(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.