Florida State tries to bounce back from its second-worst loss in program history. To do so, it must change its defensive flaws from Week 3.
The Noles couldn’t do anything to stop Heisman favorite Lamar Jackson or the Louisville Cardinals’ offense. The sophomore threw for 216 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 13 of 20 passing, while rushing for 146 yards and four touchdowns on 17 attempts during the 63-20 victory.
Running back Brandon Radcliff recorded 118 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Wide receiver James Quick caught seven passes for 122 yards.
Jackson is a one of a kind player and Louisville is on a seemingly unstoppable roll. Surely FSU won’t absorb a similar result against South Florida, right?
There’s a very good chance that the Bulls will provide another tough matchup for the Seminoles, given the similarities of their starting quarterback, running back and wide receiver trio to Louisville.
Quarterback Quinton Flowers possesses comparable athletic ability to Jackson. I know, it may be borderline sacrilegious to compare anyone to Louisville’s sophomore sensation at this point, but it’s the truth.
Like Jackson, Flowers is capable of being dangerous on the ground and through the air. The junior may not be as accurate a passer or have the rushing numbers of the Cardinals’ star, but he’ll get the job done.
Flowers has thrown for 716 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception on 41 of 75 passing. He’s also rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 31 attempts. While those statistics aren’t going to make the junior a Heisman candidate, Flowers has done enough to lead USF to a 3-0 start.
USF tailback Marlon Mack is also comparable to Louisville senior Brandon Radcliff. Both backs weight 210 pounds — albeit Radcliff is more compact at 5-foot-9, three inches shorter than Mack — and were clocked running 4.5 40-yard dashes.
Mack rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns on nine attempts against Syracuse in Week 3. The junior could pose a challenge for FSU’s defense, which has allowed 177.67 rushing yards per game in 2016.
Like Radcliff, Mack excels sharing the backfield with an elusive, mobile quarterback. This allows him the opportunity to be a major threat on option plays and misdirections. Defenses need to account for both players, which is something FSU could struggle with Saturday.
USF wide receiver Rodney Adams also shares similarities to Louisville’s James Quick. Both players are 6-foot-1, have an average 40 of 4.5 and contribute as No. 1 receiving options in their respective offenses.
Like Quick, Adams is coming off a big performance in Week 3. The senior caught four passes for 67 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 34 yards and two scores on four attempts.
Adams is capable of producing in numerous ways and the Noles must be alert at all times. With FSU focusing on stopping Flowers’ mobility, Adams could take advantage of mismatches and break through coverage downfield for big plays.
FSU is currently a 7-point favorite according to Bovada. Many expect the Noles to have a bounce back performance Saturday coming off their worst loss in program history.
USF shouldn’t be overlooked. The Bulls have enough talent to challenge the Seminoles and stay within striking distance for all four quarters.