LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Things are starting to trend in the right direction for the Louisville football program. Following a pair of games against Ole Miss and Eastern Kentucky that can best be described as lackluster, the Cardinals turned it up a notch against UCF, pulling out a 42-35 victory in thrilling fashion.
The same can't exactly be said for Florida State. The Seminoles nearly pulled off a season-opening upset against then-No. 9 Notre Dame, falling 41-38 in overtime, but it has been downhill since. FSU followed that up by losing 20-17 on a walk-off Hail Mary to FCS Jacksonville State, then most recently fell 35-14 at Wake Forest in a game where the Noles committed six turnovers.
It's safe to say that the second year under head coach Mike Norvell is off to an inauspicious start, but that isn't stopping Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield from taking them any less seriously. In fact, FSU's desperation for a win is something he believes will make them hard to play against when the Cardinals travel to Tallahassee, Fla. for their ACC opener this weekend.
"We know their backs are against the walls, and we know that we're gonna get their best shot when we go down there this weekend," he said.
The main reason that Satterfield is not discounting the Seminoles, is that their roster has a plethora of athletic and talented players. Standouts include defensive end Jermaine Johnson, who already has 7.0 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks; running back Jashaun Corbin, who is averaging 7.6 yards per carry; and their quarterback tandem of McKenzie Milton and Jordan Travis.
"You watch the film, the guys are running around," he said. "They can run, they're fast, they're big, they're strong. Notre Dame really didn't run the ball on them at all."
But like Louisville last year, Satterfield believes that Florida State's biggest problem is with turnovers and penalties, and he's not far off. The Seminoles are currently tied for the second-worst turnover margin is FBS at minus-six, and are averaging nine penalties a game - including 11 against Jacksonville State.
Remove this one area, or at least cut down on some of these costly mistakes in various areas, and Florida State is most likely not staring at 0-3 on the season. Notre Dame and Jacksonville State were held to under 3.0 yards per carry, and the Noles actually averaged nearly a full yard per play more than Wake Forest.
"They had some costly penalties that really hurt them. If you take away some of those things, it's probably going to be a ball game," he said. "The big thing was just the turnovers and the mistakes, I think that was the biggest difference when you look at both of those games.”
While their win/loss record - as well as their overall stats and on-field play in general - don't necessarily reflect that of a good football team, Louisville knows the athletes that Florida State fields will still make it difficult to hammer out a successful game plan.
"We have to find ways to be able to move the ball. I felt like Wake Forest did a really nice job last week against them and moved the ball pretty well and scored enough points to win it," Satterfield said. "We'll see how the game plan goes, and obviously we got to find ways to run, throw, and do a little bit of both.”
Kickoff against FSU is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 25 at 3:30 p.m. EST.
(Photo of Cam Akers, Cornelius Sturghill: Melina Myers - USA TODAY Sports)
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