The 13th ranked Florida State Seminoles (2-1, 0-1) will continue their road stretch on Saturday against the South Florida Bulls (3-0, 0-0) at 12:00 EST in Tampa.
Florida State vs South Florida Preview
Florida State had a tough outing against the third ranked Louisville Cardinals. Louisville dominated every phase of the game fueled by Lamar Jackson’s five touchdown performance. The 63-20 blowout was the largest margin of defeat for a Jimbo Fisher coached team. It was also the most points ever given up by a Florida State defense.
South Florida remained undefeated after beating Syracuse on the road 45-20. Junior running back, Marlon Mack, ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries. The Bulls erased a 17-0 deficit with a 28-point second quarter in the win. It was the second largest comeback in school history.
Florida State Wins If…
It all starts up front offensively for the Seminoles. Florida State’s offensive line was abysmal against Louisville. The Cardinals’ defense was able to set up shop in the Seminoles’ back field all game Saturday. As a result, Dalvin Cook was not able to get going, and Deondre Francois was under constant pressure. A repeat of that performance would be disastrous for Florida State. If the Seminoles can get some push up front and establish a running game early, they should be in good shape to get Francois going and the passing game going.
Defensively, the Seminoles have to neutralize the Bulls’ running game. Although he doesn’t have Lamar Jackson’s electrifying speed, Quinton Flowers is still a threat running the ball. DeMarcus Walker and company will have to keep and Mack contained if they want to avoid getting gashed like they did against Louisville.
South Florida Wins If…
South Florida needs to take a page out of Louisville’s game plan from Saturday. The Bulls need to get Flowers out in space early. If they can take advantage of linebackers over running plays, then the Bulls have a chance at same long gains that Jackson had. A heavy dose of Mack and Flowers will wear down the Seminoles defense and a four yard gain could turn in to 20 or more by the fourth quarter.
Defensively, the Bulls need to be aggressive on the line of scrimmage. Florida State’s offensive line has been its weakness so far this year, and South Florida needs to take advantage. If they can pressure Francois early and keep Cook from getting to the second level, the Bulls can effectively shut down Florida State’s offense just as Louisville did.
For the second straight week Florida State will be without safety Derwin James due to a torn meniscus. The Bulls will also be missing a safety as Malik Dixon was lost for the season two weeks ago to a shoulder injury.
Florida State should shake off Saturday’s blowout and come out on top. Walker should make good on his promise and set the tone that will lead Florida State to victory.
FSU 42 – USF 17