The last time Florida State played Louisville, the ’Noles lost by 43 points.
It wasn’t a pretty game. Lamar Jackson ran over, through, and around FSU’s defense and carved up the Seminoles like a Thanksgiving turkey. Worse yet, Jackson’s five touchdown performance in this game would go on to spark his eventual Heisman campaign.
So it feels weird to have this year’s Florida State team, currently sitting at 2-3, a 7 point favorite at home against Jackson and the Cardinals.
Granted, Louisville’s defense has been questionable this year, to say the least. Last week, Boston College marched into Papa John’s Stadium and put 45 points (!!!) on the board against the Cardinals.
Yes, you read that right. Boston College.
Perhaps Vegas odds-makers are on to something here. Florida State still boasts a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. Despite a freshman at quarterback, offensive players like Cam Akers and Auden Tate are amongst the best at their positions in college football. Likewise, you’ll find four and five-star talents on every level of the defense.
Let’s take a look at what a combined FSU-Louisville depth chart would look like and we’ll break it down position by position.
Quarterback - C’mon, is this even a discussion?
Running Back - Jacques Patrick has been playing very well for Florida State this season. He’s finally running like a 6-2, 230-pound back and his runs between the tackles will be huge in this game.
Receiver - Auden Tate and Nyqwan Murray are still a dangerous tandem of receivers. As long as Tate is healthy and Murray, as Fisher says, gets open, they can help James Blackman immensely. Ryan Izzo is also seeing an increase in production as Blackman gets more comfortable throwing over the middle. From Louisville, Dez Fitzpatrick is having a breakout season with seven touchdown catches already.
Offensive Line - FSU’s offensive line took a major hit when Landon Dickerson was lost for the season with an injury. But players like Derrick Kelly, Cole Minshew, Alec Eberle, and Rick Leonard are still having solid seasons. Louisville’s Geron Christian doesn’t get a lot of national attention, but is already on the radar for NFL scouts.
Defensive Line - Josh Sweat finally looks like the dominant pass rusher he was billed to be coming out of high school. Louisville’s James Hearns is a Tallahassee native and was a disruptive presence when the two teams faced off last season. In the interior, you’d be hard pressed to find a better tackle tandem than Derrick Nnadi and Demarcus Christmas.
Linebacker - Florida State’s linebacker pair in Ro’Derrick Hoskins and Matthew Thomas have missed time due to injuries, but have been solid players when on the field.
Defensive Back - Tarvarus McFadden and Derwin James were billed as top NFL Draft-prospects this season, but have not yet lived up to the hype as third-year players. Perhaps we see a break through in this game? From Louisville, Jaire Alexander is another top draft prospect while Zykiesis Cannon is a good college safety (and has an awesome name).
Specialists - Ricky Aguayo is quietly on a hot streak, converting 11 of his last 12 field goal attempts. Louisville’s Mason King is averaging a booming 42.3 yards per punt this season.