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Offensive observations from FSU’s win over Louisville

Hornibrook makes his debut, but Cam Akers steals the show.

NCAA Football: Louisville at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

You just can’t feel comfortable when FSU has a 21-0 lead, can you?

Despite giving up a sizable lead, again, the Florida State offense did something that it hadn’t so far this year— it answered. With the game on the line, the Seminoles scored two touchdowns to retake the lead and then ice the game, coming back for a 35-24 win over the Cardinals.

The first quarter consisted of much of the same things we have seen so far this year. The offense was successful running tempo, giving the offensive line a chance, and taking what the defense gave them.

The attack was fairly balanced between the run and the pass in the the beginning, but then the ’Noles started eating away at the Louisville defense through the air, spreading the ball out to multiple receivers and finding success with chunk plays.

Additionally, FSU’s receivers did a much better job of blocking this week, which was a catalyst for their early success.

James Blackman started the game, and after an unsuccessful first series, lead the ’Noles on an 8-play 73-yard drive that was capped off by a Cam Akers touchdown.

Blackman has faced plenty of criticism for his accuracy on deep passes this year, but he had two nice throws in this game that fell incomplete. One was due to pass interference on a ball that would have been a touchdown to Tamorrion Terry. The other was a launch to Keyshawn Helton that was well defended, but one that Helton needed to catch.

That is not to fault Helton, who would go on to be Florida State’s leading receiver on the day. The wide receiver group as a whole was solid, making some great grabs.

We also got our first look at backup Alex Hornibrook, who was reported to be in the game plan this week. Things went well for the Wisconsin grad transfer, executing a wide open 44-yard touchdown pass to Keyshawn Helton off of an RPO on his first pass in the garnet and gold.

FSU’s offense slowed after their three touchdown first quarter. As we know, points count the same no matter when they’re scored, but the opportunities were there to extend the lead and take the life out of a Louisville.

After their initial success, FSU ended the next three drives with a punt and two missed field goal attempts from Ricky Aguayo, giving everyone flashbacks to the Boise State game. Apparently, 21-0 is the most dangerous lead in football.

The offense finished the half with 293 total yards on 38 plays, good for 7.7 yards per play. The ’Noles were also 2-2 in the red zone and did well not to turn the ball over.

While Hornibrook was in the gameplan this week, we ended up seeing a lot more of him than was probably planned after starter James Blackman left the game with an apparent leg injury after being clotheslined by a Louisville defender.

FSU’s offensive production to start the second half would mirror how they ended the first half, with three punts and a third missed field goal from Aguayo, allowing the Cardinals to come back to life.

Not to point fingers, but *points finger* Aguayo can’t miss kicks and leave points on the field.

FSU continued their tradition of being flat out bad in the third quarter. Instead of stepping on opponent’s throats, they have been outscored 31-3 in the third quarter this year. That certainly hasn’t been entirely because of the offense, but today some blame can be put on them as the defense was holding UL to 2.9 yards per play, with quarterback Ja’Markis Cunningham just 8/16 for 65 yards to that point.

The unit would atone for their third quarter miscues and if there is one thing FSU fans can take from this game, it is that they showed fight in a comeback to win the game.

Sure, there was a blown coverage on Tamorrion Terry’s 60-yard touchdown, but they found a way to ice the game, thanks to our savior Cam Akers, who would end the game with his third 100-yard performance of the year and three touchdowns, one of which was the dagger that sealed the game.

The Seminoles finished with 522 yards on 75 plays for 7 yards per play. It is also notable that after all week of talking about eliminating selfish penalties, they played a clean game, with just three penalties for 15 yards on offense—all of which were false starts on the offensive line.

Offensive MVP overall MVP: Cam Akers (but you knew that). He remains the cornerstone of the team.