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Florida State and Louisville meet to headline the Friday action on the Week 3 schedule in a pivotal ACC matchup. The Seminoles return to action for the first time since their exciting Week 1 victory over LSU in New Orleans, and the week off has allowed Mike Norvell’s team, which officially got its 2022 season started in Week 0 with a win against Duquesne, to refocus on the goals ahead. In the immediate future, that means the program’s first 3-0 start since 2015.
Louisville did not have the same celebrations associated with Week as a sloppy performance at Syracuse led to a 31-7 loss. However, the Cardinals offered an encouraging response in Week 2 by beating UCF in the Bounce House. The win did not come with loads of offensive fireworks, a trademark many expected in 2022 with Malik Cunningham returning at quarterback, but instead saw the Cardinals defense come up big with the second-half stops needed to secure a 20-14 win.
With the ACC moving away from divisions in 2023, this also marks the final time that Florida State and Louisville will face off as Atlantic rivals. The Seminoles lead the all-time series 16-6, but the two programs have split their meetings as ACC foes 4-4 with the Cardinals claiming the last two wins. These two teams are evenly matched in 2022, and with of plenty of pressure on both coaches to meet or exceed expectations, coin-flip games like this are going to carry plenty of significance at the end of the year.
Florida State’s defensive front: One of the early highlights for Florida State has been the play of a defensive front that lost ACC Defensive Player of the Year Jermaine Johnson, but has remained as disruptive as any group in the conference so far. The Seminoles rank in the top 20 nationally in total defense (19th) and passing defense (16th), with transfer defensive end Jared Verse and linebacker Tatum Bethune ranking in the top 10 among ACC players in tackles for loss. The defense as a unit boasts elite playmakers at all three levels, but how disruptive Florida State can be around the line of scrimmage is going to be a key point in whether Cunningham and the Louisville offense can get rolling at home.
The QB battle should entertain: The ACC is loaded with game-changing quarterbacks, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle when there are only so many slots for preseason honors. Cunningham had a scoring streak of 30 games with a touchdown snapped against Syracuse, but bounced back with a 100-yard rushing performance and the go-ahead touchdown in the win against UCF. Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis is equally capable of making plays through the air and on the ground, especially in key moments. In the win against LSU, Travis was responsible for 10 of FSU’s 11 third-down conversions (eight passing, two rushing), and while he boasts just two passing touchdowns on the year, he ranks in the top 20 nationally with 9.7 yards per pass attempt.
A Lamar-ivesary of sorts: This is the six-year anniversary of the moment that Lamar Jackson truly broke out as a national star in what would be his Heisman Trophy-winning season. He did so in a Week 3 matchup against Florida State at home, just like this week’s showdown, though at the time both teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll. Jackson ran for 176 yards and four touchdowns while throwing for 216 yards and another score as the Cardinals blew out then-No. 2 Florida State 63-20. Friday night’s game may not have the top-10 stakes of that 2016 meeting, but it will have the attention of the college football nation as the first game of the Week 3 schedule.
Date: Friday, Sept. 16 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Cardinal Stadium — Louisville, Kentucky
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
One of the toughest challenges for Norvell has been to reverse the mentality of a program that has been perpetually reminded that it is falling short. This is Year 3 for Norvell, and with the LSU win there is a sense that maybe the 2022 Seminoles are starting to build some confidence in the idea that they belong on the big stage. Another night of Verse and Bethune being disruptive at the line of scrimmage, with just enough Travis, helps get the Seminoles to 3-0 for the first time since 2015. Prediction: Florida State -2
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