Tampa Bay Sports Day

ACC: Big Plays Fuel No. 10 Louisville’s Rout of No. 2 Florida State

LOUISVILLE, Ky. –-Dominating both sides of the scrimmage line Saturday in front of the largest crowd to watch a game at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, the Louisville Cardinals administered a 63-20 Atlantic Coast Conference whipping to No. 2 Florida State.

Upping their overall record to 3-0 and their conference mark to 2-0, Louisville outgained the Seminoles 530-284 in total yards and led by 63-10 early in the fourth quarter before two scores spared Florida State its worst loss in school history.

“This one’s really a team win,” Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino said. “Our defense did an unbelievable job pressuring the quarterback and getting the ball back for our offense, our special teams made a couple of big plays and we did a great job running the ball because our guys blocked downfield.

Cards’ QB Lamar Jackson accounted for 362 total yards – his lowest total of the year – and five touchdowns.

Jackson was 13 of 20 for 216 passing yards and a score, while rushing for 146 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries. In the season’s first three games, Jackson has passed for 913 yards and eight scores while running for 464 yards and 10 touchdowns. Dating back to the final two contests of 2015, Jackson has run and thrown for 100 yards in five consecutive games.

“I’m just proud of how he prepared for the game, how he was able to stay calm,” Petrino said. “You get nervous for the game and all these things flying around, but he was able to focus and concentrate. You could see it by the way he played the game.”

Running back Brandon Radcliff added 118 yards and a score on 14 carries, while wide receiver James Quick contributed 122 yards on seven receptions.

Defensively, the front seven simply whipped the FSU (2-1, 0-1). They limited running back Dalvin Cook to 54 yards on 16 rushes and pressuring freshman quarterback Deondre Francois. Francois completed 7 of 18 passes for 101 yards and a 20-yard touchdown to Auden Tate with 10:56 left in the second quarter, drawing Florida State within 14-10.

“We were feeling good then,” Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We felt like we had weathered the storm, that this was going to be a good football game, just like we expected.”
Instead, Louisville scored the next seven touchdowns.

Jaire Alexander tacked on a 69-yard punt return touchdown 71 seconds into the third quarter and a 61-yard return later in the period.

Petrino said his coaches spent months preparing for this game, even though two others preceded it. Remembering they lost halftime leads the last two years in falling to Florida State, the Cardinals stressed finishing the job this time.