Keys to the game: FSU at LOU

Written by: @NorvellCentral

LOUISVILLE SECURED THE VICTORY

Louisville was able to secure their first victory of the 2022 season this past Friday where they defeated the UCF Knights by a score of 20-14 in the hostile FBC Mortgage Stadium. The Knights suffered just their third loss in the past 34 games in the stadium due to the efforts of Louisville dual-threat QB Malik Cunningham who finished with 322 total yards and one touchdown.

 

FAMILIARITY WITH CUNNINGHAM

Florida State is very familiar with Cunningham’s dual-threat ability as he accumulated 320 total yards and four total touchdowns as the Seminoles fell to the Cardinals at home by a score of 31-23.

Fast forward to this season, the Seminoles currently possess a 2-0 record after their thrilling victory against LSU Tigers. There hasn’t been this much excitement to the program since the 2016 offseason. However, the excitement has to be tempered given that Florida State will be heading into a road environment where they were trounced by a score of 48-16 (after defeating then-ranked No. 5 North Carolina Tar Heels at home the week before). As we approach the matchup this Friday, here are some keys to the game that should be monitored:

 

CONTAINING QB MALIK CUNNINGHAM

During Monday’s media session, former UCF/current FSU linebacker transfer Tatum Bethune discussed QB Malik Cunningham: “Malik is a good quarterback. He knows how to extend plays and he’s very athletic. We just got to get him on the ground. If you get him on the ground, he’s not going to be able to do any plays. When he comes at you, he knows how to make guys miss. I know he is going to pull the ball a lot and tuck it and run. That’s going to be the biggest thing to get him on the ground, especially on third down. He’s the playmaker of the team, we have to stop him.”

Florida State’s defense understands the importance of being able to contain the talented quarterback.Unfortunately, the Seminoles allowed LSU QB Jayden Daniels to scramble for 114 yards in their last matchup. The defenders understand that you cannot allow a player such as Cunningham to see green grass in front of him because he can take it the distance.

 

AVOIDING THE BYE WEEK HANGOVER

After Florida State defeated the LSU Tigers, they had a much-needed bye week the following week. Head football coach Mike Norvell was clearly upset with the outcome of last Wednesday’s practice by stating the following: “I thought it was an average practice. It was the first average practice we’ve had since we started up. It wasn’t good enough in regards to what the intensity needs to be and ultimately it is a choice that we have to make in what we want to be. We’ll continue to respond to that and see how they respond tomorrow but I don’t think that was a good enough work day for what we needed to accomplish and needed to be done.”

Florida State linebacker Tatum Bethune was asked about the average practice in Monday’s media session: “He talked to us about it. I felt like, in our minds, we had a bye week. It wasn’t being big-headed or anything. We just had a bye week and felt like it was time to chill. He explained to us that it wasn’t and we have to have a chip on our shoulder at all times no matter what.”

This is refreshing to hear from a Florida State football team that has struggled with responding to success over the past five seasons. It finally seems as though the players and coaching staff are holding each other accountable to get 1% better each and every day.

 

BEING ABLE TO PROTECT QB JORDAN TRAVIS

The Seminoles have done a tremendous job in protecting QB Jordan Travis through the first two games of the season where they have only allowed one sack and three tackles for loss. However, the depth at offensive line will likely be tested in the near future given that key contributors Kayden Lyles and Bless Harris went down with season-ending injuries. The Seminoles brought in ten new faces along the offensive line via recruiting and the transfer portal. Can Florida State depend on less-experienced players such as Thomas Shrader, Bryson Estes and Julian Armella? 

 

Leave a Comment

Latest News