Florida State was rolling towards a College Football Playoff berth, but that train has been derailed a bit after an injury to Their starting quarterback. Now, reports say the Seminoles may be down to their third-string quarterback tonight. Louisville, on the other hand, was rolling along until they hit an obstacle in the Kentucky Wildcats. This game has many storylines to follow and many unanswered questions to answer.
Florida State showed its true colors without Travis on Saturday against Florida, averaging just 3.9 yards per play against their front seven and struggling to run the ball effectively.
Before Saturday, Rodemaker had only ever started one game during his time at Florida State (against Jacksonville State in 2020), and it showed why he had been used as a backup. Rodemaker completed 12 for 25 pass attempts for 134 yards without a touchdown pass, resulting in a 68.0 PFF passing grade and -1.49 EPA on 25 pass attempts. Against Florida, he took a significant hit, which caused him toleave, but he did return from being out and finished the game, but now his status for Saturday remains a “game-time decision”.
If Rodemaker cannot play, Florida State must rely on freshman Brock Glenn, who has played limited snaps this season.
Florida State was most concerned by their subpar performance on the ground. Although Trey Benson scored three touchdowns on foot, Florida State only averaged 2.9 yards per carry on average.
That is a severe problem given their ineffective rushing attack this season – ranking outside the top 50 for Rushing Success Rate, Offensive Line Yards, and EPA/Rush respectively.
They rely heavily on big plays on the ground to stay competitive, which worked when Travis could come through with big plays with his arm. However, Florida State could face serious difficulty against Louisville without his playmaking capabilities.
On the other hand, Florida State’s defense has been outstanding this season, particularly against passing attacks, which should prove pivotal in this game. They rank seventh for Passing Success Rate Allowed while first in Passing Explosivity Allowed.
Not only do the Noles possess top-tier talent in their secondary, they are also proven experts at applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks, possessing one of the ten highest pressure rates nationwide.
Brohm’s offense has been impressive this season, with Jack Plummer at quarterback.
The Cardinals rank 11th in Passing Success Rate thanks to Plummer’s proficiency in the short passing game. Mike Leach once noted that the Air Raid offense relies heavily on short passes as an extension of their running attack; when teams can consistently hit receivers for 5-6 yard gains at an astoundingly high percentage rate, ground play becomes less necessary.
Louisville quarterback Jack Plummer has not disgraced himself this season. More than 70 of his pass attempts have gone no further than 10 yards into the air, and his adjusted completion percentage on those throws stands at almost 90%.
Plummer excels at using short passes to draw in the secondary closer, so his offense can eventually hit them over the top with overthrows of 10 yards or greater, averaging 12.2 yards per attempt and possessing a PFF passing grade of 90.6.
Brohm’s “Air Raid” at Louisville differs slightly in that the Cardinals run 56.7% of their offensive plays using Jawhar Jordan and Isaac Guerendo as running backs, providing the team with an elite running back combination.
Both backs are averaging more than six yards per carry and have helped Louisville reach a top-20 rank in Rushing Success Rate.
I cannot get past the fact that Jordan Travis is out, and now the Noles may be stuck playing with an inexperienced third-string quarterback. It’s a shame because the Noles are a playoff team with Travis. Without Travis, take Louisville and the points. Louisville 24 Florida State 20.
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