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Even Louisville was surprised how FSU ‘laid down’ in 2016 blowout

New Florida Gators edge rusher Jonathan Greenard played in the 63-20 rout. “It was kind of shocking to us."
Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois (12) is sacked by Louisville linebacker Jonathan Greenard (58) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sep. 17, 2016, in Louisville Ky. Louisville won 63-20. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) [TIMOTHY D. EASLEY | AP]
Published Aug. 22

GAINESVILLE — When I talked with Gators edge rusher Jonathan Greenard for a story on his transition from Louisville to Florida, I had to ask him about one of the most memorable games I’ve ever covered.

His Cardinals’ 63-20 blowout win over Florida State in a top-10 showdown in 2016.

“Oh, man,” Greenard said. “I got my first sack against them. That was a hell of a game.”

I’m not sure I’d say that. I’d describe it as probably the most shocking result I’ve seen in my career.

I knew Louisville was good, and I knew quarterback Lamar Jackson was a rare talent. That was obvious the week before when he hurdled a Syracuse defender in one of the biggest highlights of his Heisman Trophy season. Greenard and his teammates saw the same thing.

“We knew the game before when we played Syracuse … we understood this guy was special,” Greenard said. “That’s when he hurdled over that guy and was like, all right, cool.

“The next game, we played Florida State. That whole week of practice, we were on it. We kind of knew going into the game they were going to have their hands full with us. They had no answer for him. When they didn’t have an answer for him, that’s when we knew we had it.”

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I figured Louisville had a chance to beat the Seminoles that day. The Cardinals were No. 10 in the country and playing one of their biggest home games in years, with ESPN’s College GameDay in town.

But I never envisioned a 43-point demolition in a game that somehow didn’t even feel that close. Turns out I’m in good company; Greenard was surprised, too.

“I knew we were going to beat them, but I didn’t know we were going to beat them that bad,” said Greenard, who finished with three tackles (1 ½ for a loss). “I think what it was is how they laid down. They just kind of let it happen, almost. It was kind of shocking to us. This is Florida State ball. We’ve never seen that.”

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