Location: Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium (82,300)
Surface: Natural Grass
Game Time: 12:00 p.m. 10/17/2015
Line: -7 Florida State
Series History: 13-2 FSU Leads, 8-1 at FSU
Last Time: 10/30/2014 FSU 42-31

Attending

There are still tickets available for Louisville vs. Florida State.  Doak Campbell Stadium is an aluminum bench seated stadium on Florida State’s campus.

The weather is expected to be magnificent.  The forecast is 85/58 Sunny with 0% chance for rain.  9 MPH wind.

Listening

The broadcast will be available on Louisville Sports Properties and the Tune In Mobile App.  The legendary voice of the Cards Paul Rogers will provide play-by-play with Craig Swabek providing color and Doug Ormay from the sideline.  Additionally the Cards’ call will be broadcast on Sirius Channel 93 and XM Channel 194.

In Tallahassee the game will be broadcast on 103.1 FM WWOF-FM with legend Gene Deckerhoff (pxp), William Floyd (color), and Tom Block (sideline).  FSU’s broadcast is also available on Sirius Channel 132 and XM Channel 193.

Watching

The Cards vs. Noles will be broadcast by ESPN with Bob Wischusen doing play-by-play, Brock Huard providing color, and Shannon Spake on the sideline.  UofL vs. FSU will also be available on WATCHESPN live and for on-demand replay.

Stats

  Louisville Florida State
Strength of Schedule (Sagarin)  12th  76th
Scoring Offense (ppg) 27.4 (80th) 32.0 (48th)
Total Offense (ypg) 388.0 (79th) 432.4 (47th)
Passing Offense (ypg) 224.4 (71st) 229.7 (67th)
Rushing Offense (ypg) 163.60 (78th) 203.40 (30th)
Scoring Defense (ppg) 20.2 (35th) 14.0 (10th)
Total Defense (ypg) 323.8 (26th) 310.2 (22nd)
Passing Defense (ypg) 177.0 (23rd) 193.8 (41st)
Rushing Defense (ypg) 146.80 (51st) 116.40 (25th)
Punt Returns (ypr) 9.00 (53rd) 3.56 (112th)
Kickoff Returns (ypr) 26.73 (14th) 27.62 (9th)
Opponent Punt Returns (ypr) 3.50 (18th) 11.00 (96th)
Opponent Kickoff Returns (ypr) 27.65 (124th) 17.60 (19th)
Punting (ypp) 43.17 (37th) 43.04 (41st)
Field Goal % 60.0% (102nd) 77.8 (50th)
Opponent Field Goal % 75% (72nd) 100% (117th)
First Downs (per game) 22.6 (41st) 21.0 (65th)
Opponent First Downs (per game) 17.8 (36th) 17.2 (27th)
Penalties (ypg) 53.8 (57th) 50.8 (43rd)
Turnover Margin (season) +2 (43rd) +5 (16th)
Time of Possession 30:48.4 (56th) 30:28.00 (60th)
Sacks (per game) 2.00 (55th) 2.00 (55th)
Sacks Allowed (per game) 3.40 (120th) 2.20 (76th)
Tackles for Loss (per game) 5.60 (82nd) 5.20 (92nd)
Tackles for Loss Allowed (per game) 7.20 (84th) 5.8 (46th)
Interceptions (season) 9 (12th) 3 (99th)
Passes Defended (per game) 4.60 (53rd) 4.20 (69th)
Fumbles Recovered (season) 3 (67th) 3 (67th)
Fumbles Forced (season) 2 (109th) 4 (64th)
Fumbles Lost (season) 3 (40th) 1 (2nd)
Kicks/Punts Blocked (season) 0 (last) 0 (last)
3rd Down Conversions (%) 41.10% (52nd) 40.00 (62nd)
Opponent 3rd Down Conversions (%) 37.84% (68th) 32.89% (37th)
4th Down Conversions (%) 62.50% (39th) 33.33% (106th)
Opponent 4th Down Conversions (%) 28.57% (19th) 55.56% (88th)
Red Zone Conversions (%) 79.17% (95th) 88.24% (34th)
Opponent Red Zone Conversions (%) 88.89% (102nd) 83.33% (68th)
RedZone TD Conversions (%) 58.33% (81st) 47.06% (112th)
Opponent Red Zone TD Conversions (%) 44.44% (21st) 41.67% (17th)
Kickoffs (ypk) 63.89 (21st) 63.13 (36th)
Plays 361 (95th) 323 (121st)
Yards Per Play 5.37 (91st) 6.69 (18th)

