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Put ‘em in the Playoff: FSU rides dominant defensive performance, wins ACC Championship vs. Louisville

Florida State is 13-0 and conference champions

Once Jordan Travis went down against North Alabama with two weeks left in the regular season, it was obvious that any further success for the Florida State Seminoles was going to be a grind.

FSU, who has battled through adversity and deficits all season long, got a first taste of that in overcoming an upset bid by the Florida Gators last week. Against the Louisville Cardinals in the ACC Championship, that challenge was upped even further with the news that true freshman Brock Glenn would be making his first-ever start in relief of Tate Rodemaker.

From the first to final whistle, it was a game of inches determined by the performance of each team’s defense. Louisville managed to shut down anything that Florida State threw at it early, the Seminoles logging just five total yards in the first quarter. Meanwhile, while Louisville managed a single 22-yard rush, Florida State held the Cardinals to 1.9 yard per play and shut them out the entirety of the first half.

Shifting to a Wildcat attack helmed by Lawrance Toafili, FSU took a 3-0 lead off a 45-yard field goal with 7:43 in the second quarter, earned via an 11-play, 50-yard drive.

FSU would get another attempt at a field goal, again a 45-yarder, but this time the Ryan Fitzgerald kick was no good, leaving things at a 3-0 stalemate at half.

Florida State got the ball back to start the second half, but went three-and-out, leading to Louisville’s best drive of the game. The Cardinals put together a 56-yard, 13-play drive to tie things up at 3-3, but Florida State immediately responded. Lawrance Toafili, once again in the Wildcat, ripped off a 73-yard rush and the next play, scored the game’s first touchdown to give Florida State a 10-3 lead.

The Cardinals were once again able to drive the field, but were forced to settle for a field goal. With FSU leading 10-6 with 10:56 left in the game, Louisville sent the house at Alex Mastromanno and managed to bring down the punter, presenting a nightmare scenario for the Seminoles. With two major moves in the span of three plays, Tatum Bethune put the Seminoles on his back, first breaking up a near-definite touchdown on first down and then picking off Jack Plummer on third and goal, preserving Florida State’s four-point lead.

FSU wasn’t able to produce anything off the turnover, however, and was forced to punt. Florida State’s defense, outstanding throughout the night, once again forced a Louisville three-and-out and a short punt set the Seminoles up near midfield. A 33-yard field goal made it a touchdown margin, 13-6, with 3:13 to play.

With 2:39 left in the game, facing a fourth and 7, the Cardinals were forced to go for it — and once again Braden Fiske (who was fantastic for the Seminoles with 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 8 total tackles) took down Plummer for a sack.

Florida State took over from the 20, and while they were only able to shave 16 seconds off the clock, the Seminoles were able to force the Cardinals to use all their timeouts before converting a 40-yard field goal for a 16-6 lead.

With no timeouts, on fourth and three, Fiske got home once again to sack Plummer, ending the game officially and allowing Glenn to kneel it out.

The win gave Florida State its first conference championship since 2014, wrapping up a 13-0 season.

The Seminoles will learn their postseason fate — the team is currently No. 4 in the College Football Playoff Rankings — tomorrow with a Selection Special starting at 12 p.m.

Florida State 16, Louisville 6: Final Stats

Total Yards:

Louisville: 188

Florida State: 219

Pass Yards:

Louisville: 111

Florida State: 55

Rush Yards:

Louisville: 77

Florida State: 164


Louisville: 5-48

Florida State: 3-20

1st Downs:

Louisville: 10

Florida State: 12

3rd Downs:

Louisville: 3-18

Florida State: 2-16

4th Downs:

Louisville: 0-3

Florida State: 0-1

Total Plays:

Louisville: 70

Florida State: 65

Avg Yds/Play:

Louisville: 2.7

Florida State: 3.4

Avg Yds/Completion:

Louisville: 7.9

Florida State: 6.9

Avg Yds/Rush:

Louisville: 2.3

Florida State: 3.7

Sack-Adj Rush Yd(Avg):

Louisville: 136 (5)

Florida State: 189 (4.7)

Red Zone:

Louisville: 2-3

Florida State: 3-5

Time of Possession:

Louisville: 28:32

Florida State: 31:28

Turnovers (Def Pts Off):

Louisville: 1 (0)

Florida State: 0 (0)


Louisville: 1-0

Florida State: 1-0

Sacks (Def Yds):

Louisville: 4 (25)

Florida State: 7 (59)

TFL (Def Yds):

Louisville: 7 (38)

Florida State: 14 (80)