Seminoles look for first home win of the season Saturday against Louisville

Written by Manuel DeLeon
Tallahassee, FL– There is an old proverb that states “slow and steady wins the race but for Florida State (2-3, 2-2), that is not the case. Against Duke last week, the ‘Noles came out firing on their first drive marching 83 yards for the touchdown en route to 425 yards of total offense. Head coach Jimbo Fisher and the ‘Noles look to keep that momentum going as reigning Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Lamar Jackson, and the Louisville Cardinals (4-3 , 1-3) make the trek to Doak S. Campbell Stadium to take on the Seminoles.

“As we look at our team, (we’re) starting to get closer to the team to which we thought we could be,” said Fisher. “And (we’re) getting better.” (We) envisioned the things where we’re getting to. Offensively, developed much more of an identity.”

Helping in that development is the growth of quarterback James Blackman from week one, as well as a strong running game led by running backs Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick. When former running back Dalvin Cook graced the FSU backfield, the ‘Noles relied mightily on his carries and production. With Akers and Patrick, the workload is shared and has brought balance to this offense. Both average over 5.3 yards per carry and have shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. The balance is shown in their total yards from scrimmage with Akers amassing 419 and Patrick 417 yards, respectively.

Though both are raking up the yards, both only have one touchdown apiece, which has hurt the ‘Noles when it comes to scoring. The ‘Noles rank 120th in the nation scoring with just 18.2 points per game.

“It’s there, but you have to still go do that (score points). Close isn’t good enough. … But as we get this going – and we’re getting very close – and you hit those one or two little big plays and you get them executed (the points will come).”

The Seminoles may not score many points, but their defense hasn’t given up many points either. They have given up 20.8 points per contest, which is good for 38th in country. Meaning the one, or two big plays that Fisher is speaking of must be made and have the potential to change the outcome of the game.

Speaking of this Seminole defense, how does one contain a player of Lamar Jackson caliber? Simple. Hit him early and hit him often. The junior quarterback has 3,012 total yards and 26 total touchdowns already this season. Getting to the quarterback hasn’t been the strong suit of this Florida State defense. The ‘Noles have a total of eight sacks on the year.  So, will the real Brian Burns please stand up? The standout defensive end from last year’s defense with eight and a half sacks, has yet to record a sack this season. Linebacker Matthew Thomas, the leader in the middle of the defense will have his eyes on Jackson all game. The redshirt senior linebacker is very active in the backfield, notching two sacks and four tackles for loss so far this season.

“That guy (Jackson) is the most dynamic player in all of college football… He’s like Vick was back in the day. He’s one of those type of athletes that don’t come around so often.” Fisher said of the Cardinal quarterback and his talent.

Though the Cardinals aren’t having the season some pundits expected, the playmaking ability of Jackson is still there, and the ‘Noles must play sound defense. Blackman must continue maturing as a passer, but it helps when you have six-foot-five wide receiver Auden Tate on the outside who has scored in every game this season.

I know I failed to bring up last season’s 63-20 drubbing at the hands on the Cardinals and Lamar Jackson, but if you’re interested in living in the past, “Doc” Brown has the DeLorean gassed up around back. Both teams look nothing like last year’s version. Kickoff is scheduled for 12pm EST at Doak S. Campbell Stadium.

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