My Prediction

It’s a lot to ask Louisville to win its 2nd road game in a row with a true freshman QB with 2 True Freshman OTs and a host of other freshman playing key roles in Doak Campbell Stadium against the #11 team in the country. Louisville & Florida State are not as EXPLOSIVE offensively than they were a year ago, but they both have key weapons….which will fire the best on Saturday?

Personally I think this is a defensive battle and if a team can make a play on special teams or break a few long gainers that will break the game open.  But ultimately the team that protects the ball the best wins the game….and right now that looks like Florida State.  It is strange knowing that FSU was the 2nd worst team in giving away turnovers a year ago is now the 2nd best team in the country in Turnovers Lost but until someone can make the Seminoles force the issue it’s not likely to happen.  The Cards are great at forcing turnovers & did so vs. Golson a year ago at Notre Dame….but until they do it vs. FSU we’ve got to go with trends.

On the flip side to that Louisville has allowed turnovers & special teams gaffes kill them.  Turnovers vs. Auburn directly lead to the Cards losing a game in which they statistically dominated.  The Cards’ game vs. Houston saw a kickoff for a Touchdown and a lack of tackling doom the home opener and a few small errors in an otherwise well-played game vs. Clemson is the one loss in conference.  Right now the Cards have proved that they can play CLOSE, but they have also proved that when given the opportunity to make a critical mistake, they do.

That was what was so encouraging about Louisville’s game vs. NC State…Louisville was able to win despite those small errors.  But against Florida State the Cards must find a way to maintain a drive as FSU has yet to give up big plays, they must contain Dalvin Cook, and they must not turn the ball over.

It’s possible for Louisville to win this game, absolutely.  It’s difficult to pick against your heart, but I need compelling logic to pick a side…… I could be wrong but I see this as a defensive battle and the Cards lose a tight one on a stage the youngsters aren’t quite yet ready for:  Florida State 17, Louisville 13. 

Louisville Offense vs. Florida State Defense

Louisville’s Offense is still searching for its identity.  That’s what happens when 6-8 freshman are on the field at a given time on a regular basis.  But the Cards have been more consistent, made fewer errors and have found some answers during its first 5 games of the season.  UofL’s found its Quarterback in Lamar Jackson, they’ve found both Tackles in Geron Christian and Kenny Thomas, they’ve found a tight end in Micky Crum (all freshman)…and they’ve gotten veteran players James Quick and Jamari Staples back from injury.  Progress…..but no where near being a finished product.

So far, the coaching staff has avoided putting Lamar Jackson under center and in short yardage has used Reggie Bonnafon.  This has greatly reduced Louisville’s offense.  The Cards can’t run play-action or implement a power running game…..which compromises Brandon Radcliff’s strength.  The lack of a running option outside of Jackson is a problem for the Cards, who have talented backs, so they need to find a way to get Lamar under center at some point.  Until then Louisville will be a shotgun team that relies on read option and challenges defenses to contain.  The task for Lamar is to do a much better job in the passing game to keep defenses guessing…and for receivers to catch the ball (too many drops vs. NC State).

