On a day that saw No. 10 Louisville host one of the biggest games in program history and honor the late Muhammad Ali, Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals floated like a butterfly and stung No. 3 Florida State (1-1) like a bee. Or perhaps a giant swarm of bees. It could have been called after one-half. Louisville blasted Florida State, 63-20, to lay claim to being the best team in the ACC this season after three weeks of play.
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson ran for 146 yards and four touchdowns and passed for 216 yards and another score in the win, continuing one of the most dominant starts college football has to offer. If the question was about what Jackson could do against a team that actually provides a defensive stat after piling up the stats in the first two weeks, then it is fair to say Jackson aced the exam. He should be expected to pile up some more big numbers next week against Marshall, as the Thundering Herd were seen giving up 55 points at home to Akron Saturday afternoon. Jackson’s top receiver, James Quick, led all players with 122 receiving yards, eight more than Florida State’s team combined for.
Louisville did a good job of keeping Dalvin Cook from being much of a factor. Florida State’s own Heisman-hopeful this season was limited to just 54 rushing yards on 16 attempts and one eight-yard reception. He did not score in this game. Freshman quarterback Deondre Francois showed he still has room to grow as well, completing seven of his 18 pass attempts with one touchdown, one interception and a fumble.
This was no fluke, like Apollo Creed being taken the distance by a scrappy Rocky Balboa. This was a rout from the start by a Louisville program that continues to grow and develop. The move to the ACC has been a great one for the entire athletics program, and Saturday’s decisive victory put the rest of the ACC on notice. Louisville is not messing around. After taking on Marshall next week, Louisville will prepare for their biggest road test of the season at Clemson. That game will provide a chance for the Cardinals to grab a firm hold of the ACC Atlantic Division or allow Florida State to stay alive before seeing the division slip away quickly.
And that’s the key for Florida State. There is still a really talented team in Tallahassee, and writing them off now would be unwise. Yes, this was the ugliest loss in Jimbo Fisher’s career, but next week offers a chance to bounce back. Florida State takes on USF in Tampa next week and then returns to ACC play against ACC Coastal competition with North Carolina and then Miami. This will be a key three-game set to see how the Seminoles respond after getting knocked around.