--By Daniel Rankin
--Photo by Jared Anderson / 2019
The Louisville Cardinals won big against the Florida State Seminoles 48-16, snapping a four-game losing streak and recording their first conference win of the 2020 season.
On the opening drive of the game, the Florida State offense put the Seminoles up early.
However, Louisville would respond immediately in a drive highlighted by a 66-yard pass from quarterback Malik Cunningham to wide receiver Tutu Atwell. A 3-yard run into the endzone by running back Javian Hawkins finished off the drive to tie the game.
It was an early and hopeful sign to those in attendance at Cardinal Stadium, which was hosting its first home game in over a month, that perhaps the much-anticipated Cardinal offense was finally clicking together. Those signs were proven to be accurate as Florida State never held the lead again; in fact, Louisville went deep into the second quarter with four straight unanswered touchdowns.
The offense finished with an incredible 291 yards rushing, 278 passing yards resulting in a season-high 569 total yards. Javian Hawkins accounted for 174 of those rushing yards and had a career-high three rushing touchdowns.
After the game, Coach Scott Satterfield talked about the strong offensive showing, "This is what we expect...a very efficient day offensively, big plays in the running game and passing game, it was a great day."
It was a complete game on both sides of the ball that contributed to the Louisville rout. The Cards defense coming off of a strong effort against Notre Dame, held the Seminoles scoreless on multiple drives, including a couple of key attempts deep into the red zone.
The Florida State passing game was especially contained with just 141 yards and a Louisville program-record 12 pass breaks up led by junior back Anthony Johnson with three.
Additionally, the Louisville defense forced one interception and four turnovers on five 4th down attempts.
Overall, it was an impressive showing by the defense for Coach Satterfield, who said, "We gave up a touchdown drive, but after that, we settled in and played very, very well throughout the rest of the day...a great job by our defense after that first drive.
With the 32-point win, the Cards now move up to 2-4 on the season and 1-4 in conference play.
Louisville will now look to build off this momentum as Javian Hawkins put it after Saturday's game, "There's no looking back because this is us. We have to be consistent now."
The next opponent for the Cardinals is Virginia Tech on Halloween Saturday at 4:00 p.m. Will the Cards be tricked on a Halloween night, or will they treat the fans by spooking the Virginia Tech Hokies right out of Louisville?
(Photo courtesy of ACC)
The Louisville offense dropped key opportunities to close in on Pittsburgh as the #24 Cards fell to the #21 Panthers, 20-23 .
After giving up three unanswered scores to start the game, Louisville got on the board by a long 75-yard rushing touchdown by running back Javian Hawkins. But the running game was held in check from there, being held to just 116 total rushing yards, a 3.9 per carry. The entire offense with only 223 total yards, and quarterback Malik Cunningham, with seven sacks and three interceptions, struggled.
Continuing from last weeks' struggles on third down, they converted only one out of 11 third-down opportunities.
Although the offense struggled, the game remained close. A decent showing by both the special teams and defense kept the game within range. Despite being on the field consistently, the defense forced two turnovers, eleven tackles for a loss, and 3 field goals on strong Pittsburgh drives.
On special teams, kicker James Turner continues to impress with two perfect field goals and extra points. A fake punt on 4th and long let Redshirt senior Tabarius Peterson successfully sneak in 31 yards to force a new set of downs.
Down by three with just under three minutes to go in the game, two timeouts left, and Louisville with possession, the opportunity to tie or even win the game was there. Unfortunately, the Cards would only muster up 17 yards on the drive. On 4th down, the Pitt defense immediately collapsed on Cunningham for the final time, forcing an interception and a hard hit to the ground. Following the play, the Louisville QB had to be carted off the field in a concerning manner. Head Coach Scott Satterfield later said that Cunningham was able to "move and feel everything...medical staff was doing everything precautionary."
Satterfield acknowledged the defense that continues to improve but cited the struggles against Pitt's defensive line as one of the main factors in today's loss. Coach also said, "we're dinged up some...want to get some guys healed up." Luckily he will have some time to do so as Louisville now has a bye week next before they go back on the road to face Georgia Tech.
The Card's three-point loss to Pittsburgh moves them to 1-2 on the season and 0-2 in conference play.
(Photo courtesy of ACC)
#17 Miami took down #18 Louisville in the ACC opener for both teams, 47-34.
Louisville would take the first score of the game on a 40-yard field goal by sophomore James Turner. The Cards would never get within seven points the rest of the way.
