Coaches, trainers and docs are attending to fallen Teddy Bridgewater, suffering his second injury of the day after being sacked, this time an ankle. Standing and kneeling are around in a state of concern are a couple members of Louisville’s offensive line.
Who are members of the one Cardinal position corps most responsible for Teddy B’s broken wrist and ankle injury. And for the Cardinals’ worst offensive performance of the season. Which is to say most responsible for this surprising and disheartening loss.
If those fellows had come to play, had blocked better, U of L might have displayed a least a little running game, and Bridgewater wouldn’t have spent so much time munching field turf.
Instead . . . well . . . the numbers tell the tale.
Louisville rushed the ball 28 times. The Cards netted 27 yards on the day. That’s .9642857 yards per carry. Glossy, eh?
UConn garnered 10 tackles for lost yardage. UConn tallied 5 sacks for 43 lost yards. On one of those, Teddy Bridgewater broke his left wrist. On another, he injured an ankle.
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One would have thought, U of L’s undefeated season having been throttled two weeks ago in the Carrier Dome, that the Cards, after a week off, would have come out pumped, firing on all cylinders, ready to show the pigskin planet they were indeed for real.
Instead, U of L went 3 and out on three of its first four drives, making a lone first down on the other before having to punt.
Nate Nord and Scott Radcliffe dropped passes on the first offensive possession. DeVante Parker, during the second. They were not alone. Fellow members of the receiving corps dropped at least five other eminently catch-able throws in the first half alone.
Louisville did not score in the first quarter.
Nor in the second quarter.
Nor in the third.
It took a last minutes drive of 92 yards, brilliantly led by hobbled Teddy Bridgewater and aided by those fellows who started catching the pigskin as is normally their wont, to even get the game to oooooooooooooovertime. With a robust :21 seconds to spare.
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Louisville’s beleaguered defense did come to play. (Of course, they do not call UConn the Crimson Tide. Fact is the Huskies had not scored a second half TD in any league game all season.)
That said, Cardinal defenders deserve serious credit. In UConn’s first six possessions of the second half, they were stymied with 5 three-and-outs. And a James Burgess interception. On the Huskies 7th possession, they finally made a first down, then gave it up.
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I have questions about Louisville’s play calling.
It was obvious from the start, even before Bridgewater’s injuries, that: 1) He and his receivers were out of sync, and 2) U of L wasn’t going to be able to run the ball.
In the opening period, the Cards netted a lone yard on the ground. Teddy B was 4/12 in the air, for a paltry 24 yards.
That improved only marginally in the second quarter.
Yet, instead of going West Coastish, using a short passing game in hopes of moving down the field in increments, Shawn Watson kept calling deep sideline routes.
A prime example: When Louisville, finally having tallied a FG on the previous drive, had a 3d and 4 on its own 35 with less than ten minutes to play. Instead of safely going for the first down, the Cards went deep, didn’t convert and had to punt.
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Rumor & Innuendo. I have little to add to the two primary strains of gossip floating about vis a vis conference realignment.
1) The ACC is going to take both UConn and Louisville and another school to become a 16 team league. (As Eric Crawford joked, when a gang was chatting in the press box about last night’s basketball game with Duke, “Just another league game.”) Several of the UConn media contingent had also heard this rumor.
2) The Big 12 is going to invite U of L and Cincy to join in a package deal.
My perspective on those dream scenarios? As my grandma, may she rest in peace, would say, “From your mouth to God’s ear.”
And this. I ran into Tom Jurich in the Men’s Room during the football game. “CD,” he said, “this job is going to kill me.”
– Seedy K