2021 FSU-Louisville Preview and Predictions

by Jacob Bunting
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Photo courtesy of Florida State athletics

Florida State’s football program is desperate for success.

The Seminoles are still winless entering Week 4 of the season. Through an inexplicable series of penalties, miscues, turnovers, and coaching decisions, the ‘Noles have dropped three straight to begin the season.

FSU is coming off an embarrassing 35-14 loss to Wake Forest in which it turned the ball over six times. The reeling Seminoles will have to refocus quickly as they host ACC opponent Louisville at home on Saturday.

Florida State leads the all-time series, 16-5. Last year’s matchup between the two resulted in Louisville clobbering the ‘Noles, 48-16.

If the Seminoles drop this game, it will be the first 0-4 start since head coach Darrell Mudra’s first season at FSU in 1974. The 1974 ‘Noles finished the season 1-10, with their lone victory being a 21-14 upset against Miami.

Florida State vs. Louisville

  • Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.
  • Saturday, Sept. 25 at 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
  • Louisville -1.5, O/U 61.5
  • Last week:
    • FSU: L, 14-35, Wake Forest
    • Louisville: W, 42-35, UCF

When FSU’s On Offense

How the Seminoles perform on offense will depend upon the availability of two players: offensive tackle Robert Scott, Jr. and center Maurice Smith. Both have been injured throughout the season and are questionable for the upcoming contest.

The Florida State offensive line has proved that without these two, it cannot consistently block as a unit.

With Scott and Smith in the game, FSU scored 38 points on a top-25 Notre Dame defense. In the two games since, the ‘Noles have scored a combined 31 points.

FSU’s offense has been inconsistent due to blocking issues, but also has been shooting itself in the foot. The coaching staff inexplicably swaps players out when they are getting a rhythm established. Players are pressing too much and committing costly turnovers and penalties.

As a result, the FSU offense continues to fall in the rankings. Florida State’s offense dropped five spots in the ranking this week, landing at 51st in the country, per ESPN’s SP+ rankings.

However, the Louisville defense could be a breath of fresh air for FSU’s offense. The Cardinal defensive unit ranks 94th in the country.

The Cardinals are downright horrid defending the run, which aligns well with the Seminoles’ offensive strengths.

When FSU’s On Defense

Florida State’s defense is performing well if it can get off the field. The issue facing the defensive unit now is lack of discipline.

Wake Forest was able to score 21 points off of drives that should have ended in punts. Instead, the defense put itself in situations to receive penalties that handed the opposing offense first downs.

There are also issues in the Seminole secondary. FSU’s defensive backs have not been able to consistently cover opposing wide receivers. As a result, opposing offenses are averaging nearly 300 yards passing per game.

Louisville’s offense is going to have a field day with the Seminole defense. The Cardinals are 19th in the country offensively, averaging over 400 yards and 32 points per game.

Led by dual-threat quarterback Malik Cunningham, the Cardinal offense has a dynamic rushing attack. The prolific run game has been a boon for the passing game, as opposing defenses cheat up to try and stop the run.

Florida State’s linebackers and defensive line need to be locked and play at a high level in order to succeed against the Louisville offense.

Predictions

Cory: Louisville, 34-17. I told y’all last week that if FSU lost to Wake, it’s all downhill from there. Louisville has looked like garbage this year, but, you know, so have the Seminoles. Could I be surprised and see FSU win? Yeah, I guess. But I’m bound and determined to no longer be surprised by FSU’s aptitude for losing.

James: 44-14, Cards.

Mike: Louisville 34-30. Florida State and Louisville are headed in different directions after Week 1. The Seminoles are 0-3 for the first time since 1976 — legend Bobby Bowden’s first season as head coach — while the Cardinals just had their best win of the young season against UCF. FSU will play better this week at home, but just about everyone on the schedule is a better team than the Seminoles at this point.

Jake: Louisville, 48-23. FSU’s secondary is going to be burned by Malik Cunningham and company. Louisville’s defense is exploitable, especially on the ground, but at this point, I don’t expect the FSU coaching staff to stick with what works. Anything could happen, but the ‘Noles continue to prove they are who we think they are.

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