FSU Football: Deondre Francois Needs Help In Order To Beat Louisville

We know how great Deondre Francois has been at quarterback, but the rest of the team must step up for FSU football to beat Louisville this weekend.

Week Three of the college football season presents an excellent slate of games; the best of which may be the Florida State Seminoles’ game against the Louisville Cardinals in a battle of top-10 teams.

Even despite the news that safety Derwin James needed surgery and will miss this contest, the biggest storyline has been the pending matchup between the ‘Noles defense and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. For the 2016 season, he has 1,000 total yards through two games. However, the reverse matchup seems more interesting in that it will surely decide the outcome of the game.

The Louisville defense versus the Florida State offense is how this game is going to be decided. Ironically, the steadiest piece of the FSU offense has been freshman quarterback Deondre Francois – and the veteran skill players around him have been the ones lacking in impact. That will need to change for the Seminoles.

For Francois, the beginning to his career has been outstanding. It began with a comeback victory against Ole Miss. He then helped demolish an outclassed Charleston Southern that had suspended most of its starters in game two. Obviously the first outcome is the one to take pride in, as we had Ole Miss ranked #4 in our opponent power rankings. Though he started off slowly, Francois finished the game with more than 400 yards passing, over eight yards per attempt and a victory over a top-11 opponent.

It hasn’t been perfect for the young QB as he has made a couple of mistakes that could (or should) have resulted in turnovers, but that is bound to happen early in a freshman’s career. Instead, it has been the players around him that need to step up.

On the outside, Francois has moved the ball around somewhat out of necessity. Travis Rudolph was supposed to be the star and leader of the receiving corps, but he has had an uneven beginning to his season. His output against Charleston Southern helps to mask his rather ordinary performance in week one when Francois really needed him.

Rudolph caught one touchdown against Ole Miss but came up short a couple other times. He barely cracked 12 yards per catch. That isn’t ideal for a man that well exceeded 15 yards per catch as the go-to receiver in 2015.

With Kermit Whitfield and the younger guys also leaving something to be desired, Jesus Wilson helped pick up the slack against Ole Miss. However, he was then not much help the following week. There has been little in the way of consistency or productive depth for Francois’ receivers in the early going.

Outside of tight end Ryan Izzo, the leading underclassman is Nyqwan Murray with four measly catches. The entire roster outside of Rudolph has combined for two touchdown receptions. Again, it’s early, but these are going to be issues if they don’t get resolved against Louisville.

On the ground, Dalvin Cook has been one of the best backs in the country these past few years, but his start to 2016 has left fans wanting more. He’s arguably been more impactful in the passing game than on the ground.

For his standards, Cook was a non-factor against the Rebels, rushing for 91 yards at four yards per clip. Through the air was where he made his bones. FSU will need the old Cook on the ground against the Cardinals defense; the one who averaged 7.4 yards per rush last year.

Louisville had one of the 15 best rushing defenses in the nation a season ago. The year before, it was even better, and three years ago, Louisville was number one in the country. This has been a hang-your-hat-on aspect of the Cardinals for years now. Francois needs Cook to overcome that and get back on his Heisman track. After all, this is supposed to be Cook’s team with the rookie QB just doing his best not to mess things up…not the other way around.

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