300 yards between them while Blackman makes a few mistakes as well as a few really nice throws in what is quickly becoming his modus operandi.
Jackson will make his plays, but in the end, I don’t think it will be enough to make up for a defense that was massively exposed a week ago.
FSU - 37
UL - 31
This may be the toughest prediction I’ve had to make in three years. Both of these teams have visible flaws, but at the same time both have budding stars that can take over the game.
The Florida State offense will be dependent on the success running backs Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick have— whose impact I believe will be significant. On the other side, Lamar Jackson can have his way with the Florida State defense. It’s a toss up, and I’m gonna go with the home team.
FSU - 34
UL - 31
This game feels a lot like NC State. Only flip the script for the FSU offense and defense. Louisville’s offense is much better than NC State’s. However, the Cards’ defense is bad. Really bad. Boston College was averaging 9 points a game against the ACC and then dropped 45 on Louisville. And BC didn’t score their first TD until 0:55 left in the first quarter.
Louisville’s defense might be just the cure the ’Noles need to put their highest point total on the scoreboard this year. However, will FSU run the number of plays, snap the ball quick enough, to score the number of points to outscore one-man-show Jackson? I doubt it. Boston College ran 86 plays. I could see FSU running about 80% of those plays (65). So I’ll say FSU scores 80 percent of BC’s total, or 34 points . This is science people. Jackson gets his 500 plus yards and 40ish points.
According to unverified sources, Jimbo secured Charles Kelly's raise not to match Auburn's offer...but to outbid Tootsie's Cabaret.
They'd never seen someone take that much talent and force them to play on their heels.
Akers & Tate - 397 yards & 34 points
Lamar Jackson - More
Yesterday, I wrote about how this was somewhat of a make-or-break game for the Seminoles— regardless of the final score. It kind of helped me put off making my prediction for this one, but I can’t dodge it any longer.
Simply stated, FSU should run up and down the field on the Cards. But Florida State should have done a lot of things it hasn’t this year, and we know how well it handles the simple stuff like catching punts and getting plays in at a reasonable rate and not calling timeouts coming off quarter breaks.
Moreover, and dating back to last season, I still have my doubts about FSU’s ability to defend a mobile QB. Especially this Jackson guy, who I guess is pretty good or something. In the end, having Derwin James back will make a big difference. A 30-point difference. A 30-point difference that won’t be enough.
Make sure to check out the predictions from our Bud Elliott and Ingram Smith on the next Nolecast.