Florida State is FAST and much improved defensively from a year ago in year 2 of Defensive Coordinator Charles Kelley’s leadership. Middle Linebackers Reggie Northrup and Ro’Derrick Hoskins lead FSU in tackles from the same position….and that should tell you something.  The guys upfront for the Noles are getting it done.  Derrick Nnadi, DeMarcus Walker,  and Nile Lawrence-Stample (among others) are causing all kinds of problems for opponents.  It’s equally as difficult to run as it is to pass against the Seminoles and as a result it’s really going to be difficult to sustain drives against FSU as the Cards convert just 41.10% on the year and face FSU who allows just 32.89%.  The Seminoles are equally as tough inside the RedZone allowing TDs just 41.67% of the time while the Cards score TDs just 58.33% in scoring territory.

And it gets worse……in addition to everything mentioned above.  Florida State is Top 15 in allowing long plays from scrimmage.  So teams sustain drives AND can’t break off huge chunk plays.

That’s a problem and it is directly related to Florida State’s speed.  Louisville’s offense has been plagued with a lack of consistency, but the group has been able to put together some really big plays to allow the Cards to put up points.  Against Florida State Louisville has to find a way to play its best football of the season and eliminate drops, penalties, mis-reads/checks…..and the Cards must run the football and attempt to attack the Noles on the outside.

One thing that FSU doesn’t do an awesome job of is making tackles in the backfield…..but that’s also a weakness of Louisville’s (allowing TFLs & Sacks).  In the end the Cards & Lamar Jackson will have to play the best game of the season to win in Tallahassee.  If UofL can keep it close in the 4th  quarter there is something to say about a play-maker like Lamar that defenses have to chase for 60 minutes…..the longer the game goes the worse the pursuit becomes.  It’s a lot to ask a true freshman QB like Lamar to go into Florida State on the road with 3 freshman offensive lineman and win.  It was a lot last year asking Reggie Bonnafon to go on the road against Notre Dame…but somehow the Cards got it done.

Either Louisville will sustain drives or they will get the big play here and there to get points…….or they won’t.  If they can’t do either, it’ll be a long day in Doak Campbell Stadium.  We will see how the Louisville offense has evolved in a week off.

Florida State Offense vs. Louisville Defense

Louisville is familiar with Everett Golson & Florida State……but it probably isn’t familiar with THIS Everett Golson OR THIS Florida State.  Both are quite different from a year ago.

The Cards went into Golson’s backyard last season at Notre Dame Stadium and stole a victory with a true freshman a QB….and they look to do the same again this year.   But Everett is a different player under Jimbo Fisher than he was under Brian Kelly….most namely: He doesn’t turn the ball over.  In fact, that is precisely what is different about Florida State as well.

2014 FSU Turnover’s Lost Rank #127 (of 128)…………  2015 FSU Turnover’s Lost Rank #2.

That’s the kind of swing that can only happen deliberately and that’s exactly how I would characterize this Florida State offense.  Deliberate.

The Seminoles have play-makers….and they have a great defense.  Why force anything?  Florida State doesn’t and that patience is paying off BIG. Boston College has the #1 Defense in the nation allowing just 140.3 yards per game, and Florida State managed just 217 yards….but FSU didn’t turn the ball over and allowed BC to make the mistakes and returned a fumble for a TD on the way to a 14-0 victory.

Oh….and Dalvin Cook.  Because Florida State possesses one of the best ‘home run’ hitters in college football in RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State can score on any play at any time.  That’s a luxury when you have the kind of defense the Seminoles have.  Cook has been nursing a hamstring injury lately, but still managed to put up 222 yards rushing (3 receptions for 47 yards) and 3 Total Touchdowns vs. Miami.  With one good leg Dalvin Cook can change the game….and Louisville knows all too well what Cook can do with both legs from a year ago.

Florida State has weapons in the passing game but so far in 2015 there hasn’t been a TON downfield putting the ball at risk.  With Jimbo Fisher it is a sure bet that those plays are in the arsenal but there hasn’t been much use to put the ball at risk thus far.

