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NoleGameday

Stock Market Report Week 4: Louisville

Florida State got a win! Against a conference opponent!

This game was much of the same for 3 1/4 quarters. FSU stormed out to a huge lead, with two touchdowns from Cam Akers, and another one from backup QB Alex Hornibrook to Keyshawn Helton on Hornibrook’s first pass of his Florida State career.

Starting up 21-0 is nothing new for Florida State. Sadly, so is blowing a 21-0 lead.

Louisville scores a touchdown before the end of the first half and went into the locker room down 21-7. The third quarter was dominated by the Cardinals, scoring 10 points, and then scoring another touchdown as the 4th quarter opened to take a 24-21 lead.

This time, FSU would answer. Alex Hornibrook had now checked into the game full-time due to starter James Blackman injuring his knee (more on this later). Hornibrook found a wide-open Tamorrion Terry down the sideline after a miscommunication in the Louisville secondary where the DB covering Terry blitzed and the safety didn’t rotate over. Terry walked into the end zone to reclaim the lead 28-24.

The defense would stand tall and give the ball back to the offense. Briles learned from his mistakes last week and ran the ball with the lead, and the offense didn’t show as much hurry to get the ball snapped. They trickled down the field and settled for a field goal before Louisville got a roughing the kicker penalty. A few plays later and Cam Akers broke through the end zone to put the game on ice 35-24.

Great Investments

EDGE Janarius Robinson

With the loss of Joshua Kaindoh last week, the EDGE production looked shaky at best, and worrisome at worst. Robinson did everything he could to change that narrative. Robinson was all over the field, finishing with 6 QB hurries, 7 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, and 1.5 sacks. He also finished as FSU’s top grades defender per PFF. This was easily the best game of his career, and the Seminoles will need more of this the rest of the season if they want to keep winning.

DT Marvin Wilson

The Seminoles might have the best DT in the country in Big Marv. Another guy that just destroyed UL’s offensive line, Wilson finished with 10 total tackles, 3.5 TFLs, and 2 sacks. He was consistently winning with his elite combination of strength and hand usage. Wilson was a huge factor in shutting down the Cardinals usually potent rushing offense to just 124 yards rushing and making it hard for QBs to step up in the pocket while he’s bringing such force up the middle.

RB Cam Akers

I know I said it last week, but Akers is so special. He already has as many touchdowns (8) through 4 games as he did all of last season. He keeps the defense guessing and creates easy RPO opportunities because of how much feat he puts into the opposing defense. He ended the day with 112 yards and 3 TDs, and has 499 yards on the season already, just 207 behind last year’s production. There’s a reason a player as talented as Laborn isn’t playing, and it’s because Akers is so good you want the ball in his hands as much as possible.

Solid Investments

QBs James Blackman and Alex Hornibrook

Fans want a QB competition, naturally. But as we said last week, Blackman is still the best QB for this team and is the starter when he’s healthy (Blackman suffered a sprained MCL Saturday, should be out just a few weeks at most).

Blackman was solid until he was injured. Making quick, crisp passes, and only finished with 3 incompletions, 1 coming on an absolute laser to Keyshawn Helton in between coverage, that should’ve been caught but also probably shouldn’t have been thrown either.

The same goes for Hornibrook while he was in. Coach Taggart had mentioned they had placed some packages in for Hornibrook in practice throughout the week and wanted to get him in the game. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as he would have to be the main guy when Blackman went down. Both of his touchdowns were incredibly easy throws, but at least he made the right reads. He didn’t turn the ball over, and got the ball out quick. My only issue is he was missing some easy reads and may have been too quick to pull it down and run when there was actually a pocket to throw in. Both QBs were very solid all game, and the QB room is so much more improved compared to where it’s been the last few seasons. Credit Taggart for knowing he needed bodies and went out and got Hornibrook and Jordan Travis.

WR Keyshawn Helton

Helton would’ve been at the top of the Great Investments list had he managed to hang on to that pass from Blackman. However, he still had a great outing Saturday, finishing with 7 receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown. He’s quickly becoming a go-to WR in this offense, and has the speed to make defenses pay. I’m totally on board giving all of DJ Matthews’ minutes to Helton (although Matthews did have a nice snag to extend a drive).

Bad Investments

K Ricky Aguayo

I really thought #AguayoMatic was back. I really did. Aguayo had been great to start the season… 3/3 and a 53 yarder against Virginia.

Boy did that go down the toilet quickly.

Aguayo was 0/3 Saturday. The first miss is understandable, a 51 yarder and just pushed it left. Again, no one is mad at that. The other two misses are inexcusable. Both from inside 50 yards, both missed so far to the left, I’m not even sure they would’ve been good if you tripled the width of the goal post. Taggart has said “competition” will help push Aguayo, so maybe the staff decides to burn the shirt with freshman kicker Ryan Fitzgerald. The fans are ready to see someone not named Aguayo kick for Florida State

The Fans

Speaking of the fans, the attendance was absolutely horrible, with the lowest attendance since 1983. Yes, the team isn’t good, but they’re miles better than last year. People want to see a winning product on the field, and that’s understandable. That being said, there’s no reason to not support the team. The team will do better if they have fans cheering for them in the stands. They’re close to turning the corner, and a night game next weekend against a team we have a history with, NC State, is a perfect time for fans to reverse the attendance narrative.

Buy/Sell

Buy: The team is turning a corner

This team is vastly improved compared to last year. Yes, the defense continues to be behind, but the offense is unbelievably better. Last season, the offense finished with an SP+ rating around 25. This season? It has sky-rocketed to about 40, right around where the team had been under Jimbo Fisher. And for the second weekend in a row, no turnovers.

Taggart has mentioned they wanted to be more disciplined with penalties this week, especially the selfish ones. Whatever they did worked, as the ‘Noles only finished with 5 penalties, granted Terry should’ve gotten one on his touchdown for throwing up the peace sign. It will be interesting to see if he gets disciplined at all for it.

Sell: FSU has turned the corner

FSU is still just not good enough in the second half to say they’re a good team yet. If they continue their current improvement path, a Bowl game is easily attainable, and 7 wins isn’t that unreasonable. FSU may have won, but I’m not entirely convinced they know how to win yet, and they don’t seem to have the killer mentality they need to have.

Buy: Next Man Up

A next man up mentality is good to have. And the next men up have played well. With Hamsah Nasirildeen sidelined most of the afternoon, Akeem Dent, Cyrus Fagan, and others filled his role admirably. Janarius Robinson dominated with Joshua Kaindoh out, and Hornibrook filled in nicely for Blackman.

Sell: This team is built for “Next Man Up”

That being said, FSU has already lost two of its biggest defensive leaders for the season in Kaindoh and Jaiden Lars-Woodbey. Both of them play in positions the ‘Noles don’t have quality depth in, and can’t stand to lose someone else at the EDGE position. Jauan Williams is needed back desperately on the offensive line, and the sooner Blackman is healthy, the better.

Buy: The defense blew a lead

Week after a week, we’ve seen them storm out to big leads, only to see it all fall apart. At some point the defense should have some pride and fight back, right? Fagan came up with a huge interception in the 4th quarter while Louisville was driving, and they were forcing 3-and-outs early in the contest, but they really need to toughen up after halftime.

Sell: The offense stalled after the first quarter

The offense only scored in the first and fourth quarters. There may have been some lackluster drives in the second and third quarters, but there were still three scoring chances missed because of Aguayo thinking the field goal posts were further left. If Aguayo makes 2 of his 3 attempts, we’re talking about a 41-24 win and a much different narrative.


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