By Ryan Decker
Atlantic Coast Conference beware: Louisville is good.
All teams with National Championship aspirations beware: Louisville is good.
The Cardinals are really good.
Not many teams have beaten Florida State over the past few years. Only six teams have managed to defeat the Seminoles since the start of the 2012 season.
None of the losses that FSU has suffered over the past few regular seasons have been by two touchdowns or more.
Louisville upset the Seminoles by a little more than two touchdowns Saturday. The Cardinals won by six touchdowns.
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, like the rest of his team, is the real deal.
Jackson threw for 216 yards, ran for 146 more on 17 carries, and found the end zone five times – one through the air and four on the ground.
Jackson’s five touchdowns on Saturday took his season total to 18.
Eighteen touchdowns in three games.
Louisville has scored 60+ points in each of its first three games.
Sure games one and two were against lesser opponents in Charlotte and Syracuse, but we’ve already seen top teams struggle mightily with unranked opponents.
If there were questions, however, about Louisville’s legitimacy, they were all answered on Saturday.
Florida St., a team that opened the season beating a quality opponent in Ole Miss and followed with an easy win over Charleston Southern a week ago, looked just flat out out-matched against Jackson and company.
Jimbo Fisher’s team seemed to be behind from the opening kick.
Louisville scored at least 14 points in every quarter. Meanwhile, the Seminoles’ young quarterback, Deondre Francois, who appeared very poised the first two weeks, seemed to play with his tail between his legs in Louisville.
Francois was held to just 7 for 18 on passing attempts and barely eclipsed 100 yards throwing by the physical Louisville defense.
Dalvin Cook, a very capable runner – one of the top running backs in the country –, was held to just 54 rushing yards on 16 carries.
Bobby Petrino’s defense held the Seminoles to under 300 yards of offense and to an abysmal 2 of 13 on third down, while also forcing two turnovers.
James Hearns has 3.5 sacks this year.
Five different players, including Hearns, registered sacks Saturday against FSU, and nine players combined for nine tackles for loss in the game.
Thus far this season, Louisville’s balanced offensive attack has already passed and rushed for 1,000 yards apiece. At the same time, Louisville’s defense has limited the opposition to 906 total yards.
Simply put, for every one yard the defense allows, the offense gains two right back.
Louisville’s offense has been in the red zone three times as much as their opponents.
As scary as the Cardinals have looked already, they have chances to improve their resume over the next few weeks.
Louisville gets what should be an easy matchup against Marshall, which lost to Akron by 27 on Saturday, and then will look at back-to-back matchups against quality opponents. Seventy-plus points, once again, is not out of the question.
October 1 the Cardinals head to Death Valley to take on No. 5 Clemson, two years after Louisville nearly knocked off the Tigers in 2014.
If Louisville can escape with a victory, Petrino’s team would be in the driver’s seat in the ACC.
It shouldn’t be a shock if Louisville were to take down Dabo and the Tigers in two weeks.
Jackson is that good. Louisville is that good.