Which metaphor I invoke while describing U of L’s performance in its 10 point W @ Pitt.
Prior to yesterday, the 6-0 Cards were just Good. At best. If you went back to read earlier takes on the season, you might correctly surmise that I wasn’t that generous with my assessment. But, for purposes of getting into today’s summary, I’ll say they have been good. I mean, really, 5-0 is hard to argue with.
Against Pitt, after a week off to refocus and dry off, Louisville was better.
Certainly on offense.
Arguably on defense, where one stat is telling. Five sacks on the day to match five sacks total in five previous games. Rushing the passer, where ya been?
Let’s hope Best is yet to come. With a trap game against South Florida next on the schedule, others against Syracuse and better than expected Temple on the horizon, and battles with title-aspiring Rutgers and Cincy in the offing, Best will be necessary.
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The Cards did give up 35 points and 378 yards. But fourteen of those points and 150 of those yards came late when the game was in hand. That leaves something to be corrected, but still credit goes where it’s due.
Seventy five of those yards came on Pitt’s opening drive of the game for a score, during which Tino Sunseri looked like, well, Teddy B, going 6/6 in the air.
Which means that the Panthers only garnered 153 yards the rest of the afternoon.
During the critical third quarter, U of L held Pittsburgh to 3 & Out on its first three possesions after the break. While Louisville scored on three of its first four possessions.
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Special shout out to freshman Keith Brown. The real freshman led the Cards with 12 tackles. Calvin Pryor had 8. Terell Floyd, 7. I must call out Floyd, however. Far too often he reaches in to try and make a ball carrier fumble, when he should be taking the runner down. In fact, he looked like he hurt his hand one time he tried the ploy late.
Lorenzo Mauldin had a sack and a half, as part of his 5 tackle total.
As a team, Louisville notched 7 tackles for lost yardage, had two break ups in the secondary.
The defense needs to stay focused every drive. Once again, they took a couple of possessions off, resulting in Pitt TDs. The Panthers final scoring drive took only 1:45.
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Both teams took care of the ball.
There were no picks, no fumbles for either school.
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After the Cards had a second punt of the season blocked at the beginning of the 2d Q, I jotted this down in my notes: “New special teams coach?”
And thought of my pal Bill, a Cards fan now living down south, who has been carping about special teams play all season. From whom, not 60 seconds after I jotted that down, I received this text, “Fire special teams coach now.”
As former Card coach Lee Corso intones too often, “Not so fast, my friend.” Kenny Carter, who is in charge of those special teams, is doing a boffo job as running backs mentor. So, maybe just switch some duties around.
Louisville’s kickers have been accurate on FGs and conversions, but don’t have enough leg to get the ball in the end zone on kickoffs. Opponents too often have a great starting point for drives. That’s special teams stuff that needs to be addressed.
Pitt’s Todd Thomas blew through Louisville’s line literally untouched to block that punt. That needs never happen again.
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When Charlie Strong called a timeout with seconds to play in the first half, and U of L sitting 3d & 8 on its own 45, I thought it curious. When they lined up for an offensive play, instead of punting the ball, I thought it absurd. And let my TV know my feelings loudly and in no uncertain terms and tone.
Such guile turned the game around. Credit to Strong for going for it. Credit to offensive coordinator Shawn Watson for understanding what was really happening on the field. Earlier in the half, Devante Parker was free twice downfield, but Bridgewater overthrew him. On 4th & 8, Teddy B hit Devante P for 27 yards to the 28, leading to the psychological turnaround of the game. John Wallace’s 45 yard FG was huge.
On the first play of the 2d half, the duo hooked up again for a 75 yard score. Ball game.
Watson and his go between do need to work on getting plays to the field faster. Yet again, Louisville had to burn some timeouts which could have been critical, had the game been close late.
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Have I mentioned that I love how Senorise Perry gets yards every carry after being hit? So I have.
Yesterday, he rambled for 101 yards on but 12 carries, and four touchdowns.
Have I mentioned that I love our QB Teddy Bridgewater? Perhaps not in so many words, but methinks you get my feelings on that one.
Yesterday, he actually missed connections on 9 passes. And nabbed but that single TD toss to Parker. Buuuuuuuut, he want for 300+ in the air.
Parker and Eli Rogers made incredible catches consecutively on Louisville’s second scoring drive after the marching bands. Actually I think Parker was in for the score, but, you know the quality of Big East refs. Slightly below that of the NFL replacements and subject to undue influence. (Exhibit A: The Big East crew’s failure to give Stanford its deserving score in OT under the reproving gaze of TD Jesus.)
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Normally when a game is televised on one of the minor networks, the announcing team is less than tolerable. Not so yesterday.
Tom Hart is a good play by play guy, who avoids hyperbole and describes the action as he should. John Congemi provides cogent insight, and wasn’t a bit of a homer, even though he’s a former Pitt QB.
Plus Hart got off a great line about catch up/ ketchup speed at Heinz Field.
– Seedy K