--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
Saturday, the Louisville Cardinals host Florida State at 3:30pm. The rivalry game will air on ESPN2. When the Cards take the field, there are a few things they’ll need to do in order to beat the Seminoles, and get back on track.
Throw the ball
Florida State’s defense is two-sided. They have the 11th overall rushing defense, but the 108th passing. The Seminoles are 0-2 against ACC opponents.
If Louisville is to open the offense, they will need to be strong through the air. Whichever quarterback starts the game; Malik Cunningham or Jawon Pass, they will need to be prepared to throw the ball. Pass is better at passing; and went 20 for 39 against Alabama during Week one.
Prepare for the rush
Much like the defense, Florida State’s offense is two-sided. The Seminoles average just 102.8 yards on the ground, but 270.8 through the air. Both are 121st and 43rd in the FBS, respectively.
Louisville is better against the pass than the run. The Cards are 49th in pass defense, and 101st in rushing defense. Cam Akers proved to be a decent running back, after rushing 60 attempts for 274 yards and a touchdown.
The Seminoles only have two rushers of six that have netted positive yardage. Akers and Senior RB Jacques Patrick will look to exploit Louisville’s weakness in the trenches. Deondre Francois was a dual threat quarterback before ending 2017 early, and has two touchdowns this season.
Brian VanGorder and Co. will need to be ready.
Hold the line
Florida State has allowed 12 sacks and 37 tackles for a loss so far this season. In total, opponents have caused a loss of 164 yards.
That isn’t good. While Louisville is down a few on defense, they’ll most likely get a star back in Dorian Etheridge. If Etheridge and the rest of the defensive front can get past FSU’s offensive line and put pressure on the quarterback, then they could force a lot of three and outs, and win the game.
Louisville enters the game 6.5-point underdogs. Part of the reason why may involve last week’s 27-3 nightmare against Florida State. This game is almost a must-win for either team. It would give confidence to the winner. If the Cards win, and win big, it could turn the season around; and answer a few questions about the team moving forward.
Florida State is having a down year. So is Louisville. The game could realistically go either way. At the end of the day, however, Louisville may get the confidence they need moving forward.
Prediction: Louisville 42 Florida State 38