After an emotional win over Miami in prime time, Florida State returns this week to face Louisville in a noon game. The weather should be nice like last week, but the tone of the game will be anything but the same. This has all the makings of a trap game for Florida State: it’s after a big win over Miami and before a road test at Georgia Tech. But Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles cannot overlook Louisville. Despite their 2-3 record, they still have a lot of talent on their roster and Bobby Petrino knows how to get the most out of his freshman quarterback, Lamar Jackson.
What to Watch For
Roderick Johnson versus Devonte Fields: Florida State face the best pass rusher they have seen all season this week in Devonte Fields. The former Big 12 Player of the Year, his tale has been well chronicled. Now, he’s at Louisville and he’ll be the first big test for Big Rod Johnson. Fields hasn’t had the best start for the season, but has the capability to be a game changer as a pass rusher. Johnson’s play versus Fields will be one of the biggest matchups of this game.
Offensive Turnovers: Florida State has committed one turnover on offense and Everett Golson has yet to throw an interception through five games. However, Louisville has the best defense that Florida State may face all year. Boston College was a defense of similar talent and Florida State only scored one touchdown on them. While Golson has yet to turn the ball over, the possibility is very real in this game with a veteran Cardinals secondary. If he does turn the ball over, this will be Fisher’s first chance to see how he responds to his mistake.
Containing Lamar Jackson: Last week, Florida State faced a quarterback in Brad Kaaya who was very efficient through the air, but was not a threat to run the ball. This week, they face Lamar Jackson, a true freshman who is a home run threat on the ground, but is very raw at throwing the ball. Containing Jackson will be important for the defense. Florida State needs to contain the pocket and make Jackson beat them with his arm, not his legs. Look for Florida State to only rush four, contain the pocket, and dare Jackson to throw the ball if Louisville wants to win this game.
Defensive Turnovers: With a true freshman throwing the ball, there is a very good shot for Florida State’s secondary to turn over the ball in this game. Jackson may be pressured into throwing passes he might not be comfortable with and Jalen Ramsey and Marquez White will be ready to pick those off if they come their way. Lamarcus Brutus failed to grab an interception last week in a play that resulted in a Miami touchdown but he may have a shot at redeeming himself this week.
This game will not be an easy win. Louisville is talented and Lamar Jackson, while raw, has the ability to break containment and throw the deep ball or take off for a long run. Dalvin Cook is still on the roster however, and that’s why Florida State fans should feel good about this game. Cook was phenomenal last week and can bolster his Heisman campaign with another good showing this week. This noon game will also mean Florida State fans can return home in time to watch Michigan-Michigan State at 3:30. Tomorrow should be a very good day for football.