#2 Florida State Seminoles at #25 Louisville Cardinals
Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium – Louisville, Kentucky
Thursday, October 30, 2014, 7:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Florida State -7
Current Line: Florida State -3 1/2
Opening Total: 50 1/2
Current Total: 50 1/2
Opening Money Line: FSU -190 / Louisville +160
Current Money Line: FSU -175 / Louisville +155
The Florida State Seminoles have won 23 straight games dating back to the 2012 ACC Championship game, including an undefeated season and a BCS Championship last year. The Seminoles are 7-0 this season but it hasn’t been easy with close calls against Oklahoma State, Clemson and Notre Dame. Still, the Seminoles are one of 3 undefeated teams left in FBS along with Mississippi State and Marshall. The Seminoles are #2 in the initial College Football playoff rankings and would be matched up against Auburn in a rematch of last year’s championship game.
We have a long way to go before that happens though. The Seminoles must continue to take care of business in the ACC, starting with a trip to new conference rival the Louisville Cardinals Thursday night. The Cardinals are 6-2 and #25 in the playoff rankings. Florida State is 4-0 and leads the ACC Atlantic Division over 5-1 Clemson and 4-2 Louisville.
Florida State leads the series 12-2 against Louisville including 4-1 in Louisville. Louisville won the last meeting in 2002 26-20 at home.
Florida State is coached by Jimbo Fisher. The Seminoles have a neutral site win over Oklahoma State 37-31 in Arlington, Texas, home wins over the Citadel 37-12, Clemson 23-17 in overtime, Wake Forest 43-3 and 2 weeks ago against then undefeated Notre Dame 31-27. FSU also has road wins at North Carolina State 56-41 and against Syracuse 38-20. Florida State is 1-6 ATS and the total is 3-4 this season. The Seminoles were 9.5 point favorites against Notre Dame and the total was 60.
The Cardinals are coached by Bobby Petrino. Louisville has home wins over Miami-(FL) 31-13, Murray State 66-21, Wake Forest 20-10, and two weeks ago against NC State 30-18, plus road wins at Florida International 34-3 and Syracuse 28-6. The Cardinals have road losses at Virginia 23-21 and Clemson 23-17. Louisville is 5-3 ATS and the total is 1-6-1 this season. The Cardinals were 19 point favorites at home against NC State and the total pushed at 48.
Florida State is outscoring teams 38-22 this season. FSU is #19 in scoring and #29 in points allowed nationally. The Seminoles are averaging 443 yards per game on offense including 317 passing and 126 rushing yards per game. Florida State is #14 in passing offense nationally, but #104 in rushing. The Seminoles are #47 in total offense. FSU is allowing 374 yards per game on defense including 228 passing and 147 rushing yards per game. The Seminoles are even in turnovers with 13 takeaways. Florida State averages 51 penalty yards per game and opponents average 54. The Seminoles are 38/85 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 52/125. FSU has forced 11 sacks and allowed 15 this season. The Seminoles are 33/34 scoring in the red zone with 23 touchdowns and opponents are 21/30 with 13 touchdowns. FSU has a pick six and a fumble return for a touchdown this season.
FSU quarterback Jameis Winston, the defending Heisman Trophy winner, has completed 70.6% of his passes for 1,878 yards with 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, plus 2 rushing touchdowns. Sean Maguire filled in for Winston against Clemson. He threw for over 300 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions. He is questionable with a broken hand. True freshman John Franklin III is the back-up QB if something happens to Winston.
Running back Karlos Williams has 82 carries for 378 yards and 7 touchdowns, plus 14 catches for 138 yards. Dalvin Cook has 59 carries for 270 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 4 catches. Mario Pender has 32 carries for 200 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 8 catches for 42 yards and a touchdown. Pender is doubtful with an ankle injury. Receiver Rashad Greene has 52 catches for 791 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is probable with a foot injury. Tight end Nick O’Leary has 27 catches for 288 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jesus Wilson has 25 catches for 307 yards and 4 touchdowns. Eight defensive players are questionable or out for the Seminoles.
Louisville is outscoring teams 31-15 this season. The Cardinals are #4 in points allowed and #58 in scoring nationally. Louisville is averaging 370 yards per game including 226 passing and 145 rushing yards per game. Louisville is #94 nationally in total offense and #90 in rushing out of 128 FBS teams. On defense, the Cardinals are allowing 245 yards per game including 176 passing and 69 rushing yards per game. Louisville is #1 in total defense and #1 in rushing defense nationally. Even the pass defense is #10. The Cardinals are +3 in turnovers with 18 takeaways. Louisville is averaging 53 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 46. The Cardinals are 62/147 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 30/129. Louisville has forced 28 sacks and allowed 26 this season. The Cardinals are 28/32 scoring in the red zone with 23 touchdowns and opponents are 14/20 with 6 touchdowns. Louisville has a pick six and a kick return for a touchdown, and has allowed 2 defensive or special teams touchdowns.
Louisville quarterback Will Gardner missed two games earlier in the season with a knee injury. He has thrown for 1,151 yards with 11 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Back-up Reggie Bonnafon has thrown for 593 yards with 2 passing touchdowns and an interception, plus two rushing touchdown. He started against against Wake Forest and Syracuse.
Running back Dominique Brown has 95 carries for 374 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 7 catches for 85 yards. Brandon Radcliff has 75 carries for 389 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus 7 catches for 85 yards. Michael Dyer has 50 carries for 238 yards and a touchdown, plus 2 catches. L.J. Scott has 24 carries for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 5 catches. Receiver James Quick has 30 catches for 451 yards and 3 touchdowns. Eli Rogers has 30 catches for 316 yards and 2 touchdowns. Gerald Christian has 22 catches for 256 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back Corvin Lamb has a kick return for a touchdown but is out for the season with a broken leg.
Florida State is 2-6 ATS after rushing for less than 100 yards, 3-9 after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 2-7 against teams with winning home records, 1-4 after failing to cover, 1-6 after a straight up loss, 1-7 overall, 0-7 after allowing 450 yards or more and 0-4 in road games.
Louisville is 5-1 ATS after allowing less than 20 points, 4-1 against teams with winning records, 16-5 in conference games, 5-2 after a straight up win and on fieldturf, 7-3 overall, and 1-4 against teams with winning road records.
Louisville is a better offensive team with Gardner back at the helm but I still don’t know if they have enough fire power to keep up with Florida State. Louisville wants to keep this game low-scoring with their top rated defense. I think Florida State survives another close game.