Dominant is a subtle way to describe the University of Louisville football team’s performance in last year’s victory over Florida State.
The Cardinals’ offense registered 530 yards and tallied 21 second-quarter points, while the defense accumulated five sacks, one interception, limited the Seminoles to 2 of 13 on third-down conversions, and stifled Florida State to 284 yards of offense.
Louisville heads into Saturday’s afternoon matchup with a 4-3 mark following rare consecutive losses, including a heart-breaking 45-42 decision against NC State, aiming to repeat that performance.
“We feel like we didn’t put the identity that we want to on the tape in the second half,” linebacker James Hearns said of the NC State decision, “so we’re anxious to get back out there to right that wrong.”
The Tallahassee, Fla., native, Hearns is third on the team with 5.5 tackles for loss, three of those being sacks. He has 25 tackles on the year along with a fumble recovery. The redshirt senior was pivotal against his hometown team last year, accounting for a sack and a pass breakup.
The Cardinals are sticking to the 24-hour mindset – for both victories and defeats. However, the team has spent time watching tape on last year’s win over Florida State to see what they need to do to return to the overpowering group that defeated the second-ranked Seminoles 63-20.
“I know a lot of people expect us to be down,” Hearns said, “but it’s like coach tell us, ‘When you get backed into a corner, you can’t just sit there. The only thing you can do is fight.’”
As important as the fight is going to be, head coach Bobby Petrino addressed other keys that the defense needed to give plenty of attention.
“We’ve got to work on our technique and our fundamentals, too,” Petrino said. “Like I said, tackling—we’ve got come in, be physical, shoot our hips, run our feet, get more guys to the football. I think it’s going to be really important to set edges, because they like to run the outside zone play, and they do a really good job of it.”
Florida State is averaging only 114.6 yards per game on the ground, but the Seminoles’ two feature backs – Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick – each are averaging better than five yards per carry. Akers’ 42-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter lifted Florida State to a 17-10 victory at Duke.
“This game, over the last couple of years – we’ve had some good games with them, so it’s solidified itself as a rivalry. Regardless of record, this game means a lot to both of us.”
Louisville and Florida State hit the field at Doak S. Campbell Stadium on ESPN for a 12:02 p.m. kick.