Florida State (2-0) at Louisville (2-0)
When: Saturday, September 17th 2016
Where: Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY
Time: 12:00 ET | TV: ABC
A couple of Heisman candidates will meet Saturday in Louisville as the Cardinals host the Florida State Seminoles. In last week’s 52-8 Seminoles win over FCS foe Charleston Southern, Dalvin Cook recorded 92 yards of total offense in just over two quarters of action. The previous week, he amassed 192 against Ole Miss and had 223 total yards in last year’s meeting with Louisville. Junior WR Travis Rudolph burned Charleston Southern for seven catches, 105 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone, allowing him to earn the second ACC Receiver of the Week award of his career and become the fifth Seminole to win a conference player of the week award this season. Senior safety Nate Andrews, who has missed the first two games of his career with a calf injury, is expected to return this week. That’s great news for a defense that suffered a key injury last week in Derwin James. The All-American sophomore safety suffered a cartilage tear in his left knee. He held Louisville’s dynamic QB Lamar Jackson to just 32 yards rushing in last season’s 41-21 win.
The leading Heisman candidate is Jackson, who has been setting individual records and helping the Cardinals set team records. Jackson is third in the country in rushing (318 yards) and eighth in passing (697) while leading Louisville to an average of 66 points in routs over Charlotte and Syracuse. Jackson set an ACC record with 610 total yards of offense last week versus Syracuse and became the first player in FBS history to record over 400 yards passing (411) and 175 yards rushing (199) in the same game. Jackson and Brandon Radcliff (156) each topped 100 yards rushing, while receivers Jamari Staples (136) and James Quick (108) each went over 100 yards receiving, giving Louisville its first pair of 100-yard rushers and 100-yard receivers in the same game. The Cardinals are averaging a FBS-best 754 yards of total offense – 138 more than Baylor’s top-ranked offense from a season ago and 338 more than Louisville averaged in 2015. Today’s game will be a true test.
This game will be all about the big plays on offense. Florida State has allowed more 20-plus-yard pass plays than any team in a Power 5 conference (11), while Louisville leads the nation with the most such plays (15). Without James ‘spying’ Jackson like he did last year, this could be a long day for the Florida State defense. Expect an exciting game with the home team pulling it out in the end.
Pick: Louisville +1