Photo courtesy of Florida State athletics
Florida State fell to 0-4 for the first time since 1974 with its loss to Louisville at Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday.
The Seminoles had an atrocious first half, but second-half adjustments led to a comeback bid that ultimately fell short, 31-23.
Florida State’s football team showed a promising amount of heart in the contest, but could not translate want-to into a win.
More of the Same Miscues
The same issues that have plagued the ‘Noles all season began springing up at the beginning of the contest. After deferring, the Seminole defense allowed a 59-yard touchdown pass from Malik Cunningham to Tyler Harrell on a blown assignment.
The Seminoles answered with a three-play drive that resulted in going seven yards in reverse and a punt. FSU’s defense continued the same dumb penalties as last week, handing the Cardinals a field goal on a drive that should have ended on a third-down stop.
Florida State’s run-blocking was abysmal in the first half, and quarterback McKenzie Milton took a few drives to get warmed up. A pass sailed over the head of tight end Cam McDonald as the ‘Noles failed to convert at midfield.
Louisville promptly took it back for a score, bringing the lead to 17-0.
Finally, the Seminoles found some offense. Milton zipped the ball downfield to lead the Seminoles into the red zone, where running back Treshaun Ward scored from 20 yards out on a counter run.
Louisville then stepped on the gas, marching down the field and scoring two drives straight as the FSU offense fizzled. The Cardinals were up 31-7 approaching the half with no signs of slowing down.
Overall the majority of the half looked the same as last week. The ‘Noles were soundly beaten on both sides of the ball. The coverage was sloppy and the team was undisciplined on defense, while the offense mostly stuttered.
The Comeback Bid
FSU entered the two-minute drill approaching the half, and the hurry-up worked. Milton was red-hot, delivering accurate passes, and the Seminole receivers were finding their way open.
Milton ended the drive on a 23-yard touchdown pass to receiver Andrew Parchment.
The ‘Noles entered the half down 31-13, but the game wasn’t over quite yet. Defensive coordinator Adam Fuller made excellent halftime adjustments, and his defense shut the Cardinals out for the entirety of the second half.
The Seminole offense rocketed out of the gate to begin the second half as running back Jashaun Corbin took his first carry 75 yards to the house. This score brought the lead to just 11 points.
FSU’s defense forced four straight punts as the offense produced two punts, a missed field goal, and a turnover on downs.
Then kicker Ryan Fitzgerald hit a 45-yard field goal to bring the game within one score. The ‘Noles were down just eight as the end of the fourth quarter loomed.
Unfortunately, the comeback bid fell just short as Milton’s deep pass for Parchment was picked off. Cunningham took a knee and sealed the Louisville victory.
FSU has found a way to score points again, although it was too little, too late. In addition, the second-half adjustments, especially on defense, were promising. The second-half efforts show that the ‘Noles can react and adjust to teams and play sound football for at least a half.
Milton posted improved numbers, ending the contest with 248 yards — a season high — along with a touchdown and an interception. He struggled at times, but showed he can make the throws needed to win ball games with a proper supporting cast.
The ‘Noles also showed they can take advantage of a weak run defense and stick to it. Florida State’s running backs rushed for 242 yards on the night, averaging 8.1 yards per carry.
Most importantly, despite being 0-3 on the season with a blowout loss looming, the team did not stop fighting. It would have been easy enough to give up on the game down 31-7 approaching halftime, but the ‘Noles roared back and nearly came back to tie the game up.
This team wants to win, and that will translate to the field eventually.