Week four of the college football season saw Florida State play two quarterbacks for the first time.
James Blackman — who was named the starter at the beginning of the year — was replaced by Alex Hornibrook occasionally in the first half before leaving with an injury. Hornibrook took the rest of the snaps and sparked an FSU comeback over Louisville.
This gives us the first opportunity to break each quarterback down individually.
As Bud Elliott mentioned on the Nolecast, Blackman was having one of the better performances of his career prior to injury.
The sophomore finished 11-14 for 127 yards, but don’t let the stat line fool you. Blackman was efficient with his throws and made some nice plays while under pressure.
Blackman missed a deep shot to Keyshawn Helton, but other than that played pretty much perfect. FSU didn’t ask him to do much in terms of down-the-field throws and he completed 78 percent of his throws.
Was it his best performance? No, but it was great and I would have loved to see what he could do with an entire game.
Granted, Louisville’s defense is not the best. The Cardinals’ defense ranks 72nd in the nation per SP+ and both quarterbacks were able to exploit the poor coverage.
The deep ball has been absent from FSU’s offense all season and this game was no exception. Hornibrook was able to hit it later, but so far Blackman has not been able to connect on those throws.
In Hornibrook’s first playing time of the season, the Wisconsin transfer did not disappoint.
Hornibrook finished 15-20 for 255 yards and two touchdowns. Three of his incompletions came on throwaways, so really only two passes were incomplete in the field of play.
As a reminder: Louisville’s defense is not that good. Hornibrook’s 75 percent completion percentage is impressive, but not a sustainable mark.
As the Nolecast mentioned, Hornibrook certainly looked shocked to be playing behind an offensive line as bad as Florida State’s. After all, Wisconsin boasts on of the best offensive lines in the country.
So there was more than one instance where the senior scrambled rather than sit in a rapidly collapsing pocket. To his credit, Hornibrook made plays down the field when he scrambled. He is not a true dual-threat, but he has more than enough mobility to extend plays.
He made a few impressive throws, most notably the 20-yard completion to D.J. Matthews. He also had a 20-yard throw to Treshaun Harrison down the left sideline that left little room for error.
Hornibrook’s touchdown pass to Terry came on a busted coverage by Louisville, but it is good to see that the senior quarterback can recognize the error and exploit it.
Throwaways don’t count in this data set, so that’s why Hornibrook’s passing chart is near perfect.
It’s hard to find much fault in his performance against Louisville. The senior quarterback will have his first true test against NC State, because it appears doubtful that Blackman will suit up.