Going into the matchup against Louisville, we knew Florida State’s offense would have to match Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals’ high-scoring offense if the ’Noles wanted any chance at victory.
Unfortunately, the offense could not keep pace with Louisville in a 31-28 loss, the fourth loss of the season for the Seminoles. Florida State only scored 21 points in the game, adding their fourth TD on a defensive scoop-and-score in the second quarter.
FSU’s defense made some great stops early in the game, putting the offense in positions to succeed. But James Blackman and Co. only mustered 157 total yards (on 28 plays) in the first half, including a paltry 36 yards on 13 plays in the second quarter.
In only his fifth career start, Blackman looked like a true freshman. He finished the day 16/28 for 248 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions, and a costly fumble in the waning minutes of the game.
Of course, it didn’t help that several wide receivers were missing from this game. Keith Gavin and George Campbell missed their second consecutive game with injuries. That left FSU with an injured Auden Tate, Nyqwan Murray, Jared Jackson (walk-on), and true freshman D.J. Matthews as its top four receivers.
To their credit, Tate and Murray came up clutch when it mattered the most. The two were targeted a combined 15 times by Blackman. Murray caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Blackman to tie the game in the fourth quarter, while Tate secured a catch on fourth down earlier in the game that eventually led to another touchdown.
But the rest of the receivers on Florida State’s roster? Zero catches on zero targets.
Last week, Boston College true freshman running back A.J. Dillon ripped off 272 yards against Louisville to the tune of 7.0 yards per carry.
This week, Louisville’s 61st ranked run defense found much more success against the Seminoles. Jacques Patrick and Cam Akers combined for 145 yards on 30 carries, good for 4.8 yards per carry.
Florida State’s offensive line had their moments in this game, both good and bad. Louisville only racked up four tackles for loss and two sacks, and it felt like the line was able to consistently give Blackman time in the pocket.
However, in the end, the offense couldn’t capitalize off the defense’s success. Turnovers were huge in this game, and Florida State’s true freshman quarterback looked like a true freshman once again, turning it over three times (FSU was -2 in TO margin on the day, continuing a theme from this losing season).
With only five scheduled games remaining, the ’Noles still need four wins to be bowl eligible. Florida State travels to Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College in a pivotal Friday night game. If FSU wants to keep its bowl streak alive, the offense needs to find a spark sooner rather than later.