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Florida State, seeking best start since ’15, visits Louisville

Sportsnaut
Sep 9, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Malik Cunningham (3) runs the ball during the first quarter against the UCF Knights at FBC Mortgage Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida State Seminoles are one win away from their best start since 2015.

OK, that’s just three wins, but they will try to make it happen Friday night when they travel to Louisville, Ky., to face the Cardinals. It’s the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for Florida State; Louisville already has one conference loss.

The Seminoles (2-0, 0-0 ACC) are coming off a bye week, which followed one of their biggest wins in recent memory when they beat LSU, 24-23, in New Orleans on Sept. 4. That, on the heels of a 47-7 rout of Duquesne, gave Florida State back-to-back victories to open a season for the first time in coach Mike Norvell’s three seasons in Tallahassee.

Florida State lost its first six September games under Norvell — two in 2020 and four in 2021.

Louisville (1-1, 0-1 ACC) will be playing its home opener after recording a 20-14 victory at UCF following a 31-7 season-opening loss at Syracuse. The Cardinals’ defense came up with three clutch stops in the final six minutes to hold off the Knights.

“I mean, you think about it, if you go into the Florida State game sitting there 0-2, I mean, that’s not going to be good at all,” Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said. “But to have some confidence to know, ‘Hey, we played well and the way we wanted and now we’ve got to go have a good week.'”

Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham has yet to throw a touchdown pass this season but ran for one last week against UCF, when he posted 121 yards rushing and 195 passing. Against Syracuse, Cunningham threw two interceptions and was held to only 34 yards rushing.

Last season against Florida State, Cunningham completed 25 of 39 passes for 264 yards and accounted for four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing) as the Cardinals built a 24-point lead and held on for a 31-23 victory.

“He’s such an electric player,” Norvell said. “He’s got a great arm, he can push the ball down the field, and very accurate in the vertical passing game.”

Florida State’s defense has allowed 256 yards per game, which ranks second in the ACC and 19th in the nation.

On offense, the Seminoles lost starting right tackle Bless Harris to a season-ending undisclosed injury. He is the second Florida State offensive lineman to be lost for the season after Kayden Lyles was injured during the preseason.

–Field Level Media