The Florida State Seminoles get a bye week to prepare for their first true road trip of the 2022 season against the Louisville Cardinals. Much like it has for the past four years, the Louisville offense runs through redshirt senior quarterback Malik Cunningham. Coming off his first 1,000+ yard rushing season, Cunningham’s legs continue to be his best weapon. His passing game still needs to improve to take his game and the Cardinals team to the next level.
Louisville’s program made a quick turnaround in head coach Scott Satterfield’s first season at the helm, but the Cardinals have finished sub-.500 in each of the past two seasons. Last year’s down year was especially disappointing in what was a down year for the ACC and what was expected to be another big step for Cunningham. Will this be year he and the team make that leap?
Opponent: Louisville Cardinals
Date: Friday, Sept. 16
Time: 7:00 p.m., ESPN
Last matchup: Sept. 25, 2021 - Loss 31-23
Louisville Cardinals: Team Preview
2021 record: 6-7
Names to Know
Quarterback Malik Cunningham
- 2,941 passing yards, 19 TDs, 6 INTs, 1,031 rushing yards and 20 rushing TDs
Running Back Tiyon Evans
- 525 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 81 carries at Tennessee; 74 yards and a touchdown on 4 receptions
Left Guard Caleb Chandler
- First Team All-ACC in 2022
Linebacker Yasir Abdullah
- 10 sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss, Second Team All-ACC
Florida State Seminoles vs. Louisville Cardinals Prediction
The best result for FSU is the bye week before this game gives the Seminoles defense plenty of time to prepare for Cunningham’s wheels. The Cardinals will have two games under their belt as well against Syracuse and UCF so there will be plenty of tape on the offense and any adjustments they’ve made to improve the passing game this season. If the defense can limit Cunningham’s success on the ground and force the Cardinals to beat them through the air, the Noles should be able to use their own incredibly athletic QB to run Louisville out of their own stadium.
The most realistic result is that these two teams play a coin toss of a football game. Last year, it ended up being a close game after the Seminoles made a furious comeback in the end. I imagine this game won’t get to being close the same way but will likely be close regardless. Both teams come with a quarterback better known for his legs than his arm. Will either make a jump in that aspect to set their team apart from the other? Both teams are counting on transfers to add an explosive element to the offense. Both teams trying to sure up some holes in defense through the portal as well. I imagine this will be a back and forth contest with a flurry of scores down the stretch with the last team to score grabbing the win.
The worst-case is pretty simple. Florida State struggles to get its running game going and can’t contain Cunningham. If that happens, Louisville can easily run away from from Florida State. Having to sell out to stop him could lead to open passing lanes for the rest of the Cardinals offense to explode, which would be a recipe for disaster. Florida State is counting on a lot of growth and unproven players especially on that defensive line. If they aren’t ready for the challenge, Louisville is fully capable of dominating time of possession and keeping the ball away from Jordan Travis.