U of L never gave up. Charlie Strong’s squads never do, even when playing poorly. And, the Cards displayed yet again that they are not quite ready for prime time. Which we all knew. But we hoped for a signature finish to the season anyway.
It was not to be. The team playing a shade better last night won.
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The Wolfpack’s opening drive of the second half was the game in microcosm.
Eight penalties, just about evenly divided between the two squads. The Cards’ infractions were more costly.
Louisville had NC State stopped on a third and 12 at its own 34. The drive continued because of a Cardinal pass interference away from the play.
Louisville had NC State stopped, and punting on fourth and & 10 from its own 47. The drive continued because a Cardinal ran into the punter.
Louisville had NC State stopped on a fourth and 13 in Cardinal territory. The drive continued when the Cardinals got an unnecessary roughness call out of bounds. Yes, of course, it was a bad call, but it was typical of how the young, rusty and immature Cardinals self destructed.
NC State got only 3 for a two TD lead, but it was obvious the game was theirs. U of L didn’t touch the ball on offense until the 3d quarter was halfway done. Check.
As soon as Louisville got the ball back, David Amerson, the country’s premier interceptor, had a pick six. Check Mate.
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For all his positives, Charlie Strong showed he’s still green as a head coach. Of course, he relied on his assistants, but there was some questionable strategy and naive play calling, which, if different, might — might being the operative word — have changed the outcome. Doubtful though.
On the plus side, Dominique Brown ran harder than during the regular season.
On the negative side, Eli Rogers, despite his team-leading 7 catches, didn’t quite go full out all the time. Especially on that Amerson pick six, when the DB simply outworked Rogers for the ball.
On the plus side, Teddy Bridgewater showed he will be a force for the Cards with a bit more seasoning. Last night, he took a licking but kept on ticking.
On the negative side, several tight ends missed several blocks on several key plays. Louisville got zero pressure on the Wolfpack’s QB.
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The stats tell little about the game. Pretty even all the way around.
Each team had three turnovers. NC State took better advantage of theirs. (Read: David Amerson pick six.) That was the difference in the game.
– Seedy K