Florida St.-Louisville Preview

Before preparing for this Thursday night’s trip to Louisville, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher refuted a report that top running back Karlos Williams may be suspended.

Since Fisher made that statement, it has been confirmed that Williams is being investigated for an alleged domestic battery incident – and the timing probably isn’t ideal since Jameis Winston and the No. 2 Seminoles will face the nation’s best defense.

It appears Williams will be available for Florida State as it tries to stretch the nation’s longest win streak to 24 games.

Fisher was asked about Williams during his press conference Friday in advance of this contest.

"There’s another false report, and that’s amazing how things happen here," Fisher said at the time. "Whoever’s got sources and whoever’s got rumors needs to check who they are talking to ’cause that is about as far from the truth as there is. Amazing isn’t it?"

On Monday, the Tallahassee Police Department confirmed an investigation was taking place, though the following day, an attorney representing the woman claims she never filed the complaint and wants everything to "blow over." Since the Tallahassee Police Department does not need cooperation from a possible victim, it said the investigation is still open.

Williams, who has been neither charged or arrested, leads the Seminoles with 82 carries, 378 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Fisher said he is still eligible to play, and the school has not said if it will conduct its own investigation for potential student code violations.

The incident is nothing new for a program that has had to deflect negative attention away from Winston, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner who has had multiple off-field issues.

On the field, Winston may face his sternest test against Louisville (6-2, 4-2 ACC), which leads the nation in total defense (245.8 yards per game) and rushing defense (68.8 ypg) and is second in interceptions (15).

"They’re one of the top defenses in the country," Fisher said. "They play the run well, play the pass. Create a lot of turnovers."

Florida State (7-0, 4-0) will play for the first time since its thrilling 31-27 win over then-No. 5 Notre Dame on Oct. 18. Williams scored the winning touchdown with 7:39 left and Winston completed 23 of 31 passes for 273 yards with two scores.

The victory created a seemingly clear path to the playoffs for the Seminoles, who have no ranked teams left on their schedule.

”We don’t have anything to prove to anybody,” said Winston, who is third in the nation in completion percentage at 70.6. ”We’ve just got to keep playing and hopefully things will go our way. But one thing we are consistently proving is that we are winners."

The quarterback will no doubt target ACC leading receiver Rashad Greene, who has 791 yards and topped 100 for the fifth time with 108 against the Fighting Irish.

He won’t be the only top receiver on the field. Louisville’s DeVante Parker had nine catches for 132 yards in a 30-18 win over North Carolina State on Oct. 18 in his season debut after being out with a left toe injury.

"It’s great to have him back," quarterback Will Gardner told Louisville’s official website. "I think it puts a lot of pressure on the defense to have him back there. He is one of the best wide receivers in the country and it gave us a big lift."

Louisville also features a major talent in former Auburn star Michael Dyer, who rushed for a season-high 173 yards against the Wolfpack in his first start.

Parker and Dyer will be major factors against a Seminoles’ defense has struggled on third down, allowing opponents to convert at 43.4 percent. That’s in stark contrast to the Cardinals, who are second in the nation at 24.0.

Gardner started for the first time in four games against N.C. State. He missed two games due to a knee injury with freshman Reggie Bonnafon starting the last three.

Louisville has won 16 of its last 18 at home, where it has won 22 in a row with Bobby Petrino as coach.

"This is the type of games you like to play in and prepare for," Petrino said. "So we’re going to have a good time in doing it and excited that they’re coming into our house to play."