Recap: Offensive Explosion Powers Louisville To Victory Over Florida State

Louisville’s offense set new season highs with 48 points and 569 total yards, including 31 points in the first half, as the Cardinals (2-4, 1-4 ACC) secured their first win in ACC play with a 48-16 win over Florida State (2-4, 1-4).

The Louisville offense put on a cathartic performance on Saturday afternoon, who came into the game fresh off a 12-7 loss to then fifth-ranked Notre Dame. The 48 points and 569 total yards were both season highs for the Cardinals, as well as its 9.3 yards per play.

Though it did have to wait until Florida State scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game. Jordan Travis completed a 30-yard pass to Camren McDonald on the first play, then kept the drive going with a 16-yard run around the weak side of Louisville’s defense on third-and-four. Travis would end up rushing for a 15-yard touchdown to close the drive, on a play that saw him fumble the ball, pick it up and evade multiple defenders en route to the end zone.

Big plays would help catapult Louisville to 28 unanswered points in the first half. A 66-yard pass from Malik Cunningham to Tutu Atwell led to a nine yard touchdown run by Javian Hawkins. Hawkins would score again on the following drive, a 70-yard run on a one-play drive for the Cardinals.

Back-to-back penalties by Florida State pushed Louisville into FSU territory on the Cardinals next drive. A 35-yard run by Cunningham was another big play that led to a Louisville touchdown, as Cunningham later connected on a 13-yard scoring pass to Ian Pfeifer.

Cunningham once again provided a huge play for the Cardinals on the next drive, throwing a 58-yard touchdown pass to Atwell on second-and-24 to give Louisville a 28-7 lead with 12:47 left in the second quarter.

Florida State cut into the deficit on the following drive, with Travis scoring his second touchdown on a four-yard pass to Ontaria Wilson on fourth-and-goal.

Louisville pushed their lead to 31-14 at halftime after James Turner hit a 28-yard field goal. Turner’s 52-yard field goal at the end of the half was blocked, but the Cardinals made it through the first half without punting.

However, Louisville was not as fortunate in the second half. The offense went three-and-out on their opening drive, but the defense held the Seminoles to a three-and-out afterwards.

Louisville’s defensive stop was rewarded with the Cardinals scoring another touchdown. A 33-yard run by Hawkins on third-and-one put Louisville in a goal-to-go situation, with the running back finishing off the drive with a ten yard scoring run.

Florida State marched down the field and got to a fourth-and-goal situation inside the one-yard line, but Louisville’s defense stopped Jordan Travis short of the goal line on the QB sneak.

Though the Seminoles got a safety on Louisville’s subsequent drive, the Louisville defense stood their ground with an interception by Jack Fagot. The second interception of Louisville’s season led to a 39-yard field goal by Turner, extending the lead to 41-16.

Another fourth down stop by the Louisville defense gave the Cardinals another scoring drive, this time with Jawon Pass at quarterback. The senior piloted a five play, 55-yard drive that ended with a two-yard rushing touchdown by Atwell. Much like the previous drives, this one was boosted by another big play; Maurice Burkley’s 41-yard run down the right side put Louisville inside Florida State territory

The 48 points and 569 total yards by Louisville were both season highs for the team, along with averaging 9.3 yards per play. The big play ability of the Louisville offense was on full display, as the Cardinals had seven plays of over 30 yards, most leading to a Louisville score. Louisville’s balanced attack kept Florida State’s defense on their heels all afternoon, with 278 yards passing and 291 rushing. Malik Cunningham completed 16-of-24 passes for 278 yards with two touchdowns, adding 40 yards on seven carries. Javian Hawkins had a season high 174 yards with three touchdowns, averaging 10.9 yards per carry. Tutu Atwell also netted a season high with 129 yards on three catches, scoring two total touchdowns.

Louisville’s defense set a new school record with 12 pass breakups, three by Anthony Johnson. C.J. Avery had a solid outing with 12 tackles, one sack and two PBUs. Kei’Trel Clark and Chandler Jones each had two PBUs.

Florida State had 406 total yards with 265 rushing, but was hindered by a passing game that completed just 34.1% of its passes as a team. Former Louisville quarterback Jordan Travis went 14-of-32 for 141 yards and two total touchdowns (one passing, one rushing), with former Louisville commit Chubba Purdy going 0-for-9 in garbage time. Lawrance Toafili (76 yards) and La’Damian Webb (74) averaged over eight yards per carry, with Jashaun Corbin (61) averaging 6.1. Ontaria Wilson had five receptions for 27 yards and a touchdown, with Camren McDonald leading the team in receiving yards (48).

Louisville now looks forward to a Halloween afternoon meeting with 19th-ranked Virginia Tech next week. The Cardinals and Hokies play at 4:00 p.m. ET inside Cardinal Stadium, and on the television at ACC Network.

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