Matchup: #2 Florida State at #25 Louisville (Florida State -4, 50.5.5 at JustBet)
Date/Time: Thursday, October 29th @ 7:30 pm (EST)
Location: Louisville, KY (airing on ESPN)
Preview: The #2 ranked Florida State Seminoles travel to Louisville to take on the #25 ranked Louisville Cardinals from Papa John’s stadium in Louisville, Kentucky.
Florida State is coming off a narrow win over Notre Dame back in week 8. The Seminoles were fortunate to have an offensive pass interference penalty at the end of the game to sneak by with a 31–27 victory. It was the second time the Seminoles had been tested this season, also escaping with a 23–17 win in overtime over Clemson. Well, another Florida State player was in the news once again this week, yet to the surprise of many it wasn’t Jameis Winston. Instead it was running back Carlos Williams, who was investigated for domestic battery. The investigation has been dropped, but now he has been named as a person of interest in a drug deal robbery. His status on the football team is currently under review but he will be suiting up for Thursday’s game. It’s just another off field distraction that Florida State has dealt with this season.The Seminoles have not been as as impressive compared to last season, offensively they are averaging 316.7 passing yards per game yet they are struggling to run the ball effectively averaging just 125 yards per game on the ground. Their defense has been suspect, allowing 5.1 yards per play and 374.9 yards per game.
The Louisville Cardinals are currently 6–2 overall and 4–2 in conference play. Both of their losses have been on the road losing to Virginia 23–21, and Clemson 23–17. The Cardinals are tops in the nation in total defense allowing just 243.9 yards per game and 3.87 yards per play. Their run defense is exceptional allowing just 66.9 yards per game and 2.24 yards per rush attempt, they are indeed a stingy defensive unit. Their offense isn’t blowing teams away but they are well-balanced. Their offense is led by sophomore Will Gardner, who has completed 57% of his passes for 1151 yards and 11 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. Gardner missed two games due to injury but returned against Clemson and struggled throughout the contest. Standout wide receiver Davontae Parker made his return to the lineup after missing seven gamesdue to a foot fracture suffered in the preseason. Parker made an immediate impact against N.C. State, with nine receptions for 132 yards. They are loaded in the backfield with Brandon Radcliffe, Dominic Brown, and Michael Dyer, Who are all averaging at least 3.9 yards per carry or better.
If anyone has seen primetime games in Papa John’s stadium, you know that it can be a hostile crowd. This will be the best defense that Florida State has faced this season. Against Notre Dame, Jameis Winston was under constant pressure, and he’ll face more of it on Thursday night. The Cardinals ranked seventh in the nation in sacks averaging 3.6 per game. I don’t think Florida State will be able to move the football on a consistent basis. They’ve been struggling in the run game all season, and I don’t think they’ll have much success on Thursday night. If Louisville can force 3rd and long situations, I think the constant pressure of Louisville’s pass rush will make a significant difference. I think Louisville will have success running the ball, and will try to make this an ugly game. I think Will Gardner will be able to find his targets in passing situations, and I think it’s worth pointing out that Florida State is not getting to the quarterback this season, averaging a little over 1 1/2 sacks per game. Folks, I’ve said it for weeks now, Florida State is not as good as their ranking. They were outplayed in primetime in their own stadium the last time they took the field. I do believe that Notre Dame exposed them, and I think the Louisville defense will capitalize on Thursday night. It should’ve happened two weeks ago, and it will happen on Thursday night, Florida State will not among the unbeaten when all is said and done. Louisville wins outright on Thursday night.
2014 Week 10 NCAA Football Pick: Louisville +4, Under 50.5
Florida State at Louisville Score Prediction: Louisville 24 – Florida State 23