It was a battle at the bottom of the ACC as 1-4 Louisville faced off against 2-3 Florida State.
The Cards reached down deep and unearthed their best performance of the season so far, clobbering the Seminoles 48-16.
Both teams went into last week in similar circumstances, only one win and facing top-10 opponents. But where the Cards had a close loss against Notre Dame, the Seminole beat a ranked North Carolina team for the first time in a while.
While the tackling last week against Notre Dame was better than it had been all season, it wasn’t so good early in the game. FSU quarterback Jordan Travis fumbled the ball but was able to recover it and run it 15-yards for a touchdown.
The rest was all Louisville.
The Cards scored the next 28 points. In the first quarter, Javian Hawkins had two-straight touchdown runs of nine and 70 yards.
Malik Cunningham added another with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Ean Pfeifer.
Early in the second quarter Cunningham threw another touchdown pass to Tutu Atwell for 58 yards to make the score 28-7.
The Seminoles finally struck back with six minutes left to go in the half with a four-yard touchdown pass. But Louisville kicked a field goal a few minutes later to go into halftime up 31-14.
Not done yet, Javian Hawkins ran for another touchdown midway through the third quarter. It was Hawkins first three-touchdown game. He was the last Cardinal to do so since Trey Smith against Wake Forest in 2018.
The Louisville offense wasn’t perfect. Cunningham was sacked in the endzone for a safety with two minutes left in the third quarter for FSU’s first points of the second half. But the Seminoles couldn’t get much out of it as the Cards intercepted the ball on the ensuing possession.
Louisville kicked another field goal seconds into the fourth quarter. After that coach Scott Satterfield swapped out Cunningham for Jawon “Puma” Pass.
Cunningham finished throwing 16-24 for 278 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed seven times for 40 yards.
FSU also changed quarterbacks, going with backup freshman and former Louisville commit Chubba Purdy.
He would go 0-9.
The Cards piled on another touchdown seven minutes later on a two-yard Tutu Atwell run to make the score 48-16.
Javian Hawkins ran for 174 yards on 16 carries with three touchdowns. Tutu Atwell also had a touchdown run.
Atwell was the leading receiver with three catches for 129 yards and a touchdown. Ean Pfeifer also caught a touchdown pass.
With the outlook suddenly much brighter than it was even 12 hours ago, the Cards face yet another ranked team as they host #19 Virginia Tech on October 31.<