Louisville’s defense is a squad that thrives on the turnover.  Florida State has changed their entire make-up to avoid turnovers after being more than generous a year ago….and while Louisville’s Offense probably benefit ted from the extra development of the BYE week, the Louisville Defense was finally finding its footing as one of the leading defenses in the country.

Like a year ago, Florida State is likely going to challenge the Cards to make tackles on the outside but this time (like all other teams in 2015) avoiding Josh Harvey-Clemons side and forcing the opposite side to make tackles in the secondary.  FSU is probably going to try and exploit Louisville’s corners by forcing them to tackle.  Additionally, Florida State had an awful lot of luck with trap runs last year with Dalvin Cook.  The Cards MUST tackle on the backside and not allow Dalvin to engage beyond his cut OR they’ve got to tackle when in position.

I’d like to just really point out how well Louisville played against NC State.  Particularly James Burgess, Keith Kelsey, and Sheldon Rankins (among others).  THAT is the type of performance many expected from this Cardinal Defense and in order to beat Florida State they’ll have to do it again.

IF Louisville’s offense can get a lead late in the ballgame, Florida State may begin to force the issue and will either make plays OR the Cards could get FSU’s 2nd turnover of the season.  Also, FSU is pretty bad so far in 2015 of getting Touchdowns in the Red Zone (112th) but they do have Roberto Agauyo, perhaps the best kicker in college football.  So if the Cards allow a trip into the Red Zone the Noles are bound to get points, but not necessarily Touchdowns.  Last year the Cards dropped 4 Interceptions.  One of which was so baffling that Keith Kelsey allowed Ermon Lane to score to take the lead after a ball so poorly thrown by Jameis Winston that both James Burgess & Gerod Holliman collided trying to catch it.  And don’t forget Sheldon Rankins causing a fumble behind the line of scrimmage on 3rd Down by Karlos Williams only to have Nick O’Leary recover in the endzone for a TD.  The Noles got all the breaks…..we’ll see if the Cardinal Defense can contain the edge and get a few of their own on Saturday.

Florida State Football Traditions

One of the great things about joining the ACC for Louisville fans has been getting to know some of the best traditions in college football while visiting the membership of our new league.  This week it’s Florida State where the Cards haven’t visited the 82,300 seaat Doak Campbell Stadium since 2000.

Nicknames, Mascots, and Colors

Florida State once wore purple and gold colors and when FSU was named Florida State Female College in 1905 the football team actually had to attend the University of Florida.  (See the Buckman Act of 1905 which made FSU all-white female, University of Florida all-white male, and Florida A&M all-black).  The student body at that time then decided to select crimson as a school color.  Eventually that crimson was blended into its original purple to create ‘Garnet’.  FSU has been “Garnet & Gold” since October 1947 when Florida State went back to being co-ed after the Buckman Act was reversed by the Florida legislature and later the U.S. Supreme Court.

Note: Florida State was founded as the West Florida Seminary and during the Civil War was re-named the Florida Military & College Institute before reverting back to West Florida Seminary and then eventually Florida State. 

Florida State does not have a ‘Mascot’.  FSU calls themselves the Seminoles and works closely with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to make sure that tribal imagery is authentic.  In 1947 the student body watched two FSU football games before demanding that the school require a ‘symbol’.    Seminoles won out over Statesmen, Rebels, Tarpons, Fighting Warriors, and Crackers.  The Seminole Tribe is native to the region and FSU proudly identifies with the tribe and the tribe’s values.

FSU is extremely sensitive to the misuse or Seminole Indian symbols & traditions and has cultivated several traditions with the tribe directly with the tribe’s involvement.  Florida State has a task forced to review every aspect to determine what may be offensive so as to maintain it”s good relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

FSU is sometimes also referred to as simply the “Noles” a shortened version of “Seminoles”.

Osceola & Renegade

One of the most special traditions in college football is Osceola & Renegade.  There are few more visually rich spectacles that when Osceola plants a spear at midfield prior to a Florida State Football game.