The killer was a pair of back-to-back possessions by Miami in the third quarter- both for 75-yard touchdowns. Cam'ron Harris found an opening around the right side of the field to race to the end zone untouched for the first of those two possessions. A missed defensive assignment allowed Jaylan Knighton to escape to the weak side of the field unnoticed for a touchdown pass from D'Eriq King.
Late in the fourth quarter, missed communication on defense led to an open Brevin Jordan for a 47-yard score.
For Louisville, Malik Cunningham- Cunningham has switched his name from "Micale" to "Malik"- went 26-for-36 for 307 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
Eight of those completions went to Tutu Atwell, who turned that into 114 yards and two touchdowns. Another seven completions fell into the hands of Dez Fitzpatrick for 74 yards. Marshon Ford hauled in the other touchdown on three receptions for 14 yards.
On the ground, Javian Hawkins powered the way with 27 rushes for 164 yards and one score. Hassan Hall rushed nine times for 37 yards.
Although Louisville outpaced the Hurricanes on the ground 209-160, it was the 3-0 turnover differential that proved fatal for the Cards. The Cards finished with one interception and two lost fumbles while Miami protected the ball and never gave it up.
Turner had a promising night with a pair of field goals and 4-for-4 extra points.
Louisville falls to 1-1 on the year and 0-2 in ACC play. They hit the road for the first time when they travel to Pitt for a noon kickoff on Saturday.
(Photo courtesy of ACC)
Louisville is set to play their second game of the season and second straight at home when Miami (FL) comes to town.
Both teams won their season openers, which led to the ACC foes finding themselves in the Top 25 this week. #17 Louisville took down Western Kentucky 35-21. #18 Miami defeated UAB 31-14.
Last week, the Hurricanes managed to put up 31 points on 495 total yards, 366 on the ground and 158 through the air. Miami also scored three of their four touchdowns with a strong rushing attack. They relied on a one-two punch from Cam'ron Harris (17-134-2) and D'Eriq King (12-83-1).
King also had a strong showing through the air, going 16-24 for 158 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. Eight different receivers recorded a reception with none having more than four receptions. Brevin Jordan was the only receiver to top 50 yards with 51 on three receptions and a touchdown.
Miami maintained control of the ball well, giving up just one fumble. They had no success in forcing turnovers, recording no fumble recoveries or interceptions.
Louisville scored 35 points on 487 total yards, 343 passing and 144 rushing. Micale Cunningham was the only player to attempt a pass for the Cards, going 19-34 for 343 yards for three touchdowns and one interceptions.
The rushing attack was split between three players: Cunningham (12-24-0), Javian Hawkins (19-71-1), and Hassan Hall (6-66-0).
Louisville had a little more difficult time with holding onto the football with two turnovers. Special teams also had some issues with a punt being blocked and another being fumbled on the goal line.
Miami leads the all-time series 10-3-1. The Hurricanes are 6-0-1 on their home turf and 4-2 in Louisville. Louisville holds the 1-0 advantage at neutral sites, winning the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl 36-9.
Kickoff is set for 7:44 p.m., and will be the College GameDay featured game on ABC.
(Photo courtesy of ACC)
Louisville has their season opener in the books. As with all season openers, things look a little rusty and early season jitters show. It is also the first time the coaching staff has a chance to truly observe how the team will handle in-game situations against live opponents.
The most important thing to note is Louisville got the win. 1-0 is always a good start to the season, and it is much easier than trying to battle uphill the rest of the season to catch up.
Today, we will take a look at some takeaways from Louisville's victory:
-Louisville is not afraid to throw the ball. As the offense continues to get adjusted to Satterfield's offensive scheme, we will see more consistent and aggressive passing. Micale Cunningham threw for a career-high 343 yards on 19-34 passing. He has a solid receiver corps and strong tight ends to rely on, and that trust was strengthened in the win.
-Special teams has a long way to go. We all knew that the loss of Blanton Creque at kicker and Mason King at punter would leave major voids in the special teams. There were two major miscues by the punting unit- one was a fumbled snap by sophomore punter Logan Lupo and the other was missed blocking that led to a blocked punt. We did not get a chance to see freshman kicker Brock Travelstead in a field goal situation, but he made all five extra points. His kickoffs looked solid with a pair of touchbacks, but fans showed concern as he pulled his kicks to the far left side of the field.
