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Matchup and Memories: Florida State vs Louisville

Can FSU start a new streak?

Florida State v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Florida State will host the Louisville Cardinals this weekend, while still searching for its first win of the season. Can FSU stop the streak? Let’s check out the matchup history:

  • Opponent: Louisville Cardinals
  • First matchup: 10/4/1952 (The Cardinals won 41-14)
  • Series record: FSU owns a 16-5 record over Louisville.
  • Current streak: The Cardinals with a 1 game winning streak.
  • Last game: Florida State lost in a blowout, 48-16 to Louisville on 10/24/20.

After Jordan Travis pulled off an incredible fumble recovery touchdown that resembled him bouncing a basketball, Louisville made life difficult for FSU last year. Will this weekend produce a similar result? Or can the Seminoles find their first win of the season?

NoleThruandThru’s Recruiting Reminiscences

The Cardinals and Seminoles have certainly crossed paths on the recruiting trail in the last decade or so. The main memory is Louisville’s raid of Miami in the 2011 class (orchestrated by none other than current WR coach Ron Dugans), snatching WR Eli Rogers, DB Gerod Holliman, S Calvin Pryor (who was all about FSU before the ‘Noles prioritized other DBs), and some kid named Teddy Bridgewater, among other Miami imports. They didn’t land all their targets, though, as RB Devonta Freeman stuck with the ‘Noles.

More recently, Louisville and Florida State shared custody of Josh Griffis, who originally committed to FSU, flipped to Louisville, flipped back to FSU, and then left the program earlier this year, before getting into legal trouble in Tennessee.

Matt Minnick’s memorable moment

Well, last week’s attempt at getting some good mojo going failed spectacularly. But at least we know I didn’t inadvertently create a new sports curse!

The Florida State/Louisville series actually goes back further than all other current, consistent FSU opponents, save for Miami. In fact, Florida State’s 59-0 shellacking of the Cardinals in 1953 represents the first victory in school history against current P5 teams (and BYU/ND). However, I try as much as I can to reserve this space for games I attended in person, and if that’s not a possibility than at least watched them live. Alas, we’ll have to rely on Frank to regale us with memories of the 1953 affair.

Strict adherence to this rule also eliminates the 2002 overtime loss played during Tropical Storm Isidore, as well as the heart-pounding, come from behind win in 2014, both games taking place in Kentucky. (Although I’m never above sharing highlights of the greatest running back in school history.)

So where does the story actually take us? Only two seasons ago. No, I’m not talking about one of the few bright spots during the Willie Taggart tenure, where Cam Akers scored three touchdowns and Tamorrion Terry housed a 60-yard pass from Alex Hornibrook to put FSU ahead for good in the fourth quarter over Scott Satterfield’s squad. That was a decent enough game, to be sure, but who really wants to talk pigskin these days anyway? No, the most memorable FSU/UL game for me is without question the February 24, 2020 showdown on the hardcourt that nearly blew the roof off the Tucker Center. Hey, we’re a basketball school now, right?

The Cardinals came into that primetime showdown as the 11th ranked team in the country and looking to avenge a double-digit home loss six weeks earlier. Littered with high-level talent, Louisville came out blazing. And although FSU fought back, the Cards were relentless, building a 12 point lead early in the 2nd half. Oh, but that Seminole squad was special. Featuring two NBA Draft lottery picks, two second round picks, and a future NBA point guard who went undrafted (because GMs are dumb), when that Florida State team got rolling, there was no college team in America that could keep up. Unfortunately for Chris Mack & Co., they found this out first-hand.

Trailing by 8 midway through the second half, FSU switched to a gear that Louisville, a Final Four contender itself, simply didn’t have. In the blink of an eye, the Seminoles rattled off 15 straight points, capped off by a thunderous dunk by freshman sensation Patrick Williams. For a program consistently overlooked and underestimated by national and Tobacco Road pundits—and with an ACC regular season title in its sights—this dunk felt like a cathartic release of pent up frustration and “how do you like me now” swagger for the entire arena. Indeed, it legitimately might be the loudest single FSU sports moment I’ve ever been present for, only rivaled by Dexter Carter’s game-opening gallop against the Miami Hurricanes in 1989 and Peter Warrick’s tipped-pass touchdown against the Gators in 1998...but those are potential stories for another day. On this winter day just before a season-halting pandemic, it was Williams throwing the Dynasty-era haymaker.

Of course, just for good measure, Trent Forrest saw a squad from Muhammad Ali’s hometown staggering against the ropes and decided to end the fight for good.

P.S. — M.J. Walker got in one more before the ref waived off the fight.

Matt Minnick, the resident Tomahawk Nation historian, is a Tallahassee native and life long Seminoles fan, attending over 225 FSU football games across the country since 1986.

We love hearing your favorite Florida State football moments and memories. Drop a comment below sharing something from past Florida State and Louisville matchups.