The tradition began as an idea held by Bull Durham, FSU c/o 1965, for 16 years until the 1978 home opener when Durham obtained the approval of the Seminole Tribe of Florida for Osceola.  Osceola is ‘a great Seminole warrior who rides the Appaloosa horse (Renegade)’.  Chief Osceola is dressed in authentic regalia designed by the ladies of the Seminole Tribe.  Bill Durham & his family supply the Appaloosa horses and a team of volunteers named the “Renegade Team” help bring this tradition to life.

Osceola strides into atop of Renegade Doak Campbell Stadium prior to the coin toss of every FSU home game (and some bowl games) and plants a flaming spear on the mid-field logo.  To become “Osceola” the student must maintain excellent grades and be of good character. The ritual ignites the FSU faithful prior to each game and is a salute to the perseverance and integrity of the Seminole people.

Marching Chiefs

Florida State’s Marching Band is ENORMOUS.  Exceeding 400 members since the 1980s the Marching Chiefs attempt to create the ‘Wall of Sound’ during football games.  Sports Illustrated (yeah I know, not the week to drop them in) once recognized the Marching Chiefs as the ‘band that never lost a halftime’.  FSU’s band is a sight to see and is an unmistakable force inside Doak Campbell Stadium.

Warchant & Tomahawk Chop

The ‘Tomahawk Chop” & “War Chant” is a MAJOR part of the traditions at Florida State.  The sound and the swinging arm motion has been adopted by the Atlanta Braves and the Kansas City Chiefs.  It was the Marching Chiefs during a 1984 game vs. Auburn that started the tradition.   The current ‘War Chant’ that accompanies the ‘Chop’ is the first part of a much longer cheer used in the 1960s by the Seminole named “Massacre”.

The chant & chop was not in a great melody during 1984 and was contained within the student body during the 1985 season. However, by 1986 the phenomenon spread to the rest of the stadium.  The best traditions happy naturally and that applies here.

Officially Florida State University does not use the term ‘Tomahawk Chop’.  The school’s official statement regarding the tradition is:

“It is a term we did not choose and do not use. Our university’s goal is to be a model community that treats all cultures with dignity while celebrating diversity”

The Sod Cemetery

For a list of Sod Games

“SOD GAMES” are games in which carry a great amount of importance for Florida State.  National Championships, Road Underdogs, Road Games vs. Florida, ACC Championship Games, and Bowl Games.  When FSU wins a “Sod Game” the Seminoles cut out a piece of turf from the field on which the game was played and take that sod back to Tallahassee and plant the turf in the “Sod Cemetery” complete with a headstone.

The tradition has carried on for 6 decades and began in 1962 when FSU professor Dean Coyle Moore issued a challenge “Bring back some sod from between the hedges at Georgia”.  The Noles knocked off the Dawgs 18-0 in Sanford Stadium when team captain Gene McDowell pulled a small piece of grass from the field and presented it to the professor at the next practice in Tallahassee.  Professor Moore and FSU coach Bill Peterson buried the sod on the practice field and a monument was placed to commemorate the win…..the rest was history.

FSU Captains are tasked with burying the opponent’s turf in the Sod Cemetery outside the gates of the practice field a tombstone is placed above each patch of the turf’s resting place along with the score and date of the game.  It certainly is a unique tradition.  

Sealed Lockers

When an All-Time great Florida State Seminole plays his last game, his locker is sealed inside the FSU locker room as he left it…..Forever.  The sealing of lockers began after Deion Sanders senior season in 1988.  To have a locker sealed a player must be a 2-time consensus All-American or a Heisman Trophy Winner.

FSU currently has honored Ron Simmons, Marvin Jones, Derrick Brooks, Sebastian Janikowski, Peter Warrick, and Jameis Winston.  Current Kicker Roberto Agauyo also should meet the criteria as his career concludes.

FULL GAME: Louisville vs. Florida State 2014

Pre-Game Interviews/Media Sessions

Hype Video

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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of TheCrunchZone.com

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