After Louisville scored 24 unanswered points, Florida State’s defense and offense showed up in the fourth quarter for the first time this season allowing the Seminoles to complete its comeback for a final score of, 35-24. At last, giving Florida State a win that felt like a win.
Per script, the Florida State offense looked like a well-oiled machine in the first quarter and despite Cam Akers getting stuffed on 4th-and-2 on the Louisville 26 during Florida State’s opening drive, the Seminoles’ defense forced a quick 3-and-out putting the ball right back into Florida State’s hands. The rest of the first quarter was near perfect for the ‘Noles. The second drive was an eight-play drive that ended with Cam Akers in the end zone.
Following Blackman, QB Transfer Alex Hornibrook entered the game for his first time as a Seminole and Florida State put together a two-play drive that featured a 17-yard rush from RB Khalan Laborn and ended with a 44-yard touchdown reception to Keyshawn Helton.
The defense forced another three-and-out and Akers found the end zone for his second touchdown of the game, a 4-yard rush to end the first quarter. Florida State had scored 21 unanswered points and I still found myself rightfully hesitant to start writing this article. Surprisingly, the Seminoles wrote themselves a new ending tonight.
The start of the second quarter was as stressful as usual and it felt like the Seminoles were falling right back into its ‘not so old’ bad habits. The first drive was punted away and subsequently, the second drive ended with a wide-left 51-yard failed field goal attempt by Ricky Aguayo. This is a story line that we’ve come to know and despise this season: the offense stalls and loses its’ rhythm after a fiery start. Things were looking up for Florida State as the defense made a huge stop around mid-field, but the ‘Noles weren’t prepared for Louisville to run a trick play allowing the Cardinals to pick-up a first down on a faked field goal. Facing 3rd-and-10, Asante Samuel Jr. was flagged for holding in the end zone gifting the Cards’ a whole new set of downs on the 6-yard line. I’m sure you can guess what happens next and two plays later Louisville found the end zone, 21-7. With Hornibrook at the helm and 44 seconds left in the half, the Seminoles rapidly moved down the field. Ultimately, the clock worked against them and Florida State opted to kick a field goal. It just wasn’t Aguayo’s day and he missed his second field goal attempt of the game from 47-yards and time expired.
Florida State’s second half sort of looked positive before it went to s*** and the third quarter blues ensued. The Seminole’s defense had a huge stop during Louisville’s first drive of the half, but Blackman was sacked leading him to leave the game with an unknown injury. Facing third-and-twelve, Hornibrook reentered the game, but failed to convert and Louisville charged down the field as Florida State suffered another huge loss on the defensive side of the ball. Jaiden Woodbey went down as he collided with one of his teammates and was carted off to the locker room sporting an air cast. Florida State was able to hold the Cardinals to a field goal and the Seminoles’ offense appeared to get back into its groove as FSU crept its way into the red zone. Instead, Florida State did what Florida State does best and shot themselves in the foot as a bad snap flew over Hornibrook’s head and the Seminoles faced a daunting 3rd-and-26. Helton picked up nine yards to give Florida State better field goal position, but Aguayo stepped onto the field for his third field goal attempt, a 41 yarder. While I truly wish I was making this up, Aguayo missed for the third time today. I mean really Aguauo? You had one job. (okay maybe two jobs, but you get the point.) Louisville’s next possession ended with a touchdown and Florida State has now been outscored 31-3 during the third quarter this year.
The Cards’ took the lead, 24-21 in the fourth after its series ended with a 74-yard touchdown reception and Florida State’s future looked pretty bleak. After another failed drive for the Seminoles, Louisville looked to put the nail in Florida State’s coffin, but Cyrus Fagan came in clutch intercepting the ball to give the ’Noles a chance at changing its ending.
The Seminoles’s next drive wasn’t perfect, but it ended beautifully. After finding D.J. Mathews for 24 yards to convert on 2nd-and-20, Hornibrook connected with Tamorrion Terry for his first reception of the game, a 60-yard bomb that ended with Terry taunting Louisville in the end zone and put the Seminoles on top, 28-24.
A defense that has struggled in the second half of this season finally showed up to play in the fourth quarter tonight. After forcing another quick three-and-out, Aguayo’s first successful field goal of the day was an 18-yard field goal that ultimately didn’t even contribute to Florida State’s final score. Aguayo was tackled and Louisville was flagged for roughing the kicker, so the Seminoles started on the one-yard line with a whole new set of downs. Florida State “finally learned how to win this one” and Akers walked into the end zone for his third touchdown of the game allowing Florida State to finally earn its “first”victory.