-The offensive line blocking was not what we expected. Western Kentucky has a strong defensive front and showed it. However, the Cards were in the red for rushing yards for the first quarter as the trio of Cunningham, Javian Hawkins, and Hassan Hall found no running room or holes to get going. Eventually, UofL relied on their speed to beat the defense on the outside. That should be a pretty easy fix for the coaching staff that should not be much concern in the future.
-There is a clear-cut third receiver. Tutu Atwell and Dez Fitzpatrick were the obvious 1-2 punch at receiver this year, especially after strong showings last season. Seth Dawkins was the third receiver last year, but he graduated. Sophomore receiver Braden Smith stepped up to the plate to fill that spot. Smith turned four receptions into 110 yards including a pair of late-down conversions.
-UofL handled the new COVID-19 protocol well. Ushers and security were well-prepared for temperature checks and check-ins while quickly getting everyone inside the stadium. At concession stand and restroom lines, fans seemed to take the responsibility to police themselves and keep the social distance requirements intact. The one area of concern was the vast number of fans who chose to either pull their mask below their chin or take their mask off altogether once in their seats. Per UofL requirements, masks are required to be worn at all times except for eating or drinking. That includes sitting in the stands. Yes, the masks can get uncomfortable and hot. And if you're like me, you probably had to deal with your glasses fogging up occasionally. But that is part of the agreement when you purchase tickets and go to the game. We all want a football season so the least we can do is wear the mask properly. Do it for the team if not for yourself.
Now, the Cards have plenty to prepare for with the Miami Hurricanes coming to town next weekend and hosting College GameDay. The coaching staff will have to spend part of the week keeping players focused and avoid the College GameDay distractions.
(Photo courtesy of ACC)
Louisville football took down in-state rival Western Kentucky in the season opener, 35-21.
Micale Cunningham powered the way with four total touchdowns while passing for 343 yards. His passing touchdowns came from 28 yards, 2 yards, and 70 yards while also scrambling 14 yards for a score.
The Cards were backed into the shadow of their own goalpost on the opening drive. The punt was mishandled and Western Kentucky recovered the ball on the goal line. They were quick to score and take the early lead.
Louisville bounced back less than two minutes later following a couple passes by Cunningham that ended with a 28-yard pass to tight end Evan Pfeifer.
The first play of the second quarter was a 14 yard run by the junior quarterback to give Louisville a lead it would not surrender.
Javian Hawkins would get his first score of the season on the next possession. After a seven play drive, the sophomore running back would race past defenders 19 yards to the end zone.
Less than a minute before halftime, the Cards were on the board again to blow the game open. Cunningham found tight end Marshon Ford for a 2-yard pass to go into halftime with a 28-7 lead.
WKU would cut into the lead on a 1-yard run in the middle of the second quarter. It was a two-play, four-yard drive that lasted half a minute.
Dez Fitzpatrick would sandwich himself between a pair of defenders to haul in a pass from Cunningham before outracing the field for a 70-yard score.
With 5:40 remaining in the game, the Hilltoppers would dig into the lead on a 12-yard pass.
Controversy ensued when an onside kick was touched prematurely by the WKU kickoff team. Louisville would obtain possession and not surrender the ball the remainder of the game.
Louisville had a rather quiet night on the ground and struggled to get going with the rushing game until the second quarter. They would finish with 144 yards on the ground, beating out Western Kentucky's 119 rushing yards.
The Louisville defense shut down Western Kentucky's passing game, a big part of why WKU never managed a rally, and limited them to 129 passing yards. The Cards finished with 343 passing yards on 19-34 passing.
Louisville's biggest challenge was adjusting to new faces on special teams. The Cards fumbled a punt and had a punt blocked, both that lead to Western Kentucky scores.
Miami will come to town next weekend on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. The match-up between the Cards and Hurricanes will be the featured game on College GamdeDay.
Football is back! After a long awaited break and questions of if a football season would happen or not, we finally have our answer. Louisville and Western Kentucky are set to kick off the regular season today at 8:00 p.m.
Western Kentucky is the only non-ACC game on the schedule for the Cards. The Hilltoppers have similar school colors as UofL, repping red and white. Big Red, the school's mascot, gains his name from the school colors and his red outfit.
UofL and WKU played last year in Nashville. The Cards dominated the game 38-21.
Last season, the Hilltoppers finished with a 9-4 record, highlighted by a 23-20 win over Western Michigan in the Servpro First Responder Bowl. They finished tied for second in the Conference USA with a 6-2 record.
Gaej Walker is a preseason Doak Walker Award candidate and will run behind a veteran offensive line. Walker rushed for 1208 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He also had 24 receptions for 140 yards.
