Blanton Creque’s first game-winning field goal at any level of football came at the opportune time for Louisville.
The sophomore’s 34-yard field goal with five seconds remaining lifted the Cardinals to an emotional 31-28 win over Florida State on Saturday.
After the Seminoles suffered their third consecutive home loss to fall to 2-4 (2-3 ACC) on the season, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher got into a brief, heated exchange with a fan.
With the game tied at 28, the Cardinals (5-3, 2-3 ACC) took over on their own 24 with 2:05 remaining after Henry Famurewa recovered a fumble by FSU freshman quarterback James Blackman. Louisville then drove 59 yards in eight plays before Creque’s kick.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever had a kick to win or tie a game (late). I just tried to treat it like any other kick,” Creque said. “We needed that win bad. It’s been a rough week.”
Not only is it Louisville’s first win at Doak Campbell Stadium since 1952, snapping a nine-game losing streak here, but it caps an emotional week for the school’s athletic program after the firings of athletic director Tom Jurich and basketball coach Rick Pitino.
“This was very huge. We needed this to boost our momentum,” said quarterback Lamar Jackson, the former Boynton Beach High star and Heisman winner who had 334 yards of total offense and accounted for two touchdowns.
Florida State trailed 28-14 going into the fourth quarter before rallying on a pair of Nyqwan Murray touchdowns. The junior recovered a Patrick fumble in the end zone to bring the Seminoles within a TD and then tied it when he hauled in a 20-yard pass from Blackman with 8:58 remaining.
It was not enough, though, as the Seminoles’ nightmare season continues. After being ranked third in the AP Preseason Poll, FSU has dropped its first three home games for the first time since 1974 and is off to its worst start since Bobby Bowden’s final season in 2009.
Even more important is that the Seminoles are in danger of missing a bowl game for the first time since 1982.
“It was a hurt locker room because they knew they were that close, but you play a guy like Louisville, Bobby (Petrino) and Lamar and those guys when you got them down you can’t let them up,” Fisher said.
Jackson passed for a season-low 156 yards — he was 13 of 21 with a touchdown — but the Cardinals were very effective on the ground with 293 yards and averaging 6.7 yards per carry. Jackson led the way with 178 yards on 23 carries with a TD while Reggie Bonnafon (16 carries, 74 yards) and Dae Williams also ran for scores.
“You know how much I like the passing game, but I thought the best way to win this game is to really run the ball at them,” Petrino said.
Blackman was 16 of 28 for 248 yards with two touchdowns but the former Glades Central standout also committed all three FSU turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble). Cam Akers was the leading rusher with 16 carries for 75 yards and Jacques Patrick had 70 yards on 14 carries. Murray had four receptions for 95 yards.
After the game, Fisher was walking into the team tunnel when a fan reportedly yelled at Fisher to make changes to his coaching staff. Fisher reportedly responded by telling the fan to come down to the field to talk to him.
“There’s no reason to be nasty,” Fisher told Warchant.com after the game. “I shouldn’t have said something. But at the same time, defending players and the people you’re with … I’m in charge of them. I love them. Like a father. When they say something to your family, you take up for ‘em.”
The Seminoles have games remaining against Syracuse, Clemson and Florida, which makes their path to getting bowl eligible difficult.
“Everybody’s not really used to this, even the older guys,” tight end Ryan Izzo said. “I’ve never been through this since I’ve been here. So we’ve got to keep reinforcing that we’ve still got something left to play for.”
The Seminoles are at Boston College on Friday. FSU has won seven straight in the series.
Fisher urged FSU fans to remain supportive of his team.
“Are you gonna be a loyal fan or not?” Fisher told Warchant.com. “Keep fighting with us. We ain’t quitting on you. Please don’t quit on us.”