Saturday at 8 p.m. on ABC, the ‘Noles will be in Charlotte, North Carolina to play the Louisville Cardinals for the ACC Championship. Florida State is looking for its first ACC Title since 2014 and 16th overall.
Louisville is 10-2 this season with wins over Georgia Tech, Murray State, Indiana, Boston College, NC State, Notre Dame, Duke, Virginia Tech, Virginia and Miami and losses to Pittsburgh and Kentucky.
FSU is 17-6 all-time against the Cardinals including a 35-31 victory last season at Louisville. (Tate Rodemaker: 109 yards and 2 touchdowns)
Observations from the last game
The Seminoles survived another slow start to get the win.
Norvell tried to get Rodemaker settled in but the Gator defense was ready and took advantage of a bevy of mistakes by the FSU. Missed blocks on screens, not running to where the blocking is and pre-snap penalties put FSU in bad situations.
Rodemaker looked flustered at times but stayed the course and didn’t make the game altering mistake.
The defense led by the defensive line was phenomenal. Defensive end Jared Verse had 2.5 sacks and 6 tackles and safeties Shyheim Brown and Akeem Dent combined for 15 tackles.
Florida State offense versus Louisville defense
The Louisville defense is 10th in the FBS in opponent’s rushing yards per game with only 97. Two big reasons for that are d-tackle Ramon Puryear and d-end Ashton Gilotte, who is also an elite pass rusher (11 sacks). Linebacker TJ Quinn’s sure tackling benefits the run defense as well.
I expect the Cardinals to make Rodemaker beat them a few times before putting an extra defender in pass coverage. After a couple of games to get settled in, Rodemaker should be able to make some throws and get the ‘Noles offense moving earlier in the contest.
Florida State defense versus Louisville offense
Louisville likes to run the ball and they are good at it as they average 4.7 yards per carry. When UL runs it, they hand to the shifty Jawar Jordan (1,076 yards rushing) or the powerful Isaac Guerendo.
The quarterback is the experienced Jack Plummer, who has 2,952 yards passing this season but has 11 interceptions. Plummer’s favorite target is the elusive Jamari Thrash (56 receptions for 801 yards).
The key for the Seminole defense is to slow down the Louisville rushing attack. Linebackers Kalen DeLoach, Tatum Bethune and DJ Lundy need to continue their stellar play by getting off blocks and bringing down the ball carrier. If FSU can get this done, then they need corner Jarrian Jones to slow down another talented slot receiver.
Advantage: Florida State
Louisville has done a tremendous job starting fast and FSU has started poorly the last 2 weeks so if the game is even through a quarter or so that bodes well for the ‘Noles. I think FSU has a decent start and uses some good field position provided by the defense/special teams to put just enough points. Florida State 24 Louisville 23.