Louisville Card File: North Carolina

On a four yard toss from Teddy B , St. X grad Nick Heuser scored U of L’s final TD with :46 on the clock in a picture perfect 1st half.

Moments later, I asked around the press box, wondering if Heuser was the brother perhaps of local pole vaulter, long-tressed heartthrob Chip Heuser.

Jody Demling, who usually knows all that stuff, was stumped. Kent Taylor, who knows a lot of sports trivia, assured me the Heusers were not brothers. (So, if this info is incorrect, blame him, not me.)

Speaking of pole vaulting, at the moment I asked that question during the half, Louisville was up 36-7 in what was sure to be a poll vaulting W over an ACC foe.

Then they played the last 30 minutes. The Cards escaped by the hair on their chinny chin chin.

A win is a win is a win, but . . .

* * * * *

Okay, I was going to go Dickens in the lead, so I’ll say it about the game and get it over with.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

It was a “Tale of Two Halves.”

* * * * *

The only stats that really matter, the only ones which can even partially explain yesterday’s schizophrenic football game are these. Four teams showed up with two hearts each. The squads underwent a transplant in their respective locker rooms at the half.

In the first half, Louisville was all guts and glory. Not to mention panache and execution. The Cards scored every time they possessed the pigskin.

The Tar Heels, conversely, looked like a gang that really wanted to be back on campus, partying down with pals. Bad snaps. Awful arm tackling. The right side of the D line opened up like Mammoth Cave.

At the break, the Cardinals had 142 rushing yards; Carolina, 11. The ratio of success through the air was equally as unbalanced, 218 to 156. Teddy B was 16/19 — two misses were tossed out of bounds on purpose — with three TD strikes.

There was difference of opinion as to what we’d seen among the media corps. Some thought U of L was simply dominant. Some thought it had more to do with an opponent who left their game on the plane.

All thought, if it kept up, Louisville could make a major leap in the polls.

It didn’t.

* * * * *

After the break, U of L gained 61 yards in the air. And 41 yards on the ground. The Tar Heels’ QB Bryn Renner threw for over 200 yards in the second half and 184 TDs.

Ryan Johnson had a punt blocked when he lined up way too close to the snapper. Adrian Bushell fumbled the kickoff after NC’s last score, giving the visitor’s a lot of life deep in Cards’ territory with but a couple of minutes to play. A roughing the passer penalty kept a Carolina drive alive.

Louisville was outscored 3-27 after halftime.

Was there something in the Gatorade?

I’m sticking with the heart transplant theory, though the team of surgeons must have been busy, performing operations in both locker rooms.

* * * * *

Before that last NC offensive play, I shouted — to myself, understand, there’s no cheering in the press box — “Somebody make a play!”

Thank you, CB Andrew Johnson.

If Carolina scored, it would have etched this game in stone as the biggest choke job in U of L football history. Instead, it was a sigh of relief, wonder where we stand now, bittersweet W.

* * * * *

Louisville’s D came up with 0 sacks. As in none. (The baby blues got to Teddy B thrice.) I’m not sure the Cards even made Renner hurry much, especially in the 2d half.

Louisville only garnered two tackles for a loss.

The defense remains the Cardinals’ big question mark.

* * * * *

I must mention offensive coordinator Shawn Watson.

Despite the first half perfection, I’d grade him poorly, if not flunking, for the whole game.

What is it with the two-point conversions early on? Silly. To no end. Sure, it was a statement against UK after the first score in that rivalry game, but enough is enough. Yesterday, they chased the points, trying another unsuccessful two-pointer after the Cards’ second score. It didn’t cost them the game, but it is a sign of less than stellar strategics.

In the second half, when U of L was backpedaling, the offense needed some kickstarting. Instead, after the Cardinals were thwarted on their first drive of the second half — when two Senorise Perry plunges at the 21 yard line gained but a yard and no first down — Watson went conservative. Tea party conservative.

Watson’s play calling never allowed U of L to get Uncle Mo back on its sideline. Most disappointing. It nearly cost U of L the game.

* * * * *

On the periphery:

Carolina was able to schedule the home and home with U of L because of similar circumstances as Louisville. The Cards had the dates because Georgia backed out a contract. UNC had the dates because Tennessee backed out of a contract.

Carolina has played at least one Big East school each of the last 11 seasons. They now stand 7-10 in those encounters.

In the BCS Era, the Big East has the best overall bowl winning percentage: 43-27. Since 2006, the Big East has the third best regular season non-conference winning record, 23-10, trailing the SEC and Big 12.

Louisville has outscored its three foes, 34-0 in the first quarter.

Larry Fedora is 0-3 against U of L.

– Seedy K

 

3 Comments

  1. gnash001
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    At the half, I was asking myself, why was I worried about this game all week?

    Those missed two point conversions were looming really large in the last few minutes, when the Heels were threatening to go ahead. PAT kicks on each of the first 2 TDs would have really helped.

  2. doug
    Posted September 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    I love Charlie, but the strategic decisions may one day cost us. Shelve the Mumme like 2 point attempts. Chasing points in the 1st quarter with the second 2 point attempt makes absolutely no sense!
    At his presser today, defended running the ball at end of game rather than taking knee due to being on 4 yard line, QB can sneak without losing yardage.

  3. Wildcat
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Very obvious that the special teams coach is a disaster for the Cards. Strong needs to do what Brett Bienima did at Wisconsin last week when he canned his O-line coach after 2 games. Starting with a penalty on the coach in n the UK game, special teams have been awful and it will catch up sooner or later. The clown needs to go.

    o

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