The Hilltoppers will have a new quarterback under center with Maryland graduate transfer Tyrrell Pigrome. Pigrome had seven starts over the span of four seasons and passed for 1.777 yards with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He is a dual threat with 630 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.
WKU does have the reigning Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in DeAngelo Malone. He was second on the team with 99 tackles. He had 11.5 sacks for a net loss of 97 yards. Malone also had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery to add to the resume. He heads a defensive line that was a major contributor to the #30 defense in the country last year.
Louisville leads the series 21-12, and has won the last nine meetings dating back to 1982. 14 of the last 15 match-ups have been in Louisville, with the only other one being played in Nashville.
Behind second-year coach Scott Satterfield the Cards should have a strong advantage. Micale Cunningham is set to have a breakout season. Javian Hawkins and Hassan Hall are a strong one-two punch at running back that was lethal to opposing defenses last year. Cunningham has a strong corps of receivers highlighted by Tutu Atwell and Dez Fitzpatrick.
On defense, the Cardinals are starting all juniors and seniors. The experienced group on defense will continue to improve and silence opposing offenses. Last year, the Cards surrendered 31 passing touchdowns and 27 rushing touchdowns, but limited WKU to just three passing touchdowns last year.
The biggest question will be the kicking situation. When Blanton Creque went down with an injury, the kicking situation was up in the air and struggled the rest of the year. If the game comes down to the wire this year, Louisville will have better success relying on the offense than the kicking.
Expect Louisville to win by a bigger margin this year. With a year of experience under their belt, the offense should have a better understanding of the playbook.
Put this game down as a win for Louisville with a final score of 42-17.
The staff here at River City Cards have predicted the record for football for the 2020 season. Unlike years past, the season consists of just 11 games- 10 conference and one non-conference.
Here is a list of each person's prediction:
Jared: 9-2 (7-2)
A trip to Notre Dame will be the first loss of the season before the Cards hit a speed bump at Virginia.
Louisville is coming off one of the best turnaround seasons in NCAA history. The Cards are full steam ahead right now and have been revitalized under Coach Satterfield and his staff. They'll find themselves in the ACC Championship against Clemson, but will falter against the National Runner-Up team.
Bradford: 9-2 (7-2)
The Cards are a hopeful 10-1 and is well within reach, but a 9-2 record is much more likely this year. It is still plenty good and enough to find Louisville battling for an ACC Championship this season.
Mike: 9-2 (7-2)
The Cards will lose at Notre Dame and at home against Virginia Tech.
Louisville is coming off a spectacular rebound year, and is arguably the 3rd or 4th best ACC team. The team was great under Satterfield last year, and should continue winning.
Jason: 10-1 (9-1)
Louisville will lose on the road to Notre Dame for their sole regular season loss. They will meet Clemson in the ACC Championship, where they will fall to the Tigers.
*Photo released by UofL Football*
Louisville football has released their schedule for the fall 2020 season. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, schedules were postponed and restructured.
The ACC allowed a 10 + 1 structure. Schools would play 10 conference games and one non-conference game. With the SEC playing conference games only, there was no chance for a Governor's Cup battle.
Western Kentucky and Louisville reached an agreement to continue their series, with the game being played at Cardinal Stadium.
Here is the complete schedule:
09/12 vs Western Kentucky
09/19 vs Miami
09/26 @ Pitt
10/09 @ Georgia Tech
10/17 @ Notre Dame
10/24 vs Florida State
10/31 vs Virginia Tech
11/07 @ Virginia
11/20 vs Syracuse
11/27 @ Boston College
12/05 vs Wake Forest
12/12 or 12/19 ACC Championship
The River City Cards staff will release their record predictions soon.
Louisville announced Monday morning that they will be moving the football season opener up by one day to Wednesday, Sept. 2. The date was originally scheduled for that Thursday.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic the Kentucky Derby was postponed until Sept. 5, leaving Oaks for Sept. 4 and Thurby Sept. 4. There were rising concerns over the conflicting events at Cardinal Stadium and Churchill Downs. Traffic and parking were the main concerns.
"We appreciate the NCAA, ACC, and NC State honoring our request for a date change for the opening game," said athletics director Vince Tyra. ""We are trying to be thoughtful about the shared city resources needed to host a football game and Thurby at the same time."
Louisville and NC State last played in 2019, with the Cardinals taking a 34-20 win in Raleigh. Louisville holds a 7-3 advantage all-time against the Wolfpack.