FSU searching for its first win of the season against Louisville

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Florida State hopes to rebound from a disappointing start when the team hosts Louisville on Saturday.

Things haven’t gone as planned for second-year coach Mike Norvell, who’s seen the Seminoles off to their worst start since 1976 after dropping their first three games. Beating the Cardinals, coming off a win over UCF last Friday, could turn things in the right direction.

To do so, FSU must eliminate self-inflicted wounds like turnovers and penalties while kick-starting an offense that is near the bottom of the ACC.

Where: Doak Campbell Stadium

When: 3:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN2

Radio: Seminole Sports Network/Sirius XM Ch. 103/194/956

Weather: 84 degrees, 6% percent rain chance

Favorite: Cardinals by 2

Coaches: Mike Norvell, second season, 3-9 (41-24 overall); Scott Satterfield, third season, 14-13 (61-29 overall).

Quick slant: This is the 21st meeting with FSU holding a 16-5 advantage. Louisville has won three of the last five games, including a 48-16 win at Cardinal Stadium on Oct. 24, 2020.

About Florida State (0-3, 0-1 ACC): FSU wants to avoid an 0-4 start for the first time since 1974. … Edge rusher Jermaine Johnson, a transfer from Georgia, leads the nation in sacks (5.0) and tackles for loss (7.0). The Seminoles already have 12 sacks, two more than they had all last season, and are third in the ACC with 25 tackles for loss. … Tailback Jashaun Corbin ranks fifth in the conference in rushing yards (280) and his average yards per attempt (7.57) is the second-best among ACC running backs with at least 35 carries. … Receiver Ontaria Wilson led the team with 91 yards receiving against Wake Forest. He leads the team in receiving yards (89) and is one of five Seminoles with a touchdown catch.

About Louisville (2-1, 0-0 ACC): A win would elevate Louisville to 3-1 for the first time since 2018. … Quarterback Malik Cunningham accounted for 364 yards and three touchdowns in the win over UCF. The third-year starter ranks fourth in the ACC in total offense (941 yards) and his 207 rushing yards are the second-most by a quarterback in the conference (Sam Howell, 251 yards). … Receiver Braden Smith threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to running back Trevion Cooley in the third quarter against the Knights. He became the first Cardinals receiver to throw a touchdown pass since Patrick Carter in 2007. … Defensive back Kei’Trel Clark ranks second in the ACC in interceptions (2) and has been one of the top targeted cornerbacks on the team.

Three things to watch:

1. FSU’s defensive front: The Seminoles have shown vast improvement when it comes to pressuring the quarterback. The team is second in the ACC in sacks (12) and tackles for loss (25), which is double the output through the first three games of last season. Louisville has allowed just four sacks and 14 tackles for loss. Much of that success can be attributed to Cunningham’s quick release and his scrambling to avoid a sack when pressured.

2. Reboot the ground game: After averaging 231 yards through the first two games, FSU ran into a speed bump against Wake Forest last week. The Seminoles managed just 92 yards rushing and failed to find the end zone for the first time. The 29 rushing attempts were well below the team’s season average of 42 and the lowest total under Norvell’s tenure.

3. Eliminate mistakes: Miscues have haunted the Seminoles, who have allowed a Football Bowl Subdivision-worst 10 turnovers. Quarterbacks McKenzie Milton and Jordan Travis have combined to throw an FBS-worst seven interceptions.Opponents have scored 31 points from those turnovers.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Matt Murschel at mmurschel@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter at @osmattmurschel.

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