LOUISVILLE, Ky. (seminoles.com) – Louisville scored on its first five possessions of the game and held Florida State under 26 points scored for the first time in four games as the Cardinals took a 48-16 win over the Seminoles at Cardinal Stadium. Florida State limited Louisville to just 17 second half points but was unable to recover from a 31-14 halftime deficit.
Florida State (2-4 overall, 1-4 ACC) was led by quarterback Jordan Travis who threw for 118 yards and one touchdown and three running backs – Lawrance Toafili, La’Damian Webb, Jashaun Corbin – who all rushed for more than 60 yards. Louisville (2-4 overall, 1-4 ACC) won its first ACC game of the season and defeated Florida State for just the third time since joining the ACC for the 2014 season.
Travis completed 14-of-32 passes for 141 yards and one touchdown in the third start of his career. He threw for one touchdown and ran for one touchdown – the fourth consecutive game he has accounted for both a running and a throwing touchdown in the same game.
Freshman quarterback Chubba Purdy made his first appearance as a Seminole as he entered the game in the fourth quarter in relief of Travis.
Linebacker Emmett Rice led the Seminoles with eight total tackles, one tackle for loss, a quarterback hurry and one pass break up.
“We got off to a good start early,” said Head Coach Mike Norvell. “We couldn’t consistently put together drives. Defensively, we gave up way too many explosives; some missed tackles, some explosive runs, and a couple of plays in man-to-man coverage. That’s a talented and explosive offense that we faced and we didn’t do much to slow them down today. On special teams – we needed that to be a big impact for us and we weren’t able to get our return game going. Not a performance that’s reflective of what we, what I expected, and obviously we’ve got a lot of work to do within our program. We have to continue to learn from these lessons, these opportunities.”
Florida State scored a touchdown on its first drive for the third time this season as Travis directed a 7-play, 65-yard yard drive following the opening kickoff. Travis completed one of three passes on the drive but it was a 30-yard catch and run by Camren McDonald that got the drive started. From there, it was Travis using his legs with two carries for 24 yards including a 15-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 Seminole lead.
Louisville answered on its first drive to tie the game at seven. The drive was highlighted by a 66-yard reception by Tutu Atwell on a pass over the middle from quarterback Malik Cunningham. Javian Hawkins scored on a nine-yard run to tie the game.
Following a Florida State punt, Louisville took a 14-7 lead as Hawkins scored his second rushing touchdown in the first quarter. He took a handoff, reversed field and found daylight for a touchdown 70-yards downfield. Hawkins’ rush was the longest of the season against Florida State’s defense.
Cunningham led Louisville on a third consecutive touchdown scoring drive to give the Cardinals a 21-7 lead with just under three minutes to go in the opening quarter. He found tight end Ean Pfeifer for a 13-yard score for his second receiving touchdown of the season.
Louisville upped its lead to 28-7 on a 58-yard pass from Cunningham to Hawkins – marking the fifth time this season the pair has hooked-up on a touchdown scoring pass – with 12:47 to play before halftime.
“We knew that this team (Louisville) had big-play capability,” said Norvell. “If you let them get into space there’s a chance that they could really make you pay. Obviously, that happened with some missed tackles. It did not allow us to play the way that we were capable of. We are a team that is a continued work in progress; we understand what it is to play winning football. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen flashes of it. We’ve seen moments. Right now we are not playing consistent enough to be able to sustain that. We’ve got to continue to work and learn lessons and it’s got to show up on game day.”
Florida State cut its deficit in half as Travis took to the air and found Ontaria Wilson on a 4-yard touchdown pass to pull the Seminoles to within 28-14. The touchdown catch was Wilson’s first of the season and second of his career. Travis marched the Seminoles 76 yards on 15 plays on a drive that culminated in a touchdown on a fourth down play. Webb totaled 35 yards on three rushing attempts on the scoring drive.
“It’s all about us,” said Travis. “We made a lot of mistakes today. We’ve got to correct them and get back to work. We’ve got two weeks to get back to work and get better. That’s what we have to do.
“We’ve got to get better. It’s not about Louisville or anybody that we play. It’s about us. We’ve got to get more consistent, starting from me. We have to get back to work this week. We’ve got to work on our confidence; I feel like our confidence isn’t there. We have to be consistent, that’s the main thing.”
Norvell has confidence in his quarterback.
“Jordan was a little banged up this last week,” said Norvell. “He did a good job of practicing and working through that. Obviously, as someone that is as dynamic with his legs as he is, and to be able to extend plays during those opportunities, we want him to be smart, we want him to get what he can get and keep that playmaking ability that he has. But that was part of today.
“We challenged our guys this week to go out there and push themselves to improve in all aspects. The same things that have shown up early in the season are still showing up. We’ve got to reevaluate the way that we are holding the guys to that standard of what we expect. Obviously, I didn’t have the team prepared to play to the level that they are capable of today. That goes on me and it will be corrected and we will continue to grow.”
Norvell continues to expect improvement.
“I want to see growth,” said Norvell. “I want to see application of lessons. At the end of the day, there are going to be mistakes that show up. When you have a point of emphasis on something, it needs to get corrected; you have something that you’ve seen and you’ve lived that keeps you from being successful and playing to your capabilities, there needs to be a change. I can tell you that we are working our tails off at practice every day and in meetings and addressing things individually and collectively as a group. In the moment, with all the right intentions, we have got to make sure that we are playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played and that’s with passion, that’s with discipline, that’s with unbelievable effort and we’ve got to trust the techniques and the fundamentals of what is being taught.”
Florida State is off next weekend with a scheduled bye-week and plays host Pittsburgh on November 7 in Doak Campbell Stadium.