NoleGameday

Game Preview: Florida State vs Louisville

Game Introduction:  

Louisville heads south to Tallahassee to take on the ‘Noles after losing a close one to Boston College last week. Florida State bounced back to beat Duke on the road last Saturday and are looking to win two games in a row for the first time this season. Game will kickoff at noon on ESPN.

Headlines:

Revenge on the ‘Noles mind

Last year’s matchup between these two teams was lopsided, to say the least. After the embarrassment Florida State endured last year at Louisville, I expect them to come out with a little bit more of an edge on Saturday. I’m sure Jimbo Fisher and the rest of the coaching staff have been reminding the players what happened last year all week. It will be interesting to see how much energy the ‘Noles play with out of the gate.

FSU’s offense needs to put points on the board 

Florida State ranks dead last in points per game out of all power-5 teams. Their schedule certainly doesn’t do them any favors, and the injury to Deondre Francois has clearly hindered the unit. But there are no excuses for the offensive performance so far this season. Coaching has also been less than spectacular, and play calling has been questionable at times. The ‘Noles also don’t do themselves any favors going down the field slower than a snail traveling uphill. I expect Jimbo Fisher to increase the tempo and run the ball down the throats of a suspect Louisville defense.

Blackman has started to play a lot better 

James Blackman has very interesting stats by quarter and downs this year. In the fourth quarter, Blackman is 21/35 for 293 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He has completed 27 of his last 30 attempts for 285 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Only three incompletions out of 30 attempts is good for anyone, especially a true freshman. Blackman’s arguably been at his best on second down, providing evidence that throwing on early downs has been beneficial for the ‘Noles. Expect a lot of play action on early downs come Saturday, as Jimbo Fisher tries to get more receivers open.



Burning Questions:

How can the ‘Noles slow down Lamar Jackson? 

Only one player can keep Lamar Jackson in check on Saturday, and he didn’t play in the game last year. That player is Derwin James, and he holds the keys to slowing down the defending Heisman Trophy winner. James was able to shut down Jackson when they were both Freshman, but Jackson has come a long way since that game two years ago. Expect James to be around the line of scrimmage on most plays, whether he’s blitzing or spying.

Is there a problem with the mentality of this team?

There has been some strange interactions online with players. You heard Jacobbi McDaniel and Nick Moody talk about it on Hear the Spear. The mentality of this team is not where it should be, and the competitiveness we’ve seen in years past is absent. Certain players have shown heart and determination, but as a team performances thus far has seemed flat. It will be interesting to see what kind of effort they give on Saturday.

Forecast: 

Last year, with College Gameday in attendance, Louisville embarrassed Florida State. But this is a new year, and a new season. Both teams have struggled in their own right, and this game seems pretty unpredictable. The Louisville offense is wildly unpredictable, with an inconsistent offensive line. The Cardinals also lack the weapons around Lamar Jackson that they had last year. I think this one will turn in to a shootout, and the team who wins the turnover battle will come out on top. My score prediction is 37-31 Florida State, with Cam Akers saving the day just like Freshman Dalvin Cook did a few years ago. Hope everyone enjoys the game, it should be an offensive showcase.

Ben Brewton
Writer at Nole Gameday covering football and basketball. FSU alum. Follow me on twitter (@Ben_Brewton) and we can talk sports. On the 8th day, God created college football.

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