Rock bottom. The only two words I can think of to describe where Florida State football stands after a hideous 0-3 start to the season. Many fans have called it quits on this team already, and they’ve had good reason. Now matched up against a Louisville team who boat raced the ‘Noles 48-16 just a year ago, things don’t look favorable for Florida State. With a young team and long odds, how do they overcome such a sluggish start and show up on Saturday?
Well, why can’t they?
1. Travis Jay and Jarvis Brownlee bounce back big this week and limit the Cardinals to under 200 yards passing.
The early season hasn’t been nice to the ‘Noles secondary. Through three games Florida State has allowed 289 passing yards per game, which ranks 116th in the country. And that has come against the likes of Notre Dame, Jacksonville State, and Wake Forest. Not programs that scream “high powered offense” to Florida State fans… or really anybody at all. And Jarvis Brownlee and Travis Jay have both been large factors in why these passing numbers have been so high. But if there’s one thing we’ve seen since the beginning of this season, these guys don’t quit.
That ‘next rep’ mentality will pay off this Saturday for the two young cornerbacks. And I expect each of them to contain the guy in front of them. With Brownlee and Jay at the top of their games and the help of the pass rush, Malik Cunningham will have a rough day in Doak. Making this game more favorable for the ‘Noles than most expect.
2. Ontaria (Pokey) Wilson has his first 100 yard game of the season.
Florida State’s passing game has been dreadful this season. A mix of bad offensive line play and an inability to get open on the perimeter doesn’t typically add up to many yards through the air. And it hasn’t for the ‘Noles, who rank 107th nationally with 179 passing yards per game. One promising thing for the ‘Noles from last week was Wilson’s effort. The redshirt Junior WR put up 91 yards receiving and added a touchdown. We know that head coach Mike Norvell loves to throw the ball. But this season it’s been his rushing attack getting most of the offensive work done. Assuming that we see Florida State operate mainly from the run game, Norvell could throw in some wrinkles to get the ball moving through the air. And what better way to do it than to one of your best receivers on the roster. Expect a big day out of Pokey!
3. Florida State wins.
I know this doesn’t sound very bold considering the ‘Noles are just 1.5 point underdogs but those of you reading this article are likely expecting another loss for Florida State on Saturday. As simple as beating a bad Louisville team at home sounds, this Florida State team just doesn’t know how to win yet. Winning is learned. When the effort is there from the staff and the players, it will lead to wins, eventually.
That first victory will come on Saturday. These players haven’t given up yet. They’re still out there fighting and competing every down. You can see that by watching these games. To win this week, Mike Norvell needs to go into Saturday with a game plan, stick to it, and execute it.
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