Louisville scores early en route to win over FSU
By Chuck Walsh
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville scored on its first five possessions of the game and held Florida State under 26 points scored for the first time in four games, as the Cardinals took a 48-16 win over the Seminoles at Cardinal Stadium.
Florida State limited Louisville to just 17 second-half points but was unable to recover from a 31-14 halftime deficit.
Florida State (2-4 overall, 1-4 ACC) was led by quarterback Jordan Travis who threw for 118 yards and one touchdown and three running backs – Lawrance Toafili, La’Damian Webb, Jashaun Corbin – who all rushed for more than 60 yards. Louisville (2-4 overall, 1-4 ACC) won its first ACC game of the season and defeated Florida State for just the third time since joining the ACC for the 2014 season.
Travis completed 14-of-32 passes for 141 yards and one touchdown in the third start of his career. He threw for one touchdown and ran for one touchdown – the fourth consecutive time he has accounted for both a running and a throwing touchdown in the same game.
Freshman quarterback Chubba Purdy made his first appearance as a Seminole as he entered the game in the fourth quarter in relief of Travis.
Linebacker Emmett Rice led the Seminoles with eight total tackles, one tackle for loss, a quarterback hurry and one pass break up.
“We got off to a good start early,” said Head Coach Mike Norvell. “We couldn’t consistently put together drives. Defensively, we gave up way too many explosives; some missed tackles, some explosive runs, and a couple of plays in man-to-man coverage.
“That’s a talented and explosive offense that we faced and we didn’t do much to slow them down today. On special teams – we needed that to be a big impact for us and we weren’t able to get our return game going. Not a performance that’s reflective of what we, what I expected, and obviously we’ve got a lot of work to do within our program. We have to continue to learn from these lessons, these opportunities.”
Florida State scored a touchdown on its first drive for the third time this season as Travis directed a seven-play, 65-yard yard drive following the opening kickoff. Travis completed one of three passes on the drive but it was a 30-yard catch and run by Camren McDonald that got the drive started. From there, it was Travis using his legs with two carries for 24 yards including a 15-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 Seminole lead.
Louisville answered on its first drive to tie the game at seven. The drive was highlighted by a 66-yard reception by Tutu Atwell on a pass over the middle from quarterback Malik Cunningham. Javian Hawkins scored on a nine-yard run to tie the game.
Following a Florida State punt, Louisville took a 14-7 lead as Hawkins scored his second rushing touchdown in the first quarter. He took a handoff, reversed field and found daylight for a touchdown 70-yards downfield. Hawkins’ rush was the longest of the season against Florida State’s defense.
Cunningham led Louisville on a third consecutive touchdown scoring drive to give the Cardinals a 21-7 lead with just under three minutes to go in the opening quarter. He found tight end Ean Pfeifer for a 13-yard score for his second receiving touchdown of the season.
Louisville upped its lead to 28-7 on a 58-yard pass from Cunningham to Hawkins – marking the fifth time this season the pair has hooked-up on a touchdown scoring pass – with 12:47 to play before halftime.
“We knew that this team (Louisville) had big-play capability,” said Norvell. “If you let them get into space there’s a chance that they could really make you pay. Obviously, that happened with some missed tackles. It did not allow us to play the way that we were capable of. We are a team that is a continued work in progress; we understand what it is to play winning football. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen flashes of it. We’ve seen moments.
“Right now we are not playing consistent enough to be able to sustain that. We’ve got to continue to work and learn lessons and it’s got to show up on game day.”
Florida State has a bye this weekend before hosting Pittsburgh on Nov. 7 in Doak Campbell Stadium.