Jacob’s lock: Javian Hawkins rushes for over 100-yards
There’s no doubt about it, Javian Hawkins has been far and above the most productive player on the field for Scott Satterfield and the Louisville football program through three games.
All offseason everyone thought that Hassan Hall would be the lead running back for the Cardinals after a dazzling finish to the 2018 season. While Hall has played a big role in the offense, Hawkins has been the workhorse back for Norval McKenzie and Scott Satterfield.
As just a redshirt freshman, Hawkins currently stands as the nation’s 11th best running back in terms of total yards, totaling 338 on 49 attempts with one touchdown. Combined with Hall and the Louisville quarterback position, the Cards currently check-in as the 14th most potent total rushing attack in the country.
Through three games, Hawkins has gone for 100-plus yards on two occasions, including 122 yards against no. 9 ranked Notre Dame, while running for 93 yards against Western Kentucky along with a touchdown. Against Florida State, I expect the trend of 100 yards or more in a game to continue for Hawkins, helping the Cardinals eventually overcoming the 1-2 Seminoles.
Florida State currently has the nation’s 85th best rushing defense, giving up over 170 yards per game thus far, doing so against backs that don’t have the same statistical performance through three weeks as Hawkins.
Louisville’s offensive line has proven to be able to overpower opposing defensive lines while creating large running lanes for the speedy Hawkins to run through, and he’s taken advantage in a big way.
While the interior rush for Florida State is extremely impressive, look for Satterfield to mix things up, going inside and outside with running plays in an attempt to cause some confusion to a defense that’s given up an average over 485 total yards per game.
Presley’s bold prediction: Alex Hornibrook plays, and Louisville takes advantage
To our surprise, news surfaced this week that graduate transfer quarterback Alex Hornibrook is going to play at some point this week against Louisville.
Listening to those around the FSU program talk about their recent quarterback play, many are disappointed in starter James Blackman. However, a look at the numbers and a simple eye test tell a different story from the outside looking in.
Blackman has recorded 9 touchdowns to only two interceptions in the ‘Noles’ first three games, putting up 843 yards and completing 68 percent of his passes. By nearly every metric, he is much improved from his first two seasons and should be seen as one of the team’s lone bright spots.
Florida State fans, and apparently their staff, think a little differently. Though he won’t start quite yet, it seems like Hornibrook is going to be involved in some sort of capacity.
The former Wisconsin Badger was 26-6 as a starter, including an impressive game in Wisconsin’s 2017 Orange Bowl victory. He also struggled with injuries last season and bowed out of the Wisconsin quarterback situation in search of a program where he had a good chance of playing time.
Hornibrook didn’t win the starting job in Tallahassee for a reason. Blackman was coming off of a season where he played sparingly behind Deondre Francois, and clearly he isn’t making such significant progressions that he’s entrenched as the starter. This seems indicative that Hornibrook just isn’t that impressive.
The southpaw was adequate for a Wisconsin team that loved to run the ball and bleed the clock. That’s exactly what he loves to do. He is a prototypical Big Ten quarterback.
Florida State is not that. They run a high-paced hurry up offense and love getting the ball in the hands of running back Cam Akers and setting up long chunk plays to their athletic wide receivers. That’s perfect for Blackman who, in my assessment, has performed as good as one could have hoped for to this point.
Sure Blackman missed throws late against Virginia, but he seems like the better fit.
Hornibrook is not a threat to run. He has recorded two games with positive rushing yards (2 yards vs Northwestern in 2016, and 4 yards against BYU last year) in 35 career games played.
When Hornibrook gets in, look for Louisville to go on the attack defensively against a guy who hasn’t seen significant snaps since November 24th of last year, and was responsible for 9 interceptions